Look Back to Look Forward
As another school year closes, I thought I’d share a few reflections. I find it’s important to write them when the year is still fresh on my mind then return to them later in the summer (after getting to rest and recharge) when I am feeling re-energized to act upon them. My thoughts for now (and later):
- Kids are so much more capable than we give them credit for. Let’s raise our expectations next year.
- When engaged in discussion, we have habits that can stifle student participation. Validating phrases such as “very good” and “that’s great” can be interpreted as “correct” answers. Plus, if a student response is not followed up by a teacher’s validating phrase, how might that affect their participation the next time? Let’s take steps to recognize our habits and avoid validating responses during an open-ended discussion.
- Observing teachers teaching is invaluable. We need to observe each other more to learn how others do it. If there was one way to teach, everyone would do it that way. Let’s see other ways to teach because it will help build our teacher toolbox.
- Backwards planning and unit planning is crucial. At one point or another, we all struggle with day-to-day planning. But the more we move towards planning with the end in mind, the better we will be able to adjust for our kids and context. It’s easier to take a detour when you know where you want to end up.
- Social media. People can put a fancy label on them (I see you Professional Learning Network) but twitter chats can enlighten, develop, and energize participants. We may often find ourselves on an island in school – isolated and on our own. I have learned about many unique learning experiences other educators provide for their students through social media and am inspired by those ideas. The chats are a form of professional development. I was reluctant at first but now appreciate them. Take the plunge and join once a week. I’ll be there. The #122edchat, #masterychat, and #waledchat are some of my favorites!