On that magical first day of a new year, many reflect on the past year and plan for the future year. Several interesting blog posts I have seen the past week are worth passing on!
From: Family Literacy Resolutions
Happy New Year! It’s that time of the year when everyone is making positive changes in their lives. But instead of resolving to eat fewer desserts or exercise more, how about making a family literacy resolution?
Maybe your resolution could be personal, like promising to read aloud more often to your family. Maybe your resolution can improve your family literacy program. For example: if you are an adult education teacher, you could resolve to learn more about how children learn to read, and then teach those skills to parents so they can help their children improve reading skills. If you are a principal, perhaps you would like to encourage more parent involvement by providing incentives – such as new books for families or pizza parties – to classroom teachers whose parents have outstanding attendance at PTA meetings.
Whatever your resolution is, please let me know! Either submit a comment by clicking the link above.
Celebrating 200 fantastic posts!
New Year’s Resolution for Teachers: from The Reading Zone
“My resolution? To give my students more time for independent reading and writing. I have somehow managed to lose focus as the year has moved forward and that independent time has fallen by the wayside. So I will be reworking a few routines and procedures so that I can make that time every day.”
Which leads to her link to Cornerstone Blog:
“I am SO not letting my kids do that next year.”
“Next year, I’m going to approach this in a totally different way.”
I hear teachers make these comments all the time. Unfortunately, they all reference next year on the school calendar. And August is a loooooong way away.
It’s never too late to change something that’s not working. You don’t have to wait for an entirely new group of kids. You can–and should–modify your procedures, expectations, and teaching strategies any time they are not effective, at ANY time during the school year.
And don’t worry that making changes to the way you run your classroom will confuse the kids or cause them to question your authority and expertise. The key is to articulate to students what’s not working and how you plan to fix it. Tell the class your observations about the problem and share your solution.
For example, you could say, “I’ve noticed that many people are copying their homework assignments incorrectly. I want to change the way the assignments are displayed and copied in order to help you. From now on, the list of assignments will be on this poster, instead of on the transparency, so even if you come late to class, you can see what needs to be done. I will also be giving you five minutes instead of three to write everything down and have a partner check over what you wrote. Here’s how that’s going to work.” Then model exactly what you want, and guide the kids through it.
Other changes to your teaching practice may be more subtle. You may have noticed a dampening of your enthusiasm or patience, or a heavier reliance on test prep practice and teaching materials/strategies that you know are weak. Maybe you need to stand up to–or acquiesce–an administrator or parent who has been making your life difficult all year long. You might be desperate to change the way you structure your time or prioritize your tasks and goals.
So in light of this, I present the “Not Waiting for a New Year” resolution. What do you want to change NOW in your teaching practice? What thing is so important that you can’t afford to write off this year’s kids and wait for a fresh start in the fall? What’s really pressing for you?
Is there something you want to change in the way you manage your classroom? A different teaching philosophy you want to embrace? A deeply held truth that you’ve lost sight of and want to focus on once again? Or even something small and simple that you know will make a big difference in how you (or your students) feel at the end of the day?
So no matter whether you are a reflector or a planner, take these great ideas and run with them in a way that works for you!