Friday, January 1, 2016

Stop Procrastinating! The Best Way To Boost Your Class Now

Stop Procrastinating! The Best Way To Boost Your Class Now With New Year Resolutions


Hi, Teachers!

January can be lovely for some and tough for others. The kids are coming back after a long break, and you have to re-teach and re-model a lot of things. Personally, I LOVE January. I view it as a chance to tighten up all of the things I wasn't completely pleased with after the first six weeks of school. I'm spending the first week back reteaching what I know my kids need to be strong with for our class community to be strong. I'll also be spending some time goal-setting and making action plans with my kids.

During my second year of teaching, my year was not off to the start I had hoped for. In January when we arrived back in school, I completely changed things. I had a huge rule generation discussion with my class, and we changed our class rules. We based them off of hopes and dreams. This action transformed my entire classroom community and greatly lowered my stress level. Now, I do this at the beginning of the year. It really helps. However, I'm looking forward to continuing this type of work with my students to improve their community even more. Click here to get your hands on the template I am going to use in my classroom this year... for free!!

Stop Procrastinating! The Best Way To Boost Your Class Now With New Year Resolutions

When using this resource in your classroom, I recommend that you connect a child’s hopes and dreams to his/her school growth so far this year. What does that child want to accomplish in class? Is it academic or social/emotional? I also recommend that you discuss the importance of making a plan to help each child reach his or her goals.  THIS is the piece of the puzzle that so many people forget about! What good is a goal if you don't know how to get there!? For example, if your student wants to improve her reading fluency, she might try to accomplish this by asking her partner to coach her during partner reading time, or she might choose to record herself and listen to her own reading. If a student wants to make more friends, he might do this by asking others to play with him at recess. I suggest brainstorming possible goals and plans to reach those goals as a class before sending students off to write their goals and plans of action.

After new hopes have been established for the New Year, you might spend some time in the following days revising your class rules. Ask students what they need to reach their hopes and dreams. Do they need to add, change, or remove one of the class rules? Do you need to discuss what students need each rule to mean now with their new goals in place? Connecting these goals to your class constitution and letting students drive this experience is powerful work that motivates students to make good choices and be self-directed. I can't wait to do this!

If you're interested in reading more about this, check out this really amazing Responsive Classroom article. Think about this through the lens of doing this work in January rather than September.


On a more personal note, I'm finishing up my lesson plans today, and then I'm working on mapping out my big goals for the year in my personal life and my work life. I want to spend some serious time on myself today. Here's my resolution...


Haha! That makes me laugh. That's not really my real resolution though. I'm still working on mine, but it's going to most likely involve the school-home connection since I've been working so hard to build that up this year. We shall see! What are your New Year's Resolutions in school or in your personal life?  Comment below!

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