- Bringing Project Based Learning to our Classroom - August 12, 2018
- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
Remember the excitement you felt at the beginning of the school year? Round two starts this month and you have an amazing opportunity as an educator. You get to make a difference in a child's life. Just as you set goals and made plans in August, pause and help your students start the year right with reflection.
Teaching is more than curriculum and great teachers recognize this. Just as you groggily began your week back and had to come out of the holiday break mode (Netflix binges, late nights with no alarm clock wake up and time with family) our students are in the same situation. Spend some time, just as you did in August, discussing your classroom expectations and goals with students. Find out what is going well and what students need. Readjust classroom rules if necessary. And share your goals with students as well as what you need to accomplish them and how you plan to accomplish them. There are numerous resources on Teachers pay Teachers you can use. I plan to focus on three areas in my classroom.
1.Behavior: Start a discussion in class on classroom behavior. Have students reflect and invite them to share about: "What did you do last semester that worked well? How do you know it worked well? What can you change about it to make it work better?" This year I have gone to non-traditional seating options in my classroom. Along with this we have had many discussions about how we learn. Have your students think about and invite them to share what helps them learn and what stops their learning. Move them past "listen", "pay attention" to thinking about their individual strengths and needs. "Where do you like to work (alone, group, desk, standing, on the floor)? Do you like music or quiet? Do you need bright lights or dim? What responsibility do you have in your learning?" Use this information to have students write a behavior goal for the next month. When I need help in class this month I will_____________. During individual work time this month I will ______________. In group projects this month I will ______________. Now, what is needed for your students to be successful? Ask for supplies (parents, other teachers and local businesses) or check out thrift shops if you need to add clipboards (to work separately or work on the floor), lamps (dim the overhead brightness), headphones (quiet), coffee table (floor sitters), standing table (standers), or anything else that helps your students be successful. Helping your students identify their strengths and where they are comfortable learning will increase engagement during the winter months when focus can be a challenge.
2.Academics: Start a discussion in class about the subjects you teach in your room. Have students reflect and invite them to share about: "What is your favorite subject? What is your least favorite subject? Why?" Discuss interests and the standards you will be covering this next semester. Have students make connections to these subjects and the things they like. They can rank them from most to least interesting. Discuss how they relate to things in life. Fractions are in cooking. Percentages are in sports. Writing can be used to persuade and get something you want. Use this information to have students write an academic goal for the next month. In math/reading/social studies/science/writing I will learn about _______________ so I can ___________________. Making personal connections to standards will increase your students' interest and encourage them to take learning outside of the classroom.
3.Reflection: Start a discussion in class about the first semester in your classroom and school . Have students reflect and invite them to share about: "What did you do well last semester? What are you proud of accomplishing last semester? What are you good at in the classroom? What do others ask your advice or opinion about?" Have students think about what they like about themselves. Use this information to have students write a reflection goal for the next month. I want to continue _______________________ this month because _________________________. Celebrate individual strengths and recognize what is already working.
As you help your students set goals this month be sure to discuss how you will know when the goals are met and what tools are needed for success. Set goals with your students as well so you model this important life skill. And throughout the month check in, celebrate success and make adjustments or decide what other tools are needed. Setting goals will allow you to see your students through their eyes. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]Reflection, goal setting and making connections is what truly brings learning to life. Click To Tweet[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]