Many of us are going back to school tomorrow! I’m both excited about the possibilities of a new semester and a little sad to be giving up all of my free time. I’m sure you know how that feels.
The beginning of Spring semester is the perfect time to reassess our classroom practices. What went well? What didn’t work? What almost worked and just needs tweaking?
I asked a few of my favorite Twitter friends to share what they would do differently in 2017. Their answers are inspiring. I think we can all take something away from what they know they’ll be doing differently this semester.
“This Spring I am doing a redesign with technology. I am introducing the concept of “digital citizenship” to my students and we will be using KQED’s Do Now project with both commenting and Twitter, we will be listening to and discussing a podcast called Argument Ninja and we will focus on evaluating online sources for quality, trustworthiness, etc. I am excited because I think students will find it engaging and it is so important in this moment.” -Sue Peterson
“Here’s what I’ll do differently next semester: slow down. Fall was exciting and energizing and inspiring, but now it’s time to dig deep. My students have the necessary skill set – they can read like readers, read like writers, notice and note subtleties in literature that make meaning, they can think creatively to extend and enrich their understanding of literary works, and they’re getting pretty good at crafting essays that provide their insights. So, awesome, right? Right! But now I need to make sure – and more importantly – make time for students to continue to deepen and develop their skills. The name of the game in Spring 2017: Slow down; dig deep.” -Karla Hilliard
5. Change the posters. I need my room to look bright and new for second semester, so I (or my student helpers) find some new posters to hot glue to the walls. Tip, find a hot glue pot to keep glue warm and ready when you need it. 4. Move the seats. To symbolically start fresh and new, students get a new assigned seat, and usually a whole new room arrangement for second semester. 3. Reflect. Both I and my students need to reflect at the beginning of second-semester regarding what works well and what doesn’t work well in terms of classroom procedures, lesson plans, and assignments. 2. Set Goals. After reflecting, both I and my students need to set second-semester goals that are realistic and specific, especially in regards to what did not work last semester. 1. Prepare students for the next challenge. The first semester, I teach my students the skills for their current grade level. In the second semester, I feel the pressure not just to make sure students are prepared for their current grade level challenges, but also are prepared for their next adventures, whether those be a new grade level, college/career, or life! -Sarah Ressler Wright Blog Twitter
“My favorite change to make for the spring semester is to try a new tech tool! It’s the perfect time of year to reinvigorate instruction to help the kids stay engaged and focused for the second half of the year. By this point too, I can easily select a tool that matches the needs, strengths, and learning styles of my students. This year, I’m going to try Jumble! -Alissa Devito
“As an Instructional Coach who still spends part of the day with my 10th grade English classes, I can research current educational best practices and test them the next day. The one struggle I’ve been having is with the shift to student-centered learning and group seating. Students love sitting together so much that they have been getting off-task easily and I tried assigning groups, making smaller groups, and including different achievement levels…but I still had the same problems.
Then, I told another coach about my struggle with seating and she suggested personalizing the seating. I am excited about trying this new format, mixing small groups with rows and partners and allowing the students to pick the arrangement that best suits their learning style! ” -Coach Collins