This quote came across my facebook page last week and struck a cord with me. We typically mark first days with memorabilia and photos. For example, the photos that accompany first day of kindergarten and in my home this year, the first day of high school. Likewise, we may document the last days whether through graduation ceremonies or another photo of the last day of school each year. However, it is what comes in the middle that makes the long- lasting memories and growth. Yet, typically we don’t document the routine or the normal daily little moments that make up a school year. However, it may be said that it is the routine; the middle that is critical. I think what resounded with me in this quote was that the middle is the building of the classroom community- it starts on the first day and never stops. Whether thinking about adult learners or our students in schools, it is the middle that can be daunting.
I think of colleagues and how we are recognizing the need and importance for enhanced opportunities for collaboration. This summer our campus was alive and thriving during Solution Tree’s Professional Learning Communities Conference in July. Yet, as we get caught up in the middle of all that makes up a school year, sustaining the commitment to doing our work in a different way through PLC can be a challenge. As a reminder, the Network Team is offering monthly booster meetings for PLC. The next meeting is Sept 23. Check the Network Team Home page for upcoming information. Continue to develop the adult community of learners!
Not only are we creating learning communities for the adults in our schools, but with the first weeks of schools, teachers across the region are starting their learning communities within their schools and classrooms. Mentors and Mentees in Liverpool and OCM BOCES looked at how structures such as Just Like Me, Find Someone Who, and Two Truths and a Fib support building connections and trust, as well as, include academic content. Teachers in Solvay focused on how to Support Students in Poverty by applying McRel research to create an environment for learning by setting objectives and providing feedback, reinforcing effort and providing recognition, and infusing opportunities for collaboration and cooperative learning. OCM BOCES teachers from student services are implementing a lesson planning template that includes elements from McRel research on creating environment for learning as daily and weekly lessons are designed and delivered. Teachers from ESM, Solvay, North Syracuse, OCM, DeRuyter and Cortland worked with Patrick Shaw in the past few weeks to implement Responsive Classroom to develop a positive learning environment, along with effective management and engaging academics for the 21st Century. Lots of thinking and planning goes into creating the desired environment as a classroom community does not just happen. It is the result of deliberate and purposeful interactions and structures to create the classroom community where learning is safe, encouraged and fun.
Thank you to Kathy Griffin for sharing her quote-check her blog for additional words of advice and to download the quote that started my thoughts here.
Wishing you a safe, fun, and productive year!