Monday, April 21, 2014

Getting Through the Homestretch

Well spring break was relaxing while it lasted.  Like many of you, I now going through the homestretch of April and May without a single day off until Memorial Day.  Here's how I plan to get through it.

1. Review Routines and Expectations-Due to the snow and cold, my students had a total of eight weather-related days off.  Combine that with testing (WIDA ACCESS as well as the state math, reading, and science assessments) and it's been difficult to gain momentum. The classroom routines that went so smoothly during the fall and winter have begun to fall apart a bit and there has been no time to reinforce them.  Reviewing and enforcing the established routines and expectations is going to be my number one priority.

2. Keep Teaching-The fact that state assessments are over does not mean that learning stops.  Year after year I am amazed by the fact that students are surprised that I would dare continue teaching despite the fact that they have already taken The Test.  They must have picked that up somewhere.  All of my students will spend at least the next month participating in an author study.  In past years this has been a student favorite as we focus on Hispanic authors: the seventh graders read works by Gary Soto and the eighth graders study Francisco Jimenez.

3. Utilize My Co-Teacher-As I stated in a prior blog entry, I now have a co-teacher for part of the day.  Mrs. T has a strong elementary school background and spent the week before break helping plan some new ideas for our classes.  I can't wait to try them.

4. Treasure Every Moment-I am a big believer in looping and have been teaching many of my current eighth graders for two to three years.  It has been a pleasure to watch them grow and mature.  Since they are leaving me in a few short months to venture on to high school, I am going to make sure that I spend this time celebrating their accomplishments with them before they begin the next big stage in their lives.

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