It’s official. September has arrived, and whether it’s from behind a screen or looking out upon rows of desks marked six feet apart, in a matter of days we will be meeting this year’s crew. The idea of meeting our students always fills us with joy- but if we’re honest, this year, we’re all a bit terrified too! It doesn’t matter how many years we’ve been teaching, this is new terrain for all of us. We are all first year teachers. We know what we want for our students- but the abbreviated schedules, virtual classrooms, and figuring out Cohorts A, B, and C seem to be making it impossible to imagine how we can fit it all in.
We’ve spent our summers searching for that perfect schedule that will make it all work and we’re out of time. The bad news is that I don’t think that one pretty, color coded, blocked out schedule can answer our prayers. There are simply too many variables. However, I do believe that each of us can create something that will offer our students a joyful, engaging, and meaningful learning experience. All we need to do is start with our values and work from there.
Step One- The way we use our time shows what we truly value. Start your schedule creation process by listing the things you value and want to create time for in your classroom. Think of these as the building blocks of your schedule. See my list below.
- Community and Connection
- Explicit Teaching
- Inquiry and Play
Step Two- Create a chart with four columns (Value, In-Person, Synchronous, Asynchronous) across and a row for each of your values. Then, dream up ways that you can address each value in all three learning scenarios. (You may ask why you should fill in all three columns if you already know the district plan. My answer… Life has been nothing if not unpredictable, and it’s better to have a plan for a change in direction just in case.)
Step 3- Once you’ve dreamed up a list of ways you can bring your values to life in these different scenarios, build a weekly schedule that includes bits from each row. This will ensure that all of the things we want for our students are at the core of how we choose to spend our time.
Sample Hybrid Reading Block Schedule:
In the end, we may not reach perfection. Our schedules may not allow us to do everything we want to, every day. However, across the week, we know that we are touching upon all of the things we know in our hearts are right for our students, and that is enough.
Wishing you all a wonderful start to a brand new adventure.