I drive a manual transmission. If you know me well, this will not surprise you: I like to have control over as much as I can, which includes being in charge of when and how I shift my gears.
As a teacher, I like to start out in first gear just as school gets going, quickly shift into second, and then progress all the way into fourth or fifth gear by the end of first quarter. By second quarter, I shift into fifth (if my students aren't already there) and then into sixth. Once in sixth, I put my classroom on cruise control: speed down that learning highway at 65+ miles for the duration of the year. Of course, sometimes there is construction and I have to downshift mid-year, but as a whole I like to drive my students to their destination at full speed.
But summer: summer for me is for downshifting. Returning to first gear, regrouping, and maybe revving the engine just a little.
This first week of summer, while teachers are "off for the summer," I have had the benefit to work with teachers as they downshift. As they slow down to enjoy the view, revamp their routes, and then rev their engines a bit before we race off again in the fall.
Summer Curriculum Writing
Our secondary teachers gathered this week to predominantly work on creating formative assessments with their PLCs: formatives that align with RPS's newly developedPrioritized Learnings and Proficiency Scales. These new and tweaked assessments will help our teachers enter the school year with a clear map and full fuel-tank.
Pages on the Patio
The first Tuesday after students went home for the summer was the first gathering of Pages on the Patio (sans patio this week because of weather): 26 teachers gathered off-site to simultaneously read, and later discuss, various professional texts that would enhance their instruction. It was 90 minutes of a low gear cruise control, allowing these teachers to really focus on how their car is driving, the sounds of the road, and the direction of the travel.
Summer is the perfect time to downshift. The perfect time to slow down and take in the views, to revamp your map, and to get ready to rev things up again in the fall. So, will you join me on this summer road-trip?
This post brought to you by Heather Lyke, Secondary Implementation Associate
When the last student departs from your room and the grades have been posted, be sure to give yourself permission to unplug. I’m writing this post with the assumption that many teachers are running on empty and are just trying to hold the lid on the classroom until the last bell. (A pretty good assumption don’t you think?) These same teachers are feeling too exhausted to think about classes in the fall and just want to close the door and put off everything until summer is over. In my experience, putting things off until next year shortens my summer because, instead of allowing my mind to relax, my mind remains “at work.” So I roll up my work and roll down my mind for the summer by doing the following:
Finally, with the year’s efforts in my rearview mirror, next year’s first two weeks in order, and mental closure with my students, I unplug for the summer by doing the following:
This post brought to you by Dan Devine, Secondary Implementation Associate
It’s June already?! In August I always think that this year couldn’t possibly go as fast as last year! I am always mistaken when June comes back around and the year is suddenly coming to a close. During those long winter months I long for spring and when it finally comes, it comes fast and furious. So much to do, so little time...
My to-do list keeps getting longer and longer in the spring. Each year I put on my to-do list “reflect” and each year it gets shoved further and further down on my list. This year I am making it a point to keep it at the top and to do a better job of reflecting this year. I’m going to reflect in a number of different ways such as conversations with colleagues, writing down my thoughts in a Google Doc or in my journal, and turning off the music in my car to silently reflect on my drive home.
I’m going to use the following 10 questions to help me on my reflective end-of-year journey. My goal is to select one each day between now and the end of the school year.
Will you join me? Will you take a reflective journey, too?
If you are looking for more questions to reflect on, see the Colorín Colorado article "Reflection Questions for Teachers and Students: A School Year Like No Other" by Lydia Breiseth.
This post brought to you by Katie Miller, K-12 EL Implementation Associate
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