I met with my team today–the fabulous Mrs. Hong and Ms. Turken–to talk about how to integrate reading, writing and sci/ss, as well as to update our curriculum calendar. We only had 2 hours blocked out on the calendar, and so in some ways those were really big plans. And we started 45 minutes late. 🙂
So, as we sat down and tried to tackle reworking the curriculum calendar (based on new Common Core standards, district resources and just things we wanted to change), we realized we had lots of work to do BEFORE we could address that problem. You know how it goes, before you can do the job you actually sat down to do, you have to do this and before that you have to do this….we were in that boat.
We are wanting to reorganize our thinking and our schedule to allow for more integration, working Social Studies and Science topics into everything rather than having things so compartmentalized and isolated from each other. But we had plans to UbDize (yep, just made up that word) our SS curriculum and organize our units around common EQs for each quarter. But like I said before, it’s easier said than done.
And then there’s my crazy brain that isn’t just quite ready to think about these things. For one thing, I have to have my space all done before I can planning for what we will do in that space. Since it’s not even August, I do not have my classroom put together yet. Granted, I do have all of my furniture where it will go and have big ideas for where things will go and what it will look like, but it’s not done yet. And I have plans for how I want to redo parts of my classroom library. And I haven’t met my class yet.
That last part is really the biggest piece of the puzzle that makes it hard for me to complete the calendar. So in the mean time, I feel like I am facing an
I know–you’re thinking, “Well, duh, Mrs. Bearden. Isn’t the beginning of the year always uncertain? You never really know what the school year will bring or what every detail of every day will look like.” And no, I don’t have a crystal ball or any tarot cards, and so I guess in a way I always face an uncertain future at this point in the year.
But the reason why it so affects me is because I have such a hard time making decisions about things I’ll do and ways to go without actually knowing my students. So much of where we go and how we get there depends on what my students need, and where they are when we start. I have information and data about these things on paperwork (transition reports, testing scores, Lexile levels, etc.) from previous teachers, but until I really see what it looks like for actual kids in my actual space, I can’t really get a feel for it. (My family has always said that I don’t have much of an imagination–maybe this is proof of that! 🙂 )
But obviously I can’t just not make plans. I can’t not work with my team. I can’t not try to figure it out now, because I owe it to these new students of mine to have at least an idea of where we will go, and how we might get there. If not, then we’ll never get there. And that’s definitely not an option.
Along the way I’ll tweak the plans–adjusting and reworking based on personalities, learning styles, academic and social needs, interests–and I’ll be totally ok with that. And then, at the end of the year, I’ll look back at the plans we made around the table today in the summer and laugh, because of how different they are. But I gotta start somewhere.
How does your “summer brain” work? In what order do you do your work–space first or plans first? How does your team work before school starts to map our curriculum/unit plans? I’d love your thoughts and/or advice! 🙂