The year is over and I’d like to look back to reflect on each subject. This is more for me, but I hope it encourages you to reflect upon your year.
Reading: This year, in reading, I made a concerted effort to include much more nonfiction in the texts we read. We likely approached the magic 50%-50% level in our nonfiction-fiction balance during lessons. Yet, when students selected their own independent reading books, fiction remained king. I’ve been wondering what I can do to increase students’ nonfiction interest. Maybe do more book-talks from that section? Maybe show some nonfiction books I’ve been reading? Or maybe I just had a group that loved stories, and that’s okay. I was satisfied by the time and choice I allowed students. I developed my best conferring form yet, though I still think I will tweak it a bit for next year.
Writing: I could teach writing all day, every day, and I still would have lessons that I didn’t complete. I can quickly come up with a dozen lessons which would have benefitted my writers, but we ran out of days. This is inevitable. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied. My group made amazing gains, but there was so much more we needed. Next year, I want to increase the emphasis I place on the different modes of writing – narrative, informational, and persuasive. I hope to show students how the traits of writing connect across all three modes.
Math: My math instruction improved greatly this year as I made videos to flip portions of our math class. Students who demonstrated a basic knowledge of the day’s math concept were allowed to watch a video to further their learning, work independently, and then meet with me to extend their learning. This really benefitted my high-ability math students, who were able to work at their own pace. Now that many of these videos are done, I will be switching to do a different pilot program. Yikes! Lots of new videos on the way…
Science: It would be great if I could hold a science class every day, but time and testing don’t allow this. However, I did a pretty good job with our limited time. Some science content was integrated into our writing block, including a research project about animal adaptations. Other science units based on experiments and the design process were condensed in special weeks the students really enjoyed. Next year, I would like to use some of these experiments and engineering tasks as springboards into informational writing, which I feel is the hardest writing mode to teach.
Social Studies: All our social studies content is integrated into other subjects. This works well for history, economics, and geography. Government is the one area which I could do better. Maybe this could be integrated with a persuasive letter writing unit? Or maybe a field trip and an information presentation about it? I’ll work on it next year.
Again, I encourage you to reflect on your year as well. Think about what went well and why. Consider what could have been better and list some ideas to improve. Good luck!