The following has been written primarily for Texas schools.
Second semester is the kick off of Prime Time. If you are not running full speed everyday before TAKS, then you are falling behind. I’ve been visiting schools over the past two weeks and the conversation always arrives at the following question, “How should we start the second semester with the right focus and urgency?” Here is the basic plan that I have been sharing, we obviously modify it somewhat based on the individual campus.
1. On the first day back (usually a planning or work day), have teacher teams (either content or grade level) review the curriculum source and pull the lessons for the first 15 days of instruction.
2. In the same teams, have the teams Frame each lesson.
3. Then have the teams add one of the two following modifications to each lesson. Either embed small group purposeful talk or critical writing. It is the team’s choice as to which modification they use, but at least 25% of the lessons have to have the critical writing addition.
That’s it. The plan ensures that for the first 15 days, what is taught is completely aligned to what is supposed to be taught. It ensures that the critical learning for each day is presented to all students in a format that they can all understand. It ensures that each lesson extends into the mid and high levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. And finally, it ensures that the covered content is “sticky,” or better retained by the student.
Remember you finish like you start, so go hard from the beginning.
Think. Work. Achieve.