Summer is Here!

Summer is here! The school year is over, grades are posted and things are packed up awaiting the fall. This is the perfect time to reflect on the past year. There are two specific areas that I like to consider and assess how to improve or be more efficient. It’s generally easier for me to do this at the end of the year when things are still fresh.

Classroom management

  • Review your classroom rules. Were there rules that were repeatedly broken? Were there rules that were not needed?  Each year your group of students will pose different challenges (fidget spinners, water bottle toss, slime) that you will need to set boundaries for.
  • Recognition and consequences – Decide before the year starts how you will handle consequences. If something didn’t work in the past, ditch it and move on to something new. Make sure to use recognition of hard work and appropriate behavior as part of your classroom management and I don’t mean the typical, “I like the way so and so is doing whatever.” It must be genuine and specific. For me, I like to recognize students when they show growth in a certain area, academic or behavioral. We all like to be recognized when we’ve worked hard and achieved a goal.

Classroom Efficiency and Routines

  • Collecting work from students and getting it back to them after grading was tricky for me my first year back in the classroom. It took several attempts to get to something I could live with, but as I look back, there has to be a better way.  Is instruction time wasted when students turn in work? With little counter space, there wasn’t much room for separate bins for each subject, so it all got jumbled together. I spent time sorting and searching for papers from students. My goal for returning work was to get it back to them with notes for improvement. This was nearly impossible without a set filing system. Try different filing systems (milk crate with folders, magazine holders taped together, mailbox boxes) and find one that works for you. Change it if it isn’t working!
  • Getting students ready for the day is one of the key priorities. I start day one of the school year with an agenda on the board. When students enter the room they look at the board and read directions. I list all of the supplies and books they will need for the day. I also have a short assignment for them to complete. This is their time to get ready for the day and there is no talking allowed, I stress the importance of focusing and getting prepared and organized for the day. This time also allows me time to take attendance and take care of any notes or last minute issues with students. Most importantly it gives me the opportunity to greet each student and make sure they know I’m glad they are at school!

Make notes of things you’ll want to try and tweak for the beginning of the school year. Remember it’s easier to reflect and jot down any changes you want to make as you wrap up the year.