Teachers: The 3 Questions to Guide Your Planning for Next School Year.

Whether you are beginning, at the middle, or near the end of your Summer vacation, chances are you’ve let yourself think a little about next school year. If you haven’t it’s no crime, but you are now given that you clicked on this.

Since planning your curriculum canned, curated, or a combination is such a simple feat (ha) I’m going to try to make it simple for you to organize your thoughts around what your classroom and students need for next year.

Something teachers come into my office with a LOT, especially given the culture around reducing paper, is the question of how much work to post online. They want to know if they’re using devices too little or too much and if they are accommodating all of their students by doing either. What they’re really asking is, what does good teaching look like in 2019? And are they doing it “right”?

The great news we all have our educational context; style, resources, background, content – you know the deal, so I can’t give you an exact answer. But we are all here for students – and to help them learn, grow, and succeed. I can’t claim to be an expert on anything but when I sit down to plan, and think about what will engage, challenge, and excite the students of my room – here is what I ask myself.

Am I Providing Learning Opportunity Beyond our Classroom?

More so, am I providing opportunities that extend through the classroom walls for flexible learning options beyond brick and mortar? Why You Ask? Well I’ve decided to consult myself as a student to answer your question.

Can we read about the Salem Witch Trials, answer comprehension questions, and discuss Abigail Williams’ moral compass through Google Classroom? Sure. You want to take a walk around Salem Virtually while doing so? Duh – I get to move. (Check it Out)

Can I recite to you the Constitution? Potentially, while consulting Google… Would I like to play a game where I work in a law office and have to assign different characters crimes to lawyers based on their knowledge of the constitution to earn points against a clock? Yes, because I’m a 12 year old at heart. (Do I have a Right Game)

Also – could I pay attention to you speaking while Joey Stickney picks at something in his teeth and then stares at it repetitively? I could try. But I could also go over the notes again from my quiet bedroom at home via your Explain Everything Video just to be safe.
Catch my drift?

Am I expecting my students to Create or Curate?

It’s proven that creation is the future – and it requires skills that our society needs and our hearts crave. Expecting students to regurgitate is not only a disgusting concept – it is lower level. Is it hard for you to imagine how to create in your content area? No fear.

Create a Product Shark Tank Style: This assignment can involve Math, Public Speaking, Writing, and Science. In a more guided way I’ve had students create their own subscription box service like HelloFresh, FabFitFun Boxes, or Dollar Shave Club. Check out the Assignment Here.

Create an Exhibit: Curation isn’t just for history – it’s artistic – it’s research based – and it’s higher ordered. Give students a Vocabulary word and Curate all of the meanings, symbols, literary & historical references, and more. I have a Guide to Exhibit Creating for Any Content Here

Am I asking students to Reflect?

What lesson have you learned that didn’t come through reflection? I probably shouldn’t have eaten that fried dough before the tilt-a-wirl. I probably shouldn’t have gotten a tattoo of a Chinese Word without making sure it translated properly. I could go on. But really – if your kids don’t have built in opportunities to reflect, chances are what they learn won’t be there for long.

Provide reflection opportunities in written and verbal form. This may be in front of the class, a pair and share, or an exit ticket. But make them, and make them ahead of time. It will be worth it.

Have students keep work in a portfolio to reflect on later. Not only is seeing their growth important, but being able to put into words how they’ve progressed is also imperative to learning.

Reflection on behavior and decision making is a life skill that can impact grades, success rates, and more importantly self regulation. By allowing students to see how their emotions connected to their decisions and therefore their results you can teach mindfulness that can be carried into their adult lives.
Engaging Reflection Activities for Students

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