As 2016 comes to an end and 2017 rolls in, it is time to start thinking about ways to improve our educational practices. We spend the first semester really getting to know our new students and understanding the different classroom dynamics of each class period, so it only makes sense to take what we know and improve our teaching practices.
Here are 4 resolutions to incorporate in the new calendar year.
One thing I want to focus on this year is providing my students with meaningful feedback that will enhance their learning. Sure, I can quickly jot down a checkmark next to a well-written sentence , but how does that really help my students?
To provide my students with more meaningful and effective feedback, I’m going to write about two detailed comments on major papers that point out specifically what the students did well and why it works.
Instead of writing “nice intro” on an essay, I might write, “great job on your thesis statement. It is detailed, to the point, and includes a strong verb.” To make this comment more beneficial, I would circle the strong verb, and possibly add a couple more strong verb suggestions to help my student grow as a writer.
When students collaborate with one another, they get to act as a student and a teacher. As the student, they get to demonstrate their mastery of the topic and learn from other students in the classroom. As the teacher, they get to reteach the content in their own language to their peers.
The best way to learn something is to teach it, and that is one of the reasons why collaborative work is so great.
Another reason I want to add in more collaborative work in my classroom is because it provides students with more real-world experience. Students need to know how to work with different groups of people, and practicing in the classroom is a great time for them to learn this vital skill.
Some of the collaborative activities I love are collaborative essay brainstorming and collaborative rhetorical analysis posters.
Our students are 21st Century learners, and as educators we need to embrace that in our classrooms to help students reach their full potential.
If you are new to educational technology, one way to easily incorporate edtech into your classroom is by having students complete a collaborative assignment in Google Docs or Google Slides. I especially love using Google Forms in my classroom because there are so many different uses for Forms.
If you are brand new to Google Forms, you'll want to read my introductory Google Form blog post. If you've used Forms in the past, you might be interested in different ways you can incorporate Google Forms into your classroom.
For digital lessons and resources, be sure to check out my SMARTePlans digital, Google-based resources. These resources are engaging, and students love how they are interactive.
Trees and paper are finite resources, so it is important to be ecologically responsible. While the idea of a completely paperless classroom might be a little too unattainable, there are several ways to reduce paper consumption in our classrooms.
I’m always trying to think of ways I can use less paper in my own classroom, and here are some that I have found: Have students take quizzes on half or quarter sheets of paper; encourage students to write notes on the back of their paper and in the margins; utilize class sets of copies; encourage collaboration with shared copies; ask your TA to clean out and catalog (preferably Google Sheet that is shared among your entire department) all of your class sets of copies and texts; and share class sets of reading materials with other teachers.
What is your New Year's Resolution for the classroom?