Sunday, April 27, 2014

End the Year the Way You Want to Start the Next

It's good to end the year the way you want to start the next.  You've learned a lot as you taught your students this year--you've learned about strategies that worked, and strategies you want to change for the better.

The end of the year is a good time to turn the page, and start fresh--a time to practice what you hope to do next year.

With that in mind, answer these questions as you make the shift?

1. What was your overall school demeanor like?  Are you satisfied or would you like to make a few changes?

2. How about the weekly and daily classroom routines?  Is there room to tighten up the routines, and make the transitions more fluid?

3. What about your lessons?  Are the lessons too short or too long?  Are you talking too much?  Are students getting the quiet, concentration time they need to learn as they work alone or with partners and small groups?

4. Engagement?  Are all students engaged?  Is there someone you've really wanted to inspire more?  What can you do differently at the end of the year so that all the students leave feeling like they had their best school year yet?

5. Balance?  Have you worked too hard this year, or have you been a bit short when it comes to the time you've devoted to your work?  Try out some new routines to aim for a healthy home-school balance?

6. Is the environment clean and inviting?  Before it gets too hot, it's a good time to assess the learning environment.  Throw out ripped, torn, and outdated items.  Get rid of items you haven't used in years.  Work to reorganize the books, play materials, art supplies, and learning materials.  Organize the items in the ways you would like to use them next year.

Now that the break is over, it's a good time to start the end with your eyes focused a bit on the new routines, efforts, and organization you'll bring to your class next year.  This will invigorate a positive ending for you and your students.