|at Two Writing Teachers!|
I've spent the past two days flitting around my classroom like a nesting mother bird, weaving the strands that will hold our community together and tucking in special soft fluff to make it comfortable. After sharing two rooms with my colleague last year, I'm so excited to truly have my own space this year!
There's still so much work to do before the kids come next Wednesday, but I'm feeling encouraged, inspired, and confident that I'll be ready for them. To make our year together more special, meaningful, and purposeful, I have some big (and little changes) in mind, including:
- sending a postcard to each student before school starts (almost done with this!)
- setting up the room with a cozy meeting space for whole-group discussions and open work spaces (no assigned seats) for independent & group work time
- using random & purposeful group & partner selection methods more often since there won't be assigned seats
- organizing periodic lunch bunches with students
- digitizing routines by putting up QR codes near the door for classroom sign-out (a simple Google form with name & destination, since the form will put in a timestamp!) and book sign-out (Booksource Classroom Organizer)
- not having a classroom management "system" beyond my classroom expectations, but having conversations with individual students and working with them to develop personalized interventions as needed
- having an ELL parent night (an idea from last year, but I let it get lost!)
- being more purposeful with goal-setting early in the year, and incorporating English skills goals as well as academic / life skills goals
- implementing growth portfolios early in the year and having the students maintain them throughout the year
- digitizing our reading goal sheets (based on Penny Kittle's from Book Love, but my students each have their own) as Google spreadsheets (thanks for the idea, LeeAnn!)
- using Goodreads and blogging with my Intermediate students (instead of just my Advanced students, as I did last year)
- starting the year with a mini-unit about effective learning and being a community of learners, using the awesome lesson ideas in Larry Ferlazzo's new book, Self-Driven Learning
- doing a "slice of life" unit early in the year, with excerpts from The House on Mango Street and real slices as mentor texts, so students can be more purposeful when slicing independently for the rest of the year
- revamping my grading to focus on mastery: 5% independent reading, 5% vocabulary development, 5% academic skills, 85% summative assessments in all areas (I will still post progress on practice work, but it will be weighted 0%!)
- implementing Genius Time with at least my Advanced class, and maybe Intermediates too
- using Evernote for my reading & writing conference records (I started this in the spring, and it was wonderful!), while simplifying the student writing conference record into a goal sheet and incorporating a column for skill goals into their reading goal spreadsheets
- encouraging reading & curiosity while connecting with authors & other classes through our new class Twitter account!
Of course, there are also innumerable tiny changes and adjustments spinning in my head, but those are some of the big ones. If you have experience with any of those topics, please share your ideas and feedback! Also, I'd love to hear what new ideas are tumbling through your brain this year!