Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Fresh Start in the Classroom for 2016?

I'm always a sucker for the New Year's Resolution: I'll get fit this year, I'll save money, take a trip, I will be a better me.  Clean slate. Fresh start. But it's not really a fresh start when I return to school tomorrow. In fact, I'm just approaching the halfway mark in what I think of as a  marathon that started last summer.  In December, my elementary students didn't neatly wrap up their thematic units-rather they're in the midst of messy exploration of biodiversity and conservation, and what defines a family while working to express thoughts and opinions with new language.   So, I'm setting aside thoughts of resolutions and am simply going to reflect on where my students and I are now-what's going well, and what needs some attention.  I feel like I'm hitting my stride and I want to keep going, so...

  • This summer I tossed the textbook and replaced it with units that I have written centered on themes and can-dos.  The students focus on language function and developing global mindset-asking questions and exploring their answers using the language.  It rocks. The children like it and so do I.
  • The students are slowly building bridges with children from other parts of the world via pen pals.  I'd like to add more by using Mystery Skype and collaborating on projects virtually.
  • In August I vowed to grade less and plan more-so I gave up homework. As we start 2016, the children  are still making progress and I feel freer than ever.
  •  I want to create more IPAs. I think I'm assessing the three modes separately too much, and I'm working to find the best way to do that with 9-10 year olds.
 So, where are you at? What's going well as we approach mid-year?  What tweaks are you making to your plan?

By the way,  I am still aiming to convert the clothes hanger back into a treadmill-it's a whole new year, after all.

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