Amplifying Minds

Learning and Growing Together

A New Year

The beginning of the school year is both exciting and scary for kids and teachers. Some of us have nightmares, as well as stay awake planning, wondering, thinking, ideating (as my kids call it when you are having ideas!) and worrying about all the things we want to go so right, but could go so wrong. Hm, that previous sentence was originally written from my perspective as a teacher, but it also goes for all of the learners beginning a new year as well…

The #rechat conversation this morning was so spot on for the beginning of a new school year! (But then, @edrethink, aka John T. Spencer, has a knack for picking great topics.) I normally participate, and sometimes even help him by co-moderating or moderating the chat, but I have chosen to sleep in on the past few Saturdays so have missed it for the past several weeks. Today I was awake, but chose to lurk rather than add my two cents. The conversation was pretty lively, though, as John asked the questions many of us are thinking about right now.

I challenge you to answer these as well–either in the comments below, on your own blog (please put a link to it in the comments below) or wherever you’d like–but share your thoughts with us online, please.

#rechat1 What are some fears that you have at the beginning of the school year?

That kids won’t be challenged as much as they can be and I’ll hear complaints about being bored.

That my schedule will get so crazy I miss working with some teachers (or kids).  I am a resource person in my building and have the responsibility for working with everyone.

That I will forget to take time for my own reflection and metacognitive work.

#rechat2 What are you some things you’re doing differently this school year?

Working with lots of our teachers to implement our Design 2015 grant.  (More about that in future blog posts–it’s a local seed grant we got to help our students connect and learn differently.  We teachers are working to “upgrade” our work with kids to reflect contemporary learning.)

Trying not to (as someone said in today’s #rechat) repeat last year’s successes the same way because my groups of kids will be different, and I need to account for that.

#rechat3 What are some ways you will build a class community?

Catch them being good (YES @jenwagner–that’s SO important!)

Tell them what they are doing right and honor questions they ask.

Explicitly name the behaviors I want as I see them happening, so kids know my expectations.

Reinforce everyone asking questions.

Honor think time.

Catch them being good.

Laugh with them.

Share MY stories and honor time for them to tell theirs.

Be a person to them and let them be people first, students second.

Honor who they are, not who I want them to be.

Accept mistakes as part of the learning process.

Share my mistakes and laugh about them. Share what I’ve learned from those mistakes.

Catch them being good.

Come on–join in– your answers?

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