As teachers, we make countless decisions every day. With all of the uncertainty and unknown that back-to-school holds, I hope that my classroom routines and guiding practices help make those decisions a little easier and give your students what they deserve. Let’s get started:
1. We need to be willing to try new things, even if it feels challenging and scary.
I am a risk-taking teacher who is always willing to try new things with my students. Sometimes you read about a really cool classroom tool, and when you try it out, it absolutely doesn’t work. Sometimes, however, you try something new, and you don’t understand how you have been teaching without it! Trying new things not only helps you as a teacher, but it also helps your students learn flexibility and resilience. It’s okay to make mistakes, and the only way to give your students what they deserve is to try something new.
2. Technology should be used to help our students become more technologically literate, not to babysit them.
I love being able to use technology to enhance my students’ learning! When we give our students technology just to babysit them, we are not preparing them for their future. To integrate technology effectively into your lessons, look for where it will be beneficial for your students. I use various apps in our literacy centers and math activities, and I use the SAMR (substitution, augmentation, modification, and definition) model to see where I can include technology into my basic lesson plan.
3. Begin your day with activities to unite, connect, and disengage stress. It’s worth it!
In my classroom, we start every day with a Brain Smart Start, which is from a program called Conscious Discipline. During this morning routine, we engage in activities that unite us, connect us, and disengage us from stress, such as a sing-along or a dance to a silly video. We also make a commitment to ourselves to commit to what we want to work on or do differently that day. On days when I don’t have time to start my day like this, I notice my kids have a harder time staying focused and getting started on their work.