I feel like I’m a reflective person. I think about lessons and what went well and what didn’t. I think about the library program and what I’d like to change, improve, and keep the same. A lot of this thinking happens on the drive to/from work or while walking the dog or washing dishes. What I don’t do/have time for/prioritize is writing it all down. So I missed my Sunday blogging deadline.
One thing I’m uncomfortable with this year is the lack of curriculum, so everything feels disjointed. I find myself asking, “Is this lesson worth it? Is it meaningful?” A more unified, less hodge-podgey curriculum is something I’m working to improve this spring and into next year.
It’s hard to believe that it’s already mid-January. The school year is flying by, and things we did early in the fall seem like they happened years ago.
So let’s pin it all so I can remember what to keep, what to make better, etc. etc.
The library is cozy and small and full of furniture, which I rearranged into a U-shape. Not only does this let us see each other, but it also creates a nice area for stories. More flexible furniture would be idea, but it’s not a priority at the moment.
What is a priority is creating a welcoming space for students. Here’s a picture of some students whose class earned a game day. I love the kid who opted to read in Big Joe.
A local community member who operates Fountain for Youth came to school in the fall to distribute free books to 5th graders. Any opportunity to help bulk up a student’s home library is a win!
Speaking of home libraries, Read to Them, launched the One School, One Book program in all elementary schools this year. All elementary school students in RPS were given a copy of Friendship According to Humphrey to read at home with family at night.
Some teachers read the book with their students in the afternoon and our principal even read it over the intercom as students packed up and had their afternoon snack. I got the impression that students enjoyed reading the book. Other Humphrey books have been circulating in the library, and some students still proudly carry around their copy of Friendship According to Humphrey.
One thing I enjoyed about the program is that it gave us a common language. A colleague of mine had the awesome idea to have students design prototypes of better houses for Humphrey. The quick version: we found a couple of passages from the book that talked about Humphrey’s cage, introduced the engineering process, and had student’s work in small groups to design prototypes, and reflect on what went well, what they would improve, etc.
The Humphrey project deserves a post of its own truth be told. Thanks to collaboration with a very creative colleague, the project morphed into using a design brief plan and reflect on the building of a prototype to reading a couple of articles related to science and engineering and documenting unfamiliar vocabulary.
Read to Them launches a spring One School, One Book program in March with Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire, and I’m looking forward to the links to may have with design thinking and making.
We had some book tastings, which I’m looking forward to doing again.
And a paper bridge design challenge.
In December, kindergarten and first grade wrapped up the fall semester with gingerbread man traps built with Keva Planks, which I was able to purchase with a generous grant from the PTA/Boosters group.
Phew. It’s been a busy year so far.
My goals for the spring and next year is to tie in author/book studies with in-depth inquiry, design and engineering, and computer science if I can get my hands on some computers (right now there are four desktops in the library).
I’ll try to document it all here as I go along.