Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Team Planning in Grade 2

As we wrap up one year, we eagerly await another. Decisions about next year's roster are already made so new teams can meet for an entire day, on the clock, and plan together. This week, our 2009-2010 Second Grade team met. They are an eclectic group of Learning Leaders--some are first grade teachers looping to second, some are third grade teachers coming down to second to then loop to third, some are current second grade teachers, and one brave soul is trying her hand at second after completing four years in fifth grade. Some of the teachers are co-teaching and others are departmentalized. I am thrilled to have such a unique group with so many varied experiences, it will undoubtedly allow this great team to look at each decision from many perspectives.

We began the day with a Getting to Know You activity that was a mix of collegiality and competitive competition. There was much laughter as we got to know each other. Next, we discussed our CCE non-negotiables as outlined by our School Improvement Plan and the America's Choice School Design.

--One hour Readers’ Workshop
--One hour Writers’ Workshop
--20 minute Skills Block
--One hour Math Workshop
--15-20 minute
Everyday Math Counts Calendar Math
--45 minutes of Science / Social Studies

On average, including book in the bag, no more than 30 minutes nightly. Homework in place on Monday,

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. Please no homework on weekends.

Million Word Standard
--Each student is responsible for reading a million words a year.

--Evidence will be logged through a book log.


--Book of the Month attractively displayed and accessible to students.
--Data Notebooks (Diagnostic Profiles, DRA’s, PMP)
--Portfolios in Writing and Mathematics
--Reading Response Journal or Notebook 1-5
--Writing Notebook / Seed Journal 2-4
--Teacher Made Charts demonstrating mini-lessons in ELA
--Classroom writing rubrics
--Math artifacts (Teacher made charts, 100’s chart, number lines with negative and positive numbers, manipulatives, strategy charts etc…)

Standards- Based Bulletin Boards
--SBBB will be displayed by the deadline date with at least the following components: Standards, Task, 4 pieces of student work, teacher commentary. They may also include student commentary, circumstances of
performance, etc...

--No SBBB due in August, December, March, or May.
--Co-teachers in departmentalized grade levels will alternate between ELA and Math/Science/Social Studies

Standard Snapshots
Will be designated on the yearly calendar and done collaboratively amongst the grade level. Each student’s
piece of work will be attached to the snapshot to be sent home on the specified date.

Pacing Guides
--District Learning Schedules in Mathematics will be followed in Grades K-5.
--District Learning Schedules in Science will be followed in Grades K-4.

--ELA CCE Pacing Guides will be followed as prepared using the Scope and Sequence in our district adopted
Houghton-Mifflin Text and the Sunshine State Standards.
--Author Studies will be conducted, as outlined in our SIP, according to the designated pacing guide schedule.

Grade Book
--No grades will be taken on homework.
--There needs to be a reasonable number of grades to average for an overall grade. (at least one every two
--There needs to be grade level consistency on what is being graded and teachers need to be able to communicate with parents how the grade was derived.

Communication with Parents

--Weekly newsletters
--Written notes in planners or email
--Blogs are highly recommended but optional.

Next, the team nominated Ashley Russell as their team leader and Karen Morris as their recording secretary. Other committee leaders were selected for groups including field trips, foundations, cultural arts, and spirit This group had participants eagerly embrace each of the roles and I could tell they would gel as a team.

After that, Melanie Holtsman, our Instructional Technology Coach, taught us to set up our websites for the new OnCourse attendance and grade book program.

Then, a delightful treat awaited as the second grade team headed out for an adult lunch break. Though we had to dodge the wind and rain, we comfortably settled in at Times Grille to have a lunch full of conversation, laughs, and of course more dialogue about the upcoming year.

When we returned to school, the ELA folks and Math/Science/Social Studies folks broke up for some specialized planning in their respective subject areas.

In ELA, our agenda included a discussion about the Second Grade wiki, pacing guide, reading/writing/skills Sunshine State Standards, common assessments, units of study, inventories/materials, artifacts, and grading. Had we not run out of time, we would have discussed the new F.A.I.R. assessment versus our CCE diagnostic. This discussion is an important one that we'll have to have soon.

The day ended with the grade level meeting again to put together a 2009-2010 supply list.

Though the teachers have to write sub plans and leave their students for the day, I think they appreciate the opportunity to partake in this type of planning. As one year comes to a close, they don't have to spend the summer wondering about their new team or about what lies ahead. Rather, they can jump in and get started because they have an outline and the expectations. A special thank you to our visionary leader, Susan Phillips, for making this planning day a reality!

1 comment:

dayle timmons said...

You are inheriting some of my favorite 1st grade teachers who have been promoted! They are a talented group so I know it will be a wonderful year for them all! What a great start!