Starting the School Year Right
Day one is in the books – congratulations!!
In the spirit of starting off the school year on the right foot, I thought I would share with you this infographic by @jenniferlagarde, called 27 Ways To Make This the Best Year Ever. It’s a great infographic that uses Thinglink, so it is an interactive infographic 🙂
In the spirit of the “first Days Back”, I thought that I would share my personal reflections on her 27 suggestions… some might not be as thrilling as others but its worth the ol’ college try, right? 😉
Here it goes…
27 Ways to Make This the Best Year Ever
(1) Passion – I am passionate about making this new experience a growing and learning opportunity, and I am passionate about working with a great team of people to make it happen. I am passionate about science and exploring and learning new things. And I am passionate about kids.
(2) Reach – I plan on continuing to use the ever-growing network of professionals and educators that I have connected with personally and through social media to help to support my learning and to share and collaborate.
(3) Ditch the desk! – I don’t spend a lot of time here anyways, so easy one to check off.
(4) Share your story – we live in an ever changing connected world, where everyone has a story to tell. My small goal this year will be to have your children share their stories through various means and methods. The idea is to share the learning experience and to share their growth with not only each other but with the world!
(5) Get to know your students – well, of course! I plan to spend the first week (maybe even first two) sharing, telling personal stories, playing, chatting and getting to know them. Also, I plan on sharing my experiences and background with them as well.
(6) Play – part of our school FISH! philosophy. Check and check.
(7) Don’t be afraid to be silly – I think that working in a middle school, this is inherent to survival. If you can’t laugh at yourself and make yourself vulnerable, its difficult to expect the same from the students. It helps with #5 and #6…
(8) Reflect – we learn when we reflect. I will try to model and encourage reflection as much as I can with all my students to help promote critical thinkers who are reflective and ask that ever so important question in science: WHY?
(9) Organize – I honestly believe I am 89% “super-organizer” and 11% “its an organized mess”… I prefer to be in the majority most of the time, however.
(10) Make time for making – I think this speaks to allowing time for me AND my students to learn and explore. Setting aside time in the day or the week to allow students to create something is an awesome approach to developing those “21st century skills” along with following true to the Inspiring Education direction as well.
(11) Share – I think I tell my oldest daughter this every 2 minutes, and my youngest daughter every 2 seconds. Sharing makes the “learning machine” work. When we can, we will share both in the class and with the community in responsible, respectful and meaningful ways.
(12) Allow yourself to be blown away – I think this comes first from being connected and open to the staff in my school as well as to the students. Locally, we have some incredibly talented and incredible educators that do amazing things with kids each and every day. Connecting with these fine folk and growing personally would be a great part of this year for me.
(13) Take time to listen to your students – Step away from the keyboard. Place the pencil down. Stop. Simply listen.
(14) Empower students through choice – When working with the students of all educational needs, choices offer pathways for creativity and for ingenuity. Choices can also lead to tough learning and learning through mistakes.
(15) Be brave – (gulp!) A tough one. I am currently reading a book called Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown. It is actually all about vulnerability, and how to learn to be vulnerable in a strong way. I am very excited to continue reading… lets see how it goes 🙂
(16) Be awesome / Be the teacher you would choose for your child – That is a tough one but a goo one! Each teacher does this in his/her own way. For me, its about keeping as current as I can, putting the needs of the students first and having fun. Everything else will find its place (I’m thinking big now, as its the start of the year… ask me again in December – haha!)
(17) Strut your stuff – I don’t think that teachers are particularity good at this. We like to do our best for our students, but when it comes to being vulnerable and open to others, we are very quick to shy away or hide. I have the opportunity to work with a great staff and students and we need to encourage each other to share more and be proud of what we have been able to accomplish.
(18) Ask hard questions and help find answers – Some of us are certainly better at this than others! I really have no idea where I fit on the spectrum of asking the “hard questions”.
(19) Ask for and offer help when needed – Abso-FREAKING-lutely I will!! I have no shame in saying “boy, I really have no idea what to do here. (Insert expert name here), would you show / tell / explain this to me please?” I think I will get a t-shirt made 😉
(20) Teach students not subjects – I am proud to say that I think this is an area of strength for me. I can certainly grow more to learn how to better do this with my students, but I believe that I am on the right track!
(21) Choose kind always – Perfect point as a teacher and parent role model. Choose kind ALWAYS.
(22) Mentor / Be someones superhero – Well, superhero I am not, but I am always certainly willing and open to mentoring any new staff, or even to mentor a students with a particularly hard topic or part of their school / life. Building these relationships can help to strengthen all those involved. Everyone has something to contribute and to learn from.
(23) Grow – Something tells me that this will not be a difficult task to do this year…
(24) Say thank you and mean it – and don’t forget to say “you are welcome” as well! “Yup” or “no worries” do not mean the same thing. Period.
(25) Be infections / Spread your genius / Lead – Everyone has the ability to lead. In middle school we all work together to support one another and to encourage our students and staff to be innovative and confident leaders in their field of expertise.
(26) Be the change you want to see – How will I be the change that I want to see?? Hmmmm…..
And finally, (27) When all else fails, just dance – Good idea. 🙂