The school year is about to begin, and as you finalize schedules and teams and duties and all things logistical, I want to ask you -How will you lead instructionally? While the coming school year will look a whole lot differently than last year (I’m speaking it out there), there will still be a lot of novel challenges to tackle. I think that we are finally at a place where we can really try to be intentionally proactive to provide some of the answers to questions we know will be asked…so I wanted to present a few to you…
- What should cooperative learning look like in the classroom? We know that students need to work together and have regular, consistent academic dialogue, but this has looked differently lately. Please don’t give the message that kids can’t work together. This is so detrimental to learning. How can teachers work around this? Can they put tape on the floor and have places for students to move to when they work together. Can they have specific partners they turn and talk to without moving their seats? Can they run their classroom as normal? Have a plan, even as guidelines may shift throughout the year.
- How will I know where my students are academically? – While we want to make the assumption that many of our students will have fallen behind academically, your teachers don’t have time to reteach the entire previous year. I also think you will find that many of your students will be closer, if not on, grade level. Have a process for identifying these students. You certainly don’t want the students who are on track to fall behind this coming year because teachers are so focused on the students who lost learning last year. Before you can make a plan for what to do with the varying needs of students, teachers will need to identify them. Will they have data? Will they take pre-tests? Will students who stayed virtual all year be flagged? If teachers don’t have a system for identifying where their students are, a lot of valuable time could be wasted as they try to figure it out.
- What pace should teachers plan to keep? This is going to be a huge question! Most will not be able to keep up with the normal pacing guide because of what they will have to refresh or reteach from last year. I encourage you to help teachers with this. Otherwise, this will become a major stressor. I want to dive into this just a little bit more.
- Do you want teachers to hit all of their standards at a surface level, or choose fewer and take their students to a deeper level of mastery? My suggestion would definitely be the latter, but don’t hesitate to reach out to your district curriculum specialists to help identify standards.
- Make sure your teachers are aware of readiness and supporting standards.
- Will teachers have additional time to plan? They will need it. Even if they have been teaching the same content or grade level for years, they will need time! They will also love you for providing it!
Finally, don’t forget to listen to your teachers. This year is new. New challenges will pop up. Facilitate times to listen to your teachers, and give them time to work through the new issues. Time and support will be the keys to getting students back on track!
Please let us know how we can help! http://www.pressing-onward.org!
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