As the New Year begins it’s important to make some resolutions for your classroom. When students return from winter break it can be a great time to start something new or recommit yourself to important practices. These are my 5 New Year’s resolutions for my classroom.
Improve Parent Communication
At the beginning of every school year I pledge myself to communicate with parents on a regular basis. By the middle of October every year my parent communication has already begun to slip, and outside of a general weekly newsletter, parents are not being communicated with. This New Years I am going to recommit to opening the lines of communication with parents. To do this I am going to call five parents every week to let them know how their child is doing, either good or bad. With 25 students in my class it will only take me five weeks to call each parent. Taking the time to call each parent will help with classroom management and avoid surprises come report card time.
Practice Daily Routines Again
When students return from winter break, in my case three weeks of vacation, I am going to spend time practicing and reviewing our daily routines. Students will need a refresher course on how things are done in the classroom and it is important to be proactive rather than reactive. By taking the time to review how we line up, sharpen a pencil, use our whiteboards, and other daily practices, we will save time in the long run.
Engage Students in Error Analysis
As a teacher I am very good about grading students work and giving it back to them for immediate feedback. My New Year’s resolution is to go beyond just grading it and passing it back by having students take the time to correct what they missed. When students are required to take the time to fix their mistakes two things happen. First, students are given the opportunity to learn from their errors so they hopefully won’t repeat the same mistakes. And second, when students know that they are going to have to spend time fixing their mistakes they will be motivated to do it right the first time.
Make Better use of Planning Time
I resolve to be more effective in my planning/prep time. I am a serial procrastinator, but in the New Year I am going to focus on using my planning time to actually get work done so I don’t have to take it home every night. My before school, after school, and twice a week prep time are going to be more focused. My goal is going to be to use my time to get ahead on copies, lesson plans, and grading. If I can get more done at school and take less work home I think I will have a more positive outlook on things.
Go Watch Another Teacher
There are teachers in my school district and even at my own school site that are known for being outstanding teachers. In the New Year I am going to make it a point to observe another teacher in action. I have been doing things my way for the last five years, but I feel like there is always room for improvement and new ideas. While observing I will focus on teaching practices and classroom management strategies that I can use in my own classroom.