Days are getting shorter, stacks of paper are getting taller, and for some reason, you still can’t figure out where your markers went. This can only mean one thing: the school year is in full swing. If you started this school year strong, the key will be sustaining your classroom’s momentum into the holidays. It’ll be tempting to start counting down the days until the next three-day weekend. You deserve them, but keep your eye on the prize. Every moment in your classroom counts.
This is a great time of year to start reflecting on the progress your students have made already. We spend all day providing positive reinforcement and praise, but I encourage you to take a step back and look at the forest instead of the trees. Here’s one way: when you log into Kiddom and click on a student’s individual performance, the first thing you see are the skills in development. I recommend you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and investigate where your students are the strongest. What skills are they absolutely killing? What standards have they not only demonstrated mastery, but also seem to want to explore further? Take the time to show your students you’ve noticed their accomplishments and growth.
Your students aren’t the only ones that have done something wonderful this year. Maybe you tried to implement a new classroom structure and it’s running smoothly. Or maybe last night’s math lesson was seriously “on fleek.” Something you’re doing this year is amazing and you should take a few minutes to bathe in that glory. You’re a teacher and you’re serving your students: that is fantastic.
Mix Things Up
When I was in the classroom, I was about routine. But every once and awhile, I switched things up. This might be the perfect time for you to try this as well. Not only should you add a little spice in your life, but in your students’ lives as well. If you’re bored, they probably are too.
One of my favorite things to do was to let my students take control and observe where their curiosity takes them. This is a great way to explore a new side of your students, as well as their learning styles. Do they choose to learn by reading? Would they prefer to watch YouTube videos? Or, do they want to sit around in a circle and ask questions? This provides an incredible opportunity to learn how you can personalize learning experiences for them in the future. Once you have discovered how students learn best Kiddomallows you to tailor lessons that meet your students’ unique skills and interests.
The best thing I ever did to improve my teaching craft was to put a brief hold on letting students into my classroom during lunch. Between 12:15 PM and 12:45 PM, my classroom was an educator-only space, providing me with the time I needed to check in with colleagues.
During this time, we casually bounced ideas off each other. We also talked about shared students: what was going on in their lives? What should I have been informed about? What happened during 3rd period? Without these relationships, I wouldn’t have devised science lab reports that incorporated the same vocabulary that my students were using to make outlines in English. Collaborating on interdisciplinary lessons helped us show students that the skills they are learning in the classroom can be used across many subject areas and everyday life. Ultimately, this provided both my colleagues and myself with a safe space to bond and learn more about each other.
Some problems you just can’t control. And if you spend every moment of your life trying to solve for it, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Take a deep breath and move on. There are things you can control, and those things should always take priority.
Use that energy to hone your craft. Make this fall the best grading period yet. Kiddom can help you find new and exciting lessons while tracking student progress. Before you know it it will be winter break and you can enjoy your time off, because you know you are ready to face the new year!
Guest Post by: Liz E.