Jump into JanuaryJanuary 5, 2022 | By Dan Golub
For the classroom educator, January is an opportunity to reset and refocus. It’s a fresh start for you and your students. What’s the best way to jump into January to take advantage of the new year? Here are a few suggestions based on my experience, as well as those of other teachers and Blueprint Math Fellows.
Expectations reset. Review, integrate, and practice classroom expectations. Ideally, these are the same expectations established in August, but they may include new or revised ones. Make the review fun and interactive, and don’t let it drag on. Gamify your approach by playing Expectations Jeopardy or Classroom Norms Kahoot. Provide the opportunity for students to add to or amend classroom norms. When practicing a specific action, give clear instructions and allow students to provide each other feedback. For example, to practice Think, Pair, Share, have students debate the superpowers of flying vs. invisibility, and, after one minute, complete a t-chart on the board in which students share out positives and areas of growth from their Think, Pair, Share. Repeat this process (with another prompt) if necessary.
Reestablish relationships. Take the time to check in with individual students. Inquire about their breaks and use growth mindset language to motivate them and affirm their belonging. You’re starting the year with an A+, it’s your job to keep it! I believe in you!
Personal reset. During my first few months teaching, I was constantly overwhelmed and running around to put out fires. In January 2012, I decided to do a personal reset and walk slowly through the hallways. This simple action grounded me and allowed me to be more calm and present with my students. Choose one action and commit to it! I polled a number of Blueprint Math Fellows and here is what they had to say about jumping into January:
- I hope to implement more data tracking into my lessons so students can better track their growth over time.
- Sleep more!
- Consistently make positive phone calls home.
- Do reset lessons to start the students off strong and build off that success.
- Incorporate activities that build a sense of community and independence in class.
- Reestablish expectations that help students be less distracted by others.
What will you do for the rest of the school year to be a success for you and your students? Take a moment to reflect, outline your reset, and give it a go!