We recently met as a grade level to talk about how our year is going - what we are proud of so far (and there certainly is a lot to be proud of!), what we hope to accomplish for the rest of the year, and changes we might like to make. Jim Collins tells us that we cannot move from good to great unless we are brutally honest about where we are today. With that in mind, I really tried to listen to what teachers want the rest of our year to look like. One of the things that teachers felt like they needed was more time to share. We have 15 teachers on our grade level and it is difficult for everyone to have a voice and to get their questions answered in our once-a-week meeting time. It is always a difficult balance to meet the needs of such a diverse group of teachers.
In order to provide more time to share, we are going to try eight Friday morning sharing times in addition to our weekly Teacher Meetings. Teachers volunteer to host and they get to name the topic. Other teachers on the grade level have the option to come or not, but each teacher is asked to bring something to share. This past Friday, Maria Mallon and Cheryl Dillard offered to host our first "share and serve" (breakfast). The topic was "Sleepover." Each teacher was asked to bring at least one thing to share about "Sleepover" which is our full day first grade tradition in January.
Another struggle for us has been to address things before they happen so that teachers have a little more time to prepare. As usual most teachers brought something to share, but not all, and the ideas were creative, fun, and really got teachers thinking about the event. Questions were asked and answered. Some teachers were relaxed and social while others were on a tight schedule and really worked to keep the conversation on topic and on time. It is always interesting to see the variety of personalities that make a grade level successful!
Make sure to check out the first grade wiki under "Sleepover" for all of the parent communication, hints about the day of Sleepover, the Parent Night pillowcase-making, and curriculum suggestions that go with this traditional event. As our teachers find new activities, they will be encouraged to post and share them on this collaborative wiki. The picture above is what Maria Mallon brought to share. She keeps all of her unit packed in a suitcase, ready to sleep over!