Have you ever wished for an opportunity to do something over? You know you would make different choices if only you had the chance! Well, as teachers we get that wonderful opportunity at this time of the year (new year). As all teachers do, self reflection is just part of our DNA and as such gives us wonderful opportunities to create change in our classroom. Every year when my students return after their two-week holiday I start off the year just as if it was our first week in September. The distinct difference being that the activities I choose, the type of engagement I devise is solely based on what has or has not occurred in my room over the first four months of being together.
This year I have found that there are cliques within my room and as such they do not work well unless certain groupings or pairing are created. I will start off the year with a major focus on team building with a specific design that will see a constant mixing of students so that they get to have fun and get to know students they have not made the effort to do so.
A second change that will start off our year is to work from drama to written tasks as often as I can. For example, I am going to be reading a novel that will focus on social justice so I will make use of classroom debates, readers’ theatre and character improvisation prior to my students completing their reading response journals. This change has come about due to the level of engagement that my students demonstrate when drama is a part of our literacy program.
It is important for teachers to take advantage of this unique opportunity that our yearly schedule provides to us. Reflect, re-organize and reap the benefits of your second start to the school year.