Wow! Another year of teaching and learning has drawn to a close…it never ceases to amaze me how quickly a school year can fly by. With summer comes a time to reboot, recharge, and PLAN for 2016–2017. What does it mean to PLAN for the next school year? To move beyond hope for student learning and move toward intentional purpose to have all students learn mathematics? Consider the following:
Ponder the year and identify the successes related to student learning. What were your team’s greatest successes when teaching and assessing mathematics? What is your evidence of each success? How will these be replicated next year?
Learn from the mistakes and challenges experienced during the year. What are the changes to pacing, instructions, task selection, assessments, or team responses to assessment data that you want to address proactively next school year? What is your plan to strengthen your mathematics program?
Anticipate the prerequisite knowledge students will bring to the classroom and the mathematical process standards students have been learning as habits of mind. How will you grow student learning through discourse, high-level cognitive tasks, and connections to prior learning?
Notice the classroom routines, procedures, and expectations that contribute to a positive classroom culture and a growth mindset in students. How will students be active contributors to the learning environment?
Each year your collaborative team works to improve the mathematics learning of students, you, your colleagues, and your students benefit and learn from the experience. PLAN to make that difference each year.
I have had the opportunity to meet with mathematics teams this spring as they stop to PLAN for next year. They reflect on the tasks chosen, the lessons used and paced, the assessments used, and the learning of students. Each time, there is an “aha” moment when changes in curriculum or assessment that will better meet the needs of students and contribute to more student learning are identified. It is exciting to think about the learning of students next year with these team-determined improvements.
I challenge you to take a moment and PLAN. PLAN to promise even greater student learning. PLAN for 2016–2017 to be your best year ever. PLAN so anything is possible. Together you, your colleagues, and your students can continue to learn from one another and move you toward your vision for quality mathematics instruction and assessment. PLAN as a team to reach that vision. And…remember to enjoy a bit of sunshine along the way.