Tuesday, 5 August 2014

New (School) Year Resolutions: August is a teacher's January

Setting Goals with Intention: Students First
Before Labor Day weekend, I get to see their faces.  Those smiles, still in sundresses and flip flops.  They are the little people who will fill my world with wonder for the next two years.  Putting students first continues to be the most important priority for teachers.  All our intentions and motivations at the beginning of the school year need to be about developing a relationship with each child.  Getting photos of each child with their favorite book is a task I hope to complete at Open House.
Eating an Elephant One Bite at a Time: Mapping Out the Year 
There are so many decisions to make.  So many teachers online are sharing back to school routines.  These are critical for promoting independence and collaboration in the classroom.  But, I feel an urgency to get the long term planning and goal setting out of my head and onto some kind of document.  Otherwise, my head is going to EXPLODE! Hopefully, I can sit down with several of my colleagues so we can pool our thoughts to focus on the essentials across the year.  Since I am trying to use Evernote this year, I am wondering if I could take a screen shot of a calendar, import it into Skitch, add notes as needed throughout the year.  There are so many ideas and visions swimming around in my head.  I need to remember to build in a gradual release model in my planning for everything.

Integration of Content: the Old and the New
Its always helpful to look over the curriculum with fresh eyes.  Of course routines are going to take first priority.  There are artful ways to do this well.  What have I done in the past, and how can my students explore the content and processes in new and exciting ways?  I'm excited about creating an email "turn in bin."   Creating an email for my class to use to send all digital assignments is a practice Kristin Ziemke introduced to me at a Reading Workshop.  This and many other tips can be found in the book she coauthored with Stephanie Harvey, Anne Goudvis, and Katie Muhtaris,  Connecting Comprehension and Technology http://www.heinemann.com/products/E04703.aspx  
New Year's Resolutions:  August is a teacher's January
Each summer I spend my August longing for a magic recipe to mix the lovely pace of summer with the insanity of a productive school year.  Keeping up on posts on my blog goes well for September.  But, all of a sudden its March and I am madly blogging with the Two Writing Teachers for the Daily Slice of Life Challenge.  Instead of blogging for myself this year, I'm going to try blogging with my students.  Hopefully, first graders can see the power of writing for an audience starting with their parents.  Next, we will try and communicate with authors and illustrators.  Or, maybe we can even try and correspond through questions to experts.  It's another school year.  I'm fresh and ready to learn right along side my first grade kiddos.  

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