New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you love them or think they’re lame, you can’t deny that they’re here to stay. There’s just something about the calendar changing that makes us feel like we get a fresh start and a chance to improve.
While I have my own list of resolutions for my personal life, I wanted to share two of the resolutions that I’m taking with me into my classroom. I hope that by publishing them here, it will be easier for me to hold myself accountable and stick to these goals, even when the semester gets crazy.
1. Appreciate the little things.
Earlier this year, somebody I follow on Instagram posted something that made me stop and think. I forget the exact wording, but it was along the lines of: we only have one school year to enjoy our students. It sounds simple, but that’s something that we usually forget about in the day-to-day craziness that is being a teacher. It’s easier for us to get overwhelmed at everything on our to-do list, or upset with ourselves over a lesson that turned out to be a dud, or annoyed with a chatty class, than for us to appreciate what a gift we have each day. We have ONE SCHOOL YEAR with our class. That’s one school year to get to know them and all of the things that make them unique and amazing.
Going back to school, I want to be more mindful of this. I want to stop and be grateful each time my students make me laugh, smile, or flat-out crack up (my class this year is hilarious). I want to take time to savor all of their witty remarks, thought-provoking observations, and intelligent questions. I plan on starting a One Line a Day journal to help me with this, and I think that this resolution will help me be more positive and grateful in my personal life as well.
2. Be more meaningful and intentional in my lesson design and class time.
To me, the second semester always seems more hectic than the first. The kids are way more comfortable with me and with each other; we are in full swing when it comes to teaching academic content; and the impending state tests make everyone in the building go a little crazy. This year, I want to combat that with a few well-designed units that will hopefully make what we are learning more purposeful in the eyes of my students.
I can’t go into too much detail here (mainly because I’m still figuring it out, whoops!), but I want to improve the inquiry project that I have my students complete during our study of the Holocaust. Last year, they picked a topic related to the Holocaust or to WWII and chose a way to showcase what they learned. This year, I want to take it one step further and put together a mini-museum! I think turning their showcase of learning into something that other classes, administration, and families are invited to will make the experience much more meaningful.
Another idea I’m playing around with us doing a Shark Tank simulation during our study of persuasive texts. I’m not entirely sure what this will look like, but I love the idea of students identifying something they are passionate about, and defending it in front of a panel of other people. The group I have this year LOVES to talk, and I think channeling their energy in a productive way will be really fun, and teach them some useful debate and discussion skills!
And that’s it! I’m keeping it short and simple this year in the hopes that only having two resolutions makes it more likely that I will actually achieve them.
Do you have any resolutions for your classroom or teaching? If so, I’d love to hear them!