My big motto to help me implement my non-negotiables this year is to teach with intention. The article by Houston and Siklow really helped me see the importance of the thoughts and ideas that I send out to the universe. It’s also important that I set my priorities and stick to them throughout the year. With all this in mind, I’m trying this year to work collaboratively and spend time either daily or weekly to plan and implement my community building activities. The monthly plan that I created and all the resources from my St. Mary’s colleagues I think will be a useful tool to help me incorporate a large variety of fun and engaging activities for my students. I believe spending time on community building every day throughout the year will make for a much more productive school year as we will make more connections with each other and have “fun” together –EVERY DAY! Student motivation for learning should increase and hopefully yield high levels of learning.
Some of my other non-negotiables included play and being more student centered. I adjusted my schedule this year to allow more time for students to engage in free play. I’m keeping the dramatic play area open during choice time as well as adding more story retelling props and opportunities to move or use drama versus doing a paper/pencil activity. I’m also revamping my learning centers to allow students to choose where they want to go. I’m taking away specific “have-to’s” at times and letting the students choose and be more self-directed. I’m very curious to see how this goes and what impact it has on students. I may for a time do a trial period of my “old” way of centers and then have students share their thoughts and ideas. I will also record observations of students to see the level of engagement in play and learning comparing the student-centered way to the teacher-directed way. I think this information will be really valuable to me as a teacher and how I continue to educate children in the years to come.
Lastly I want to focus on integrating more creative opportunities for my students. I was excited to see that when I returned to school this year that our school is taking on a mission to implement the 4 C’s: community, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. We will be implanting and sharing ideas throughout the year with each other wish I think will be a motivating tool for both myself and colleagues as well as give us all new ideas to keep things fresh and exciting. I also watched Austin’s butterfly on youtube and I’m excited to show this to my students and change how I think and explain “quality work” expectations to my students.