Setting the Stage for Success: Teaching All Students

I began the morning thinking about struggling students and how schools can better respond to their needs and potential. Now I'm thinking more specifically about my work and craft, and how I might revise the classroom program to better meet the needs of all children. As we know teaching is an evolutionary process, one that develops and changes each year in response to the students in the class and a teacher's growing knowledge and skill.

How will I set the stage so that all students grow with skill, concept and knowledge in happy, meaningful ways this year?

Classroom Environment
The classroom set up is very important.  A class has to be set up to promote optimal learning.  The classroom should be a "home away from home" where students are able to think and learn in a comfortable, friendly environment. I want the classroom environment to include multiple small spaces for differentiated learning endeavors including RTI groups, tech projects, reading and writing, collaboration and project base learning, and space(s) for whole class discussions and events.

Protocols and Expectations
The protocols and expectations for classroom learning and interaction are also very important. It is essential that every child has the chance to listen, ask questions and share their point of view and ideas with respect and care.  It is also essential that the environment is safe: free from bullying, put-downs and unsafe actions.  As a class, we will build a protocol list that ensures a safe, respectful environment for learning.

Priorities/The Learning Pattern
Since I am teaching young children, I will make sure that essential skill development in reading, writing, math, technology and general knowledge plays the primary role in the classroom.  I will also make sure that essential skills are taught in meaningful ways that promote creativity, critical thinking skills, collaboration and communication.  Project base learning will be one way that students learn and share information. Early in the year, I will create a learning pattern that ensures that we practice and develop essential learning goals multiple times each week.  I also want to build regular response and feedback into the learning pattern utilizing a home-school folder system.

Since our school employs both PLCs and RTI, I will work with colleagues to research, create and implement programs that best respond to learners.  I will make the time to work with colleagues related to effective assessment and revision when students are not making progress.  Luckily we have strong, knowledgeable leadership in place to lead these efforts. Students will take center stage in all of this work.

Home-School Efforts
I will simplify the regular homework so that all families and students can readily complete assignments and develop responsibility related to independent work.  I will offer enrichment activities and homework to respond to those families and students who want greater at-home academic work. Although the debate continues related to homework, I am siding with those that support regular homework at fourth grade to build responsibility and practice essential skills.

I also want to make sure that I reach out to all families early in the year to learn about the children and respond to families' academic/school needs.  Teaming with families is a ready route to success that cannot be forgotten.

Professional Development
As stated in an earlier post, my professional learning this year will focus on teacher as coach, mentor and guide.

I also plan to join #educoach's summer book study which centers on my professional learning focus.

In the months ahead, I will pull together these goals as I set the stage for student success. What would you add?  What have I missed?  How do you set the stage in your teaching space and educational role so that all students succeed?

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