I am so excited that Julie (@jreulbach) brought back #MTBoS #SundayFunday, which is a weekly blogging initiative. In years past the blog posts written about the given topic helped shape things I was doing in my own classroom, it’s great because they all get linked together…like a one stop shop for amazingness! It took me all week to look at everything I wanted to do this year and pull out what my main goals are, so my submission is a little late.
At the start of 2017, rather than set a bunch of resolutions I went with one word…Intentional. As I started reflecting on my goals for this school year, I found the word Intentional to be very fitting as well.
And as I was looking through my endless to do list to prep for the new year, I saw one simple theme…Building Community. Over half the items on my to do list are related to the engaging community of learners I hope to build. Here are just a few of those things:
BE INTENTIONAL WITH BUILDING A CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
- Flexible Seating – Last year my intervention students wrote a grant to get flexible seating and I found out it was funded after I found out I was going back to teaching core math at 7th grade. I talked to my Assistant Principal and got the go ahead to do it in my room this year. So then I spent most of the spring and summer looking for items to help create an environment of flexibility and comfort. I LOVE a good challenge to be thrifty and find cute things for the classroom. I can’t wait to share pictures of what it looks like…that means I need to get it set up first though. 🙂
- #VNPS – Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces to allow students to work together while standing when doing math in my classroom. For table work, I have individual whiteboards and the group whiteboards from WhiteboardsUSA. I have the Standard-L Seconds and the students love using them. You can’t tell there is anything wrong with them…at all. However #VNPS has been something I have been reading about on Twitter and because two of my walls are covered in CHALKBOARDS, I thought that would be a fun way to incorporate #VNPS and give students a different medium for working together. I bought chalk and magnetic chalk holders and erasers….we will see how this goes!
- Visible Random Groups – To go along with the flexible seating, I was trying to figure out how the students will choose their seats and how often we will change. I am going to incorporate visible random grouping in my classes this year. I haven’t decided how often I will be switching them, I think I need to see how they do working together first. I saw a Tweet from
@anyaostapczuk, @lydiakirkman and @Vaughn_trapped where they posted a pic of these sticks in prep for #TMC17. I have printed the following sorting sticks on cardstock and laminated them so they should last the whole year. Click here for the file with the sorting stick guide shown below.
- Student Roles & Responsibilities – Funny that I am coming back to this…I had a conversation on Twitter back in August 2015 with Joy (@JoyKirr) about her classroom jobs for students. She shared this document, though she says she has trimmed down and changed them since. I never put it into place and my goal is to be intentional with student voice & choice in my classroom community. I’ve been brainstorming with Jac (@JacRichardson) about how to set them up and keep them organized for our middle school classrooms.
- Positive Peer Feedback Jar – Another idea from Joy, students fill out a feedback/recognition slip for a kind act/ responsible deed/risk in class, and it will be emailed to that student’s parent.
- Friday Feedback – I am going to implement bi-weekly feedback google form where students can give input on how class is going and how to make it even better.
- Saturday Sunshine – Another idea from Joy, pretty simple because it’s two good news emails home, sent each Saturday.
- Mindset Mantras – I am going to give this a go...see what happens!
There you have it! I am excited for all of the things listed above and how I can build the best community of learners that I can for this school year. I have 15 days until our first Institute Day and 18 days until the first day with students. I have a lot to do before then, but I couldn’t be more excited to get all those things done! 🙂