Last week I introduced you to N on March 8 and March 9. We’re hyper focused on helping this 5th grader (recent move in) literally get moving in writing. He wants to write. He listens. He participates. He talks. He uses all the language. His first on demand was rated at a kindergarten level in November and our goal is a third grade level by the end of May. But he writes so little each day that it is hard to verify real writing growth.
Approximately 50 days to make that growth . . . we have ambitious goals!
How do you make decisions about changing instruction? Or Practice? Or Allocation of Time?
I like to think organically. I use my friend Lynn’s quote often.
“I’m old. I forget because my brain leaks.” (Lynn Selking, personal conversations)
So I like to start simply. I’m not adding anything new until I know enough that I’m pretty sure my suggestion(s) will be productive.
So what does that really mean?
First Step: Current State of Instruction
I consider the balance of writing work in the classroom. Is everything in sync?
Mini lessons – 10 minutes or less?
Writing Time – at least 40 minutes during writing workshop?
Mid-Workshop Interruption – daily for 2-3 minutes?
Sharing – daily for 5-6 minutes?
Partnerships – daily talk and working together?
Small groups – planful and executed efficiently?
Conferences – Teach the writer and not the piece of writing?
Other writing opportunities across the day?
What is the role of TALK across the day?
What are students REALLY doing?
All of this is internal data.
First round thinking as we consider current classroom work.
Everything is fairly solid.
Name the current student behaviors with a focus on strengths.
Begin to brainstorm strategic actions to increase intensity of instruction.
With N, our draft looked like this:
- What has a history of working?
- What will maximize N’s writing time?
- What is feasible?
- What is efficient?
- Are there charts/tools that we could pull from previous grades?
At this time, we know that lack of writing instruction in these grades (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, part of 5) may be part of the problem. How can we compress time and increase productivity?
Dependent on what actually works, we have time for three or four focused two-three week cycles of instruction. Beginning with our end goal, we are planning backwards. Planning for lean instruction, lean conferencing, lean teacher work and ways to increase N’s independence in writing. Is it confidence-building that he needs? How can we recircuit his thinking so N has a growth mindset?
What process do you use for problem solving?
How do you use the resources that you have BEFORE looking for outside solutions?
What would you add to this list?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily forum each March. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
And the landscape has changed:
I saw 15851 roll over today.
I did a little “cheer” as I traveled down the road.
But wait, you just cheered 167761 in this 13.31 post here.
“How did that work?”
Well, Friday afternoon after a week filled with 8 different PD sessions . . .
I stopped by my favorite car dealership just to see what was available. I rode in one, contemplated several others, thought about my needs . . .
And today I am back to new learning . . .
My Questions are many!
Which side has the gas tank?
How big is the gas tank?
Why doesn’t Toyota make headlights turn on automatically?
How do I sync my phone?
How does GPS work?
Where will I plug in my phone charger?
Where will I put my ID?
How will I organize my stuff?
And then my list:
sunglasses (HA – rain in the forecast for all week)
At 15851 it still has that new car smell.
How long will it have that new car look?
How long will it have that new car clean?
(And as far as I know . . . it does not TALK to me!)
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.