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For me, this time of the school year is the hardest. (The blood curdling scream at the top someone's lungs let out in my classroom yesterday is proof of that, and I promise it wasn't me.) More importantly though, it's the most crucial time of the year. The remainder of the year hinges on what I do and don't do right now. Debbie Miller's quote says it all. Being deliberate and explicit about the smallest of details is so important. If my kids don't know what I expect of them, come January they are certainly not to blame when things aren't going well. It takes lots of time and energy to be deliberate though. Rushing into too much curriculum too early without a deliberate foundation could sabotage everything. "Slow down to speed up" is my mantra. I believe I made that up, but it was definitely inspired by the following quotes. (I'm not smart enough to make it up all on my own.)
"Slow down and be consistent." Kathy Collins, Growing Readers 60
"Spending time on procedures and management in the beginning is, in fact, good teaching and a good time investment." Kathy Collins, Growing Readers 65
"We move slowly to eventually move fast. The payoff is enormous." Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, The Daily 5 42
To move slowly now doesn't necessarily mean that by the end of the year we will have accomplished less. In fact, I believe quite the opposite is true. We'll be able to speed up and accomplish so much more because we'll have fewer management issues to fight with along the way, and those always tend to slow us down. I'd rather purposefully slow down now than have to slow down later out of sheer desperation.
Slow down to speed up.