Like many other educators around the world, I use my weekends for two purposes:
-Relax and Refresh while completing things around the house I didn’t get to during the week.
-Look at the previous week to gather “fresh moments” from my teaching and my students’ learning.
I like to look at the previous M-F, asking myself what worked and what didn’t with my students and why. What lessons and teaching practices I used captured their attention, kept them focused and engaged, brought us closer together? What nuances from small group or whole class conversations did I have that made for someone’s day, helped a student to try one more time, gave me an “ah-ha” about a quiz or exit ticket? What action or practice I did might have unintentionally hindered a student’s learning?
It is from these little moments I take away the “farm fresh” moments I want to continue in my practice the following week. Some of these treasures are as simple as remembering to have my prep work complete: papers stacked, labeled, and sticky-noted for each subject and day of the week, placed in folders ready to go. It may be a reminder to myself to have all dry erase markers ready and the small hand boards cleaned. It may be to set the classroom mood lighting Wednesday when I start a new Social Studies Unit and have the chart paper ready with markers for small group Chalk Talk. Whatever it is, I hang on to these moments and reminders. They do make a difference in my teaching craft. I’ll write them in my notes or lesson plans.
When I finish looking for these moments, I also look at “what didn’t go so well” or was complete devastation for me or my students? Do I need to give more time to look through notes before writing a quick write? Do I need to keep certain students apart to allow for greater success away from each other? These moments, and I have them alot, as we all do (we’re only human!) help me learn and grow as a professional! I look to improve my craft: what went wrong or bombed is as important as what went right or better than expected.
As I look at the past week, readying for the new week, my hope is to create a better learning space for my students and myself. It is also a good thing to have students look at what worked and what didn’t for themselves, to learn from and grow from. This is a great closing activity Friday afternoons.
Stay “farm fresh” every week: look at your craft from both perspectives and grow from them.