While I am hoping to interview for a position at the high school sometime this week, I am still thinking of how I want to improve my practice at the middle school. Inspired by The Art of Apex, Studio Thinking 2 and The Learner-Directed Classroom. (My Summer reads) I am devising my plans for my Modified Choice Studio next year.
One of my goals for next year is to communicate better with parents about what we are doing in class and have things ready for the many, MANY kids that are NEW or absent on a regular basis in our school. So lesson and assignment calendars are the way I can best organize my thinking and planning. Hence my double-sided calendar page with dates on one side and assignment details on the other side. This will be given to students with the expectation that they keep in in their binder and another copy will be put on my school webpage and emailed home to parents. The goal will be to do it in 6 week chunks.
Absent kids will no longer need to ask me what they missed, they can easily refer to their calendar. I will also print a LARGER version of the same thing to post in the classroom, this one will get updated as needed.
On the back, kids will write in the DUE dates at the beginning of each project, adjusting from the front if there has been a change. I think that requiring the kids actually write in the due date helps them fix it in their minds. While most FULL Choice classes don’t really have due dates, I find with my middle school students that I HAVE to have due dates or many of them will just never do anything. Plus we have to update the online grades every 2 weeks.
The other blank column will be for them to write their score on a particular assignment. Hopefully to assist in some reflection and the understanding of how they are progressing on specific skills.
I will also use this to help kids that join the class late to catch up on skills or explorations that they missed. We have a lot of movement in our population and I will have kids join the class weeks into the semester. I want them ALL to do the center opening activities. I will pair them up with a peer mentor to get them started. This will be particularly useful if we are in the middle of a longer summative project. It would be unfair to throw them in in the middle of that without the intro experiences. Plus I want them to know about each center and the vocab and materials that go along with them. So I will highlight the tasks on the calendar that they must complete to catch-up with the others using studio centers.
Here is my start and I would love your feedback! 2014-2015 Sept calendar