Thursday, November 3, 2011

100 Decisions a Day

It must be that time of the school year-finally falling into a routine and I write this with a smile on my face.  I know my students as readers, writers, word smiths,  mathematicians, scientists and historians.  So now I have to make a 100 decisions a day that are not written in my lesson plans and most of them I have about 2-4 seconds to decide.  This is our life as teachers and as the years move on notice I am not typing and I get older :) I am finding these decisions to be more difficult and harder to make.  Life was simpler in the classroom 10 years ago, maybe even 5 years ago.  I had more control of my classroom and how I was going to teach the curriculum, but not now which brings me to the 100 decisions a day.

Today was one of those days where I made a 101 decisions in one day.  Let me tell you about a few of them.  Let's start with the routine of my day.

In math, we are working on prime, composite, factor trees and prime factorization.  I knew these are all new concepts for my students so I did 4 simple warm up problems on the board and had my class try them.  We call this "entrance cards."  Decision #1:  3 students got all four correct. Decision #2 5 students only missed 2 so they need 1/2 of instruction. Decision #3 9 students missed three or four of them.  The point:  I needed 3 teachers for the best teaching and it was only me so I made the decision to group the 14 students together-teach them and send the 3 off for enrichment.  Old days: teach all of them the same thing New day: differentiate and make more decisions-better teaching yes-harder decisions yes.

In Writing Workshop, we were working on our iPod digital stories and every student needed help typically with a technology question but also learning how to edit their story.  The hard part for me in these decisions included:  When do I stop the whole group to learn a new technology skill that not everyone is ready for? Do I teach a few students and make them an expert but then how will they get their story done if they become the "teachers?"  How do I help the struggling students who are still composing their story in their writer's notebook?  You know the situation 23 writers in 23 different places and at least 30 decisions in 30 minutes.

Finally in life science, I am lucky enough to open our wall and team teach with Sarah, who is an amazing teacher.  I was leading the lesson today and Sarah was working with a small group modifying the whole group lesson.  During this time, we have "pull outs" including reading services, English Second Language services, and resource room services which brings me back to my next 28 decisions-what do you teach when you know these 8 students are going to miss class time?  This is a life long dilemma for me because I know they need those pull out services, but I know they need the life science content also.  If anyone has any suggestions, hints or ideas please leave me a comment.

1 comment:

  1. I'm clicking the blogger "LIKE" button now. I have no answers for you, just loving the way you described our life so concisely.