Normally around this time, I would be completely consumed with end-of-year procedures. Don’t get me wrong, I am having moments where I wonder how I will get done all that needs to be completed before my classroom door closes for the last time this school year. But I have learned over the years to not stress about it, because it will get done. Also, I am still in spring cleaning mode (a.k.a. purging) and that has helped. But what I have really been mulling over the last few months is what I want the next school year to look like, both in my classroom and in my teaching. Reflecting on my classroom is easy enough. I just recreate a floor plan using takeaways from this year of what worked and what did not. Reflections on my teaching however, now that's another story.
In my personal life, I have a vision board that highlights where I want my life to go in terms of my hopes, my dreams, my inspirations, and my goals. It is a roadmap of sorts. It helps when I have gotten off track and need to be re-directed. I decided that for my teaching journey for the upcoming year, I would use this same device. Little did I know that this would become a project! The easy part was reflecting on this past year and looking ahead to what the future might bring. The difficult part for me was crafting the board and finding images that represented my vision.
magazines for images and text
backing board (I chose an inexpensive memo board)
scrapbooking materials (for those of you who are really handy and creative)
Before I started looking for my images, I needed to have a sense of direction. I quickly jotted down some ideas to look for as I searched through magazines. During this school year it became evident that I was on a Dr. Seuss kick. My posts on close reading using How the Grinch Stole Christmas and then later The Lorax received such good response it seemed I was onto something. So, it was obvious to me that The Cat in the Hat and other Dr. Seuss characters would be my new theme for the new school year. Even though sixth grade students try to act older than they are, they are still kids. I wanted to put some silly fun and laughter back into learning, and who better to help with that than the characters from Dr. Seuss.
The Cat from The Cat in The Hat puts me in a happy place and is a dominant image on my vision board. I am looking forward to my new group of students and the journey of exploring Dr. Seuss!
I often consider myself a dinosaur when it comes to technology, but now it is time for a change. I am leaving the Ice Age behind and embracing this new world of wonder. I am planning to attend a couple of inexpensive workshops through my teacher's association this summer that focus on using technology in the classroom. Stay tuned for the evolution!
I want to make sure that I keep a Smile on my face as I look for great teacher deals over the summer that do not cost an arm and a leg. I also want to remember to take care of myself during the day — it is so easy to become overwhelmed. (Keep calm and teach!) Another thing I am doing is looking at the MINDUP Curriculum and brain-focused strategies for learning. I am still on a search to engage all learners, especially the reluctant ones!
Pearls of Wisdom — Have fun and be creative with the reflection process. Think about how you want to evolve as a teacher and let it shine through!
This is just a start. Do I expect that I will have to make adjustments? Of course! What is your reflection process to gain insight for the next school year? Please share what works! I love hearing from you about ideas that make all of our lives easier!