The time of sun-dappled lazy afternoons, cookouts and beach vacations is almost over for another year. It’s time to dust off your satchel and mortarboard and prepare for back to school.
So what can you do to make this school year better than ever? Check out our top tips:
1. Reflect on the last school year – the good, the bad and the ugly
The pause between the end of the old and beginning of the new is a fantastic opportunity to take a step back and learn from our successes and mistakes.
Making a physical list of things that went well and things that could be improved is a great way to drill down and understand where you can develop. You could also highlight some skill sets you want to grow or develop some ideas to tackle any issues.
The important thing here is to be as honest with yourself as possible – if you had an awesome year then great, but there are still areas where you can improve. Equally, if it felt like the most dreadful year on record for you don’t be too harsh on yourself. Strive to find the areas which almost worked or simply needed some fine-tuning.
— Jesicca Welch (@JesiccaWelch) August 27, 2018
2. Focus on the ‘fresh’ of a fresh start
Reflecting, learning and amending is essential, but don’t take it too far. It is equally important to embrace a fresh start and the optimism of a clean slate. Afterall its another chance to rock n’ roll. Resolve not to rest on past achievements or to be a disillusioned by past events. Each year will be special and varied in its own way, and treating it as such allows you the opportunity to grow an appreciate new projects and achievements.
3. Get your classroom looking ship shape
Your classroom is going to get a lot of foot traffic, so making sure it is fully stocked with necessary resources and organized in a logical way is essential. Going overboard on decoration is great fun but not strictly vital, particularly if you are pressed for time.
Consider instead accessibility to every student, places for supplies such as textbooks and any general maintenance that needs doing. If students need to use laptops in your class, you may also need to take into account the location of sockets for charging.
A great thing to do at this stage is to familiarise yourself with any technology you will be using in the classroom. This could be basics like a projector or more intricate applications like leaning management systems or chrome books. Remember to check in with your school’s instructional technology coach or equivalent if you are having any problems.
4. Set some goals to smash
‘A goal without a plan is just a wish’ goes the old adage, but planning without goals is just… well, pointless. Make sure that you are entering this school year with some solid objectives. These will help to keep you on track throughout the year and will drive you to achieve more.
That being said, create goals that will push you but are also achievable, in type and number. Having an endless list of lofty but essentially impossible goals is a sure route to demoralization, or worse, burn out.
5. Understand your classroom tech resources and make the most of them
Like it or not, technology is here to stay. Digital resources of all shapes and sizes are becoming a common sight in classrooms around the country in an effort to promote accessibility, smoother processes and teach skills for the modern workplace.
Mrs. Powers is taking advantage of her Chromebooks to make her graphic organizers completely digital by submitting it on @CanvasLMS using Kami!@GoogleForEdu @OJRHS @Ojrscience @OJRSD @ojrsd_supt pic.twitter.com/11Kh2oieGD
— Jonathan Yoder (@EdTechYoder) October 15, 2018
Fortunately, there are lots of ways that you can harness the digital classroom assets available to both save time and even accelerate learning. Whether it’s laptops, Learning Management Systems or digital textbooks, each device or platform can be used to enhance your existing teaching techniques, or better still, give you the freedom to innovate and try new things.
For example, how about making short videos of interactive battle maps to get geography students more engaged in the landscapes they are studying? This is exactly what Meghan Barnash teaching in Arizona did. Using Kami on Chromebooks, her 8th-grade students were able to develop their own battle map and accompanying video over the European maps they were studying!
To learn more about the cool ways you could make the most of your digital teaching resources, check out how the Kami app could help you today.