A few weeks ago George Couros wrote a blog called Why Teachers Love Teaching (As Shared by Teachers). Sometimes, it is easy for us to stray from thinking about why we were originally called to this amazing profession. Especially, when external mandates, testing, behavior issues, minutia, etc. can permeate our everyday routine. After you read the post and tweets, ask yourself, why do you love what you do?
We know that embedding reflective experiences for our students will help them to grow and learn, but how often do we carve out time ourselves to truly reflect on our own practices? The following article "44 Prompts Merging Reflective Teaching with Bloom's Taxonomy" provides a series of reflective questions from the perspectives of students, teachers, and administrators. Choose one of the questions and take some time to reflect upon how you can learn and grow yourself.
What comes to mind when you think of the word joy? How many students do you think are able to find joy in their experiences in school? The other day when I shadowed a first grade student and we participated in a science experiment. The excitement of the students when they noticed their gnome's shadows shifted over time was palpable; to be honest, it was joyful. Check out this blog entry called "Joy is an Intervention." Think about moments of joy that you have seen your students experience in your classrooms. Reflect upon the blog and how joy can be an intervention for students.
As educators, we are constantly looking to grow and improve our practice. Sometimes, we may even have new ideas that lead us to want to take some risks with our practice. When this happens, we often go through a process that involves staring down some potential barriers and working through or around them. Check out the following blog by George Couros regarding 3 Questions to Help Leverage Barriers in Education.
What is an area in your practice that you have tried to take a risk and how did you overcome those barriers?
This can be a challenging year for us as we see a glimmer of hope that Spring is close with increased temperatures up to 50 degrees from one day, only to be met with the temperatures dropping down 20 more degrees the next day. If you have felt a little down the past week or so, I assure you, that is completely normal and part of the natural ebb and flow of the school year. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Will you let the constant pace and routine wear you down? Will you let external mandates that are out of our control, such as MCAS stress you out? My mantra the last month, where I've had a work and/or home commitment every night is to just take it one day at a time, to take deep breaths, and to be really mindful in the moments with my family.
Here is another article to reflect upon related to self-care and well-being by George Couros: 4 Ideas to Help Improve Teacher Well-Being. Reflect upon which of the 4 strategies would work best for you.
We have spent a lot of time this year focused on conversations about SEL for students, but at this point in the school year, it is important for all of you to also take some time for your own self-care. We can't take care of our students if we don't take care of ourselves. Check out this quick list of self-care advice or this article "Why it's so hard for teachers to take care of themselves (and 4 ways to start). Reflect upon what you will do to focus on your own self-care this next week or month.
When we look to increase student achievement, one approach is to create opportunities that where they are highly engaged in their learning. The integration of technology is an approach that can open up new worlds to our students, which leads to engagement and heightened interest. Attached is a brief article on this topic. As you read it ask yourself how and why technology integration can boost student engagement and achievement? What types of technology integration have offered your students a window into the world?
Differentiation is a teaching strategy that all teachers do in order to meet the needs of the diverse learners in their classrooms. Here is a link to a short article and video that speaks to the different ways to differentiate to meet the needs of our ELL students.
Reflection: What can you do differently in your classrooms to better meet the needs of our ELL students?
Over the last few years, it has been great to see technology integrated seamlessly in the classrooms that it helps to enhance learning, rather than having the focus on the tool itself. The following article by Matt Lynch’s reviews 7 areas that he feels technology is impacting education.
Reflect upon the list he shared and how many of these areas you have integrated technology into your own classrooms. Are there any areas that you can still try out this year?
CASEL has created a SEL framework for schools to use. It is comprised of 5 core competencies: self awareness, self management, responsible decision making, relationship skills, and social awareness. This week we will focus on responsible decision making. According to CASEL it is defined as:
“The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.”
Linked is an article on incorporating responsible decision making into your classrooms.
Reflect upon how you can provide your students with a variety of options for submitting assignments.