Thursday, November 17, 2011

Truly Knowing Our Students

Our conferences begin today. Usually I am in a tiff, flitting about in chaos. Yesterday, though, marked a day of change.  A new mindset and philosophy has resulted in a different approach, as we are floating around in a bubble no one can pop (using a twist from one of my favorite metaphors from Ann)! Yesterday was the best time I have ever had stuffing report card folders- as we worked we read aloud their letters to their parents. Truly priceless! {...and then we un-stuffed the letters so we could make copies of them because they were truly amazing ... we want to be able to reshare them with students at the end of the year, plus use them for inspiration as we move forward}

We feel like we know our students this year even better than we ever have before.  And truly it's because each child has their own individualized program in reading, writing, math, and science (and soon social studies).  Our new program has opened new doors for us.  We know where each child is on each content area continuum, yet we are also able to teach several whole group lessons a day with all of these amazing brains working together.  And really these are not "traditional lessons", but conversations that are beginning to be driven by the students (and we are only in November!!).  They are sharing the strategies that are working for them and how they have approached the topic/activity for their own learning/ intelligence style.  The metaphors, quotes, and dialogue that are being shared are WOWING us each and everyday. We need more wall space for all the great thinking!!!

This year we are excited to have our conference conversations about the individual child, rather than the point we are at within the curriculum, or how their child's performance matched up to the curriculum's sequence or expectations.  In addition, we are prepared to share with parents the "building blocks" that are missing (and need to be filled) in order to move on to particular state standard expectations at the child's personal grade level.  We have specific academic prescriptions for each child and we are so excited to share them!!


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