Friday, December 17, 2010

Where is THAT on the Learning Schedule?

Holidays in an elementary school are a fun time of year. Today is Pajama Day and the whole school is decked out in warm winter sleepwear. No, this isn't on the Learning Schedule. It is part of our school community traditions. I have my black and white snowflake flannel pj's. Even the principal is sporting a one-piece pair of pink footie pj's with puppies on the toes. 

My last post was about teaching with laser-like focus. In these times of accountability teachers often feel like they have to focus on teaching and hide holiday fun. The two, however, are not in conflict. It's always a balancing act to meet the demands of the curriculum and still let kids have childhood memories of special activities.

This week I was in a kindergarten class that seems to have mastered this balance quite well. When I walked into Holly Goleski's class to watch reading she quickly explained they were doing math. "We did double centers yesterday so we could do double math today." They were also decorating gingerbread houses later. What followed was a focused lesson building on the patterns they had been exploring in math. Yes, this was on the learning schedule. 

The lesson was clear. The student explanation of their learning was on track and showed different ideas and strategies. Learning takes time. Projects take time. Memories last a life time. One memory the students will take away is the video they created last week Jaguar Days of Christmas. No, it is not on the learning schedule but this little video from a kindergarten class has created good feelings not only in the school but also within the city at large. It has been featured on the news and tweeted about by Jaguar players. At least one district administrator can repeat the lyrics word for word. 

Not all learning is on the Learning Schedule. I hope you will take a moment to enjoy some holiday fun with Ms Goleski's kindergarten students.


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