Monday, May 27, 2013

What Will You Do Differently? Linky Party

With only seven days left of school, this is the time of year when my thoughts flip flop between "Is this year OVER yet?" and "Next year I'm going to do ___________differently."  So what perfect timing for Kim over at Finding Joy in 6th Grade to decide to host her What Will YOU Do Differently? linky party!   I knew I just had to join in!

I start off every year with the best laid plans to be organized. This is the cover of my teaching binder this year.  I thought it would help if I had a cute cover.  Silly me.

By winter break, my organizational habits start to fade.  The pile of 'to be filed' papers starts to grow.  Oh, I know all about the 'handle a piece of paper only once' rule.  I just don't practice it.  I'm a shuffler.  By the time January rolls around, I find myself shuffling through the same pile of papers on my desk at least once a day.  So next year I want to be more organized.  

I added a few extra opportunities for art this year and my students loved it.  Okay, not ALL of them, but many!  
Our planet art.  Students conducted research and wrote their planet reports.  Then we had fun 'discovering' new planets.  The new planet had to 'fit' in somewhere in our solar system and have similiar characteristics to surrounding planets.  After they wrote about their discovery, they picked up some oil pastels and had fun.

Okay, some people might not think of this as art, but I do!
Giving kids a chance to express themselves through art and movement is important.  So this summer I'm going to look for ways to incorporate more art into our year.

Almost all kids love to have some sort of public recognition of their successes in the classroom.  I'm not sure what it is I'm looking for here, but I want to celebrate those successes more often.  

Last summer I made a "ME" schedule.  I actually put my 'quitting time' for each day on a weekly schedule that was kept at the front of that binder I meant to keep organized.  I didn't stick to it as much as I hoped to, but it definitely helped me acheive a better balance between my work and my personal life.  So this coming year I plan to refine it a little bit to bring that perfect balance a bit closer to reality.  It certainly helps that my teaching partner is on the same page as I am.  We've done a great job of dragging each other out of the building at the end of the day.  

There are half a billion other things that I'd like to change racing through my mind and, once I turn in my key (only 7 days left!), I'll sit down and prioritize the ones that are most important to me.  But thanks to Kim's linky, I think I'm off to a good start!

So what are you going to do differently?  Hop on over to Finding Joy in 6th Grade's linky and let us know!


  1. I LOVE your ideas! I also understand the paper handling rule but have a GIANT stack of papers about a foot high that need to be filed back into place. Ugh.... I'm going to try weekly morning meetings next year for my students to share and give us time to celebrate successes together.

    Have a great end of the year!
    From Mrs. Allen’s Teaching Files

    1. Thanks for stopping by Corrina!
      A class meeting at the end of the week might be a great way to celebrate student success! We used to hold morning meeting every day and then it was decided by the powers that be that they weren't the best use of instructional minutes for fifth grade. I think I'll be a bit of a rebel and sneak one or two back into my week! It's such a great way to build community.