Friday, January 27, 2012

Mid Year Reflection

Dear Parents,
It's really hard to believe that half of the school year is already over.  During the past few weeks my students and I have been doing a lot of reflecting.  Students have been thinking deeply about what they've learned during the first half of the year; and more importantly, what more they will learn, and how, during the second half of the year.  Report cards will be sent home next Friday; my thoughts and reflections will be included, in addition to their performance levels and skills assessments.  I have written these reflections with your child as I believe it is just as important (actually more) that the student knows where he/she is as a learner than you and I.  We can work together to assist your child/my student to grow as a reader, writer, mathematician, historian, and scientist.  If any of my assessments and/or reflections concern you, please let me know and I would love to meet with you and your child to discuss strategies to enhance his/her learning.  

After revisiting my original goal for this school year, I have done a lot of reflecting as well.   My goal for this year is:  "for all fifth graders to become passionate, independent, lifelong learners who think critically through collaboration."

Wow.  That was a lofty goal and I feel as though we are doing really well with it.  Student blogging, Innovation Day, and student setting goal setting and self assessing have been essential elements towards achieving this goal, for which I'm very proud.  To improve (this is the hard part), I would like to teach students to take their own initiative to read their just right books and blog posts independently at home more often, rather than you or me persuading them to do so.  I'd like all students to want to write blog posts and comments more than they do now; I want them to do this without me assigning it for homework.  I want my kids to push their own thinking and others' thinking using Kidblog, Glogster, Edmodo, Voice Thread and Khan Academy...or any vehicle that works for them (and is safe).  I want my kids to research and  learn about topics that go beyond our fifth grade curriculum.  I want them to ask more questions leaving fifth grade than upon entering.  

How, you ask?  That is even more difficult than thinking about what to improve on.  I am going to model more often, to my students, the great joy (and learning) I achieve from reading novels, various blog posts I subscribe to and other pieces of writing (I'm in LOVE with Craig Wilson's "Final Word" section from USA Today).  I'm going to model more, to my students, how I push my thinking and the thinking of others' even further by commenting on blog posts.  I  am going to take more time to reflect on my own learning and teaching and give my students even more time to reflect on their learning as well.

I love my job.  I love your children.  I appreciate all of you for supporting me as I try to mold your children into passionate life long learners, who are thinking deeper than ever before and will continue to delve even deeper.  Thank you.


Best,
Rachel

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