It is that time again (ahhh how does it happen so fast?!) We know many of our fellow teachers and friends have already begun.. To those colleagues we wish you a joyful, honest, and growth-filled school year!
This summer was full. On a global and national level, it was full of pain, confusion, and fear. There is also Olympic excitement. There are protests continuing on for the Dakota Access Pipeline… The list goes on.
For us personally and professionally, the summer was full for those aforementioned reasons, and also because we traveled a lot, went to a few conferences, and listened a lot. We see summer as an integral part of educator reflection.
As we head into the school year, we want to share with you the kinds of questions we ask ourselves to prepare for the amazing humans we will foster community with in a few short weeks.
This will be a multi-part post as we think about the coming year in two sections: Things we want to keep and things we want to change.
So here is a peek at the.. THINGS WE ARE KEEPING !
Talking about the news. (We could go on and on about the importance of this, and the privilege we have as teachers at our institution to do so, but for now, just know we think it is EXCEPTIONALLY IMPORTANT). Along these lines we will continue to:
Experiential Learning and Simulations
We will continue to do our anarchy, republicanism, totalitarianism simulations, along with the many other simulations we do in our classroom. We always go back and think of how to do them better, and this year we might even have a couple new ones we created this summer. Regardless, we know this is a key way our students get invested, have fun, feel challenged.. And learn!
We will also be keeping the reflections that we require our students to do both written and frequently verbally as well. One of our all time favorite prompts for pretty much any kind of reflection which will continue to use is.. "I used to think… but now I am thinking.." This prompt is gold. Trust us and try it!
Practicing routines, revisiting routines, and having students name and clarify what they should look like/feel like/sound like.. Along with naming why we have them.
This works as the foundation of our classroom management and the community norms in our classroom. We work hard on our classroom covenant (see blog post here) and students having ownership over the space and expectations is so beneficial for all of us.
A (fake) class pet.
Call us nutty, but we love the energy and the life that an inanimate object brings into the classroom. From inside jokes to true companionship, we find real love and memories form around our pet! This year we have a new class pet (a bird!) brought back from the DR who only understands Spanish. Let the language immersion begin! It might be a mess… we will keep you posted!
And those, among other things, naturally, are some key pieces of things we have done in the past that we have re-thought and are intentionally keeping in our wheelhouse this upcoming year. Let us know below what staple things you are keeping in your classroom or community that work and that you love. They might just be added to our next post about things we are going to modify for the upcoming year!