In one week I return to my amazing classroom full-time. Done with a messed up maternity leave and eager to be back, yet sad to leave our little baby at home. Being at home has let me not only snuggle 4 kids any time I want, but it has also allowed me to reflect on small changes I want to incorporate into my own routine when I get back to my other kids. Perhaps you will find some ideas to shake things up a bit as well.
- Be a PD ninja. So often we think of PD as a whole day affair but PD can also come in the form of a really great 5 minutes. So why not print out an article and slap it on the bathroom door? Why not forward a link to the whole staff? Why not start a PD related discussion at lunch? I love the little moments of learning that can be found in a day.
- Ask your students. I swear this should be on my non-existent business card. My students have had an incredible sub while I was gone so the first thing I plan on doing is asking them what they loved about her way of teaching. I love stealing ideas that have worked in my room already, we should always embrace our chance to grow from others.
- Incorporate a talk break. My students really struggle with transitions, they even blogged about it. Yet instead of beating them up about it, I plan on incorporating a mini-talk break before we transition. Students get a chance to switch their brains and also just get it out. A few minutes invested in talking will hopefully pay off the whole day,
- Seek mindfulness. This article on mindfulness really made me think of how much it is needed in my room. While I have yet to figure out where it will fit, I am going to make it fit somewhere. I think we all need a moment to just be content and quiet as we tackle our learning.
- Encourage unsupported reflection. I get to do conferences the week I am back and as always they are student-led. However, this time rather than having students fill out a questionnaire, I created a reflection sheet for them. I really want to see where they are not just as thinkers, but also how they will express themselves. How deep will they go in their conference when it isn’t just a fill in the blank sheet?
- Make more connections. We got really busy before winter break and then I went into the hospital and everything got a bit chaotic. Making global connections was not our first priority. So the first week I am back we have 2 mystery skypes and a literacy share in honor of World Read Aloud Day. I have also reached out to a 5th grade in Australia to start a collaboration with them.
- Start a continents project. Geography seems to be the loser in our curriculum with very little time to figure out where we are in the world. We will therefore be researching the continents and learning about the world during our resource block, hello Twitter connections!, what we will be doing I have not decided, after all, I need to ask my students.
- Give back. I was inspired by this article on a 6 year old getting books for homeless children in NYC to think about what my own students could accomplish. We will therefore be starting a service learning project as well, once again proving that even children can change the world.
I can’t wait.