What Went Well
- Independent Reading Time: I made the commitment after reading The Book Whisperer and The Reading Zone to set aside 30 minutes of choice reading time for students. The results were amazing. Students became readers and learned what kind of books they enjoyed, how to pick out books, and how to get lost in a book. I wrote more about this change in a previous post, Devouring Books.
- Genius Hour: I learned more about my students’ strengths and talents through this hour a week commitment. I was really scared to try this out, worried the freedom would be too much for some students. Instead, students learned how to self-manage time, self-manage research, plan presentations, and learned from each other. Did we have some struggles, yes. But students learned more about themselves as a learner through these struggles.
- Blogging: This is the second year I have used Kidblog with my class. Students now know how to write for an audience instead of just for the teacher. When they write, they sound like they are actually talking to someone. The authentic audience blogging provides cannot be replaced. My students are better writers because of it and it has transferred to their writing in other areas.
Areas to Improve/Goals
- Growth Mindset: I had many students this year, especially in math, get discouraged and down on themselves. They thought it is all about having the right answer, or not being good at math. Some gave up during math time. I did not do enough to address this. I plan on using Making Number Talks Matter next year to address the sense-making some students lack in math. If anyone has an awesome resource for helping students establish a growth-mindset, please recommend in the comment section below!
- Kindness/Repect: Many students had a lot of baggage they brought to school with them. Because of this, some would lash out at others. You know how we tend to take it out in the ones we love the most? Yep, that is our classroom this year. We are a small school and most students have been together since kindergarten. How do you establish, despite the fact you might be boiling inside, to still treat others around you with the kindness and respect they deserve. Please advise in the comments below!
There are many things I hope to keep doing well and many things I want to do better next year. Blogging about these issues helps me digest and reflect. It also allows me to document my thinking to refer back to as I plan for next year. I would love to here from you. How do you plan for the next year? What process works for you?