Thank you for the chance to be your child’s teacher. I am thankful to be entrusted to work with your kids on a daily basis.
This has been a transitional year in many ways. We’ve gone 1:1 with technology and are refining our implementation of project based learning. We’ve been working with the Common Core State Standards and searching for best practices to teach reading, writing, spelling, grammar, math, science, history-social science, P.E., and all of the essential success skills necessary to be college, career, and life ready-skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication, self-management, speaking and listening, leadership. And we’ve been doing all this with a 14 year old, out-of-date adopted English-Language Arts Program.
It’s interesting to think that as adults we’ve had about 13,000 hours of seat time in a K-12 educational system. That’s a big number, and it means we’ve seen a lot of teachers and styles of teaching and learning. But education is changing. Our economy is changing. The things we need to know and be able to do are changing. And yet the one thing that has shown little to no change is the manner in which education reacts to these changes.
I know that our classroom looks and runs differently than any other at this school. We are a bit of a “unicorn” so to speak. I can assure you, however, that there are other teachers and classrooms scattered throughout the country that look and feel and sound like ours, and that gives me hope for the future of my profession. And for our kids.
Want to see what a 21st Century school looks like? A school that is getting students college, career, and life ready? Look no further than Katherine Smith Elementary in San Jose. Their story is inspiring. It was taken over as a failing school and turned into a project based learning school. Read the stories of their students on their Word Press Blog.
I appreciate your trust and support to transform our class into a deep-thinking, deep-learning, innovative room. Your students are amazing, and I get the privilege to see them transform on a daily basis.
I recognize their are some things I do well and some that I struggle with. It’s hard to communicate on a daily or weekly basis the nature of the change or growth your children are making. I can hear it in their discussions and see it in their actions or read it in their writing. I’ve been working hard to learn ways to close the communication loop to provide you more timely and regular feedback. I’m learning how to use Google Classroom and Socrative, two tools I expect will help provide you more updates and info on a regular basis. I’ve been able to communicate with students via comments in Google Docs and Newsela Writes, but I know it’s not always seen by parents. These are areas I will continue to focus on for next year.
We do not do school as it’s always been done. We do it differently, and I believe for the better of education.
I’m excited to announce next year we will partner with Real World Scholars to start our own business. We’ve got $1,000 in seed money to start our capital venture, and students will be using an e-commerce platform, Classroom Wallet, to track expenditures and income.
In the Fall we’ll begin work on a trailer for Patricia Newman’s soon-to-be-released book, “Sea Otter Heroes.”
In the Fall we’ll begin a new collaboration with the City of Elk Grove’s Integrated Waste Department to create a series of films on organic waste recycling and mandatory small business recycling.
We will complete a documentary film on water. We will launch into historical investigations and produce documentary films about our learning.
We’ll be reading about ancient civilizations and the science and math they used with Joy Hakim’s Award Winning books. And we’ll be launching into novel studies as well.
Summer will be a busy time, preparing for the new learning adventures. I encourage you to encourage your students to read as much as they can…especially Newsela Articles. I’ll announce a summer reading challenge for this in a separate post.
Thank you again for the honor to work with your children. To those who are leaving our class to go to different tracks or classes, you will be missed. And to all, enjoy your time with family. The days are long. The years are short. Every moment together is one you’ll never get back, so do cherish the time off.
And see you August 8! It’s going to be the best year yet!