Summer: Laundry & Lesson Plans?

someecardTammyThis summer, I’m cleaning out more than my home cabinets and closets.

I’m cleaning up my lesson plans.

With the new Common Core Standards coming, it’s the perfect time to rethink your classroom and how your students learn.

I’m starting with the layout of my students’ desks.  Since I want to do more partner and group work, I’m going to put the desks in groups of six.  That way, students can pair up or work in a group quickly.

I want to take a survey of how many students have mobile devices that can go on the internet which they can also bring to school.  We tried B.Y.O.D. (Bring Your Own Device) near the end of last school year, and it was a big hit.  I may even have to reorganize my groups so that there are always two or more people at each group with internet access.

Genius Hour, allowing the students one hour a week to study something that interests them, is something I’m definitely going to start up in my classroom this year.  Parameters need to be developed for introduction, project and assessment.  I like the simple start of asking the students to finish this sentence: “I wonder …”

Since Common Core Standards require students to really apply critical-thinking skills, I’m thinking of introducing Math concepts by starting with the problem-solving questions at the END of the chapter.  Let them think about what’s being asked, let them brainstorm how they might be able to figure it out for themselves, let them try their hypothesis, then finally have them share with the class.

Perhaps we can turn History lessons into Language Art lessons through project-based learning.  Maybe we can scrounge up enough computers to hook up to the four new drops I just found out I’ll have this year in my classroom so students can go on the internet and research when they need to.  Might need to research some grant opportunities or upcoming contests for that kind of equipment!

That’s the beauty of our summer breaks.  We have time to reflect on and evaluate what we did right and what we need to change during the last school year.  We have time to Tweet and Facebook and YouTube and Pin things, time to attend educational conferences both in person and online, time to read more about new ideas and practices …

Time to clean things up so our students can learn even more this coming school year.

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