Thursday, May 2, 2013

Using your Roll-Over Minutes

5 years ago, cell phone companies touted that if you went with them, you could roll over unused minutes to the next month.  The idea sounded great.  Save unused minutes so you can bank them when you really need them.  If you think about it, wouldn't it be cool if we could roll over unused minutes from this year and use them for next year.  After all, we always complain about not having enough minutes in the day to truly meet the needs of every kid in the course of a year.

Well check this out.  Schools have about one more month left on the clock until the end of this year. Everyone is tired and ready for the break. While it is easy to watch the clock wind down, this is the time to roll over your minutes into next year.  Kids are struggling now and will regress over the summer.  Instead of spending the first 6 weeks next year reacting to them, spend these 4 weeks preparing for them.  Teams will spend the first 6 weeks of next year learning how to work together.  Instead spend these 4 weeks preparing to be the most effective and efficient team you can possibly be.

This is your opportunity to roll over 4 weeks into next year's instruction and make next year's 1st 6 weeks as powerful as possible.  In essence, you could roll over 4 weeks into next year by getting a head start today.

From Planning to Transition

Teams must plan now for the kids that they will receive.  Here are some questions that teams should be asking now:
  • How will the team assess the new students' knowledge at the beginning of the year? 
  • What are the successes and failures of the kids that will receive in the fall? 
  • What current year skills will need extra emphasis as soon as school begins?

From Intervention to Prevention

Kids will come in the door behind due to summer regression, struggles from this year or both.  Here are some questions that current year teachers must ask to set next year's teachers up for success with students who struggle academically?
  • Which students struggled all year long?
  • What current year skills did each kid struggle with?
  • What interventions were used to help the student learn the skill and what were the results?
  • How often did the student receive prescriptive and targeted support and who provided the support?

Helping Students with Next Year's Behavior

Kids had difficulties all year long with behavior.  It is easy to have the mindset that it is now someone else's turn to deal with the student, but that mindset is selfish and counterproductive for the kid and next year's teacher.  Set both up for success by:
  • Listing the student's typical behaviors
  • List the student's motivations for his behavior (attention, task avoidance, etc.)
  • List consequences that were tried and their results (including parental involvement)
  • List positive behavior supports, their frequency and the results.
  • List a member of the campus that the student has a positive relationship with. (Possible mentor for next year)

Improve Collaborative Efforts

Collaborative teams have structures that help or hinder the team.  By reflecting on the collaborative efforts of teaming, teams can become more efficient next year and maximize their planning time next year.
  • What tasks did we do this year that really helped our team meet the needs of kids?
  • What tasks inhibited our team from making real progress?
  • What behaviors did our team exhibit that we need to improve on for next year?
  • What norms need to either be created or revised to make our team stronger next year?

Tick Tock, Tick Tock...

The clocking is ticking.  The game will be over soon.  We will all be going our separate ways for a few months and then come back ready to start a new game.  The game always begins with us being behind on the scoreboard from the start.  Use your time wisely to catch up on next year's score by putting some points on the board now.

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