Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thinking Ahead

Well, it's that time of year again! Summer is just around the corner and OF COURSE I am already thinking ahead to next year! At the end of every school year, I always reflect on what worked, what didn't, and what I wish I had done over the past ten months. At present, my "Ideas for 2012-2013" list is THREE PAGES LONG! In the past, I have found this list to be so helpful. It helps me to be a better, and less stressed out, teacher. Here are five of the things I am abolishing from my current teaching practices:

1. Spelling homework. I hate checking it, my students hate doing it, and it is (in my opinion) completely inauthentic. I would much rather focus on patterns and rules without a set list to memorize, and then assess their ability to apply those skills in their real, every day writing. Bye bye, spelling words...you will NOT be missed!

2. Fluency Homework. I'm sorry, but do we really want to encourage our kids to race through a piece of reading, completely disregarding its meaning? I don't think this is helping the students become better readers, so sayonara! I will replace it with something more meaningful and interesting, like practicing how to be an interpretive and sharing a read aloud section with the class. 

3. Name tags. I know they are cute, but by December they look revolting. They are picked at, peeling off, and collecting eraser scraps underneath of them. Ew. Besides, I have two classes, so the desks aren't really the students' anyway. I will also really not miss how long it took to laminate, label, and adhere them to the desks with contact paper at the beginning of the year. 

4. Preset consequences.Currently my clip chart (which I would get rid of completely if it wasn't school-wide) has  labels indicating a 5 minute loss of recess for "Warning," and all recess lost, plus filling out a reflection sheet, for "Consequence." This is nonsense. Losing recess a few hours after committing a "classroom crime," is not effective. Students nees immediate logical consequences that align with their infraction. Instead, there will be no more consequences for being on "Warning" (after all...it IS a warning) and it will be "Teacher's Choice" when once earns a consequence. To me, this just makes more sense.

5. A while back, I posted about our current "Shoot for Three" system for BCRs. In theory, I guess it is a good idea. However, it becomes a hassle to keep up with and creates more competition than it improves BCRs. As promised, this blog is about what works and what doesn't...and I am letting you know that for me and my classroom, this idea is no longer working. 

And because I don't feel bad about getting rid of these things (and because I love the 80s!), this is my official goodbye to the stuff I won't be missing much!

There are a ton more, considering I am by no means a perfect teacher. But this is what I love about my job! I am constantly learning and striving to improve. More posts to come about what I will be adding and revamping, so stay tuned!

So, what things are you planning on canning for the 2012-2013 school year?


  1. great post.

    regarding your nametags issue - just write their names on their desks/tables with "fatty" sharpies. i even add things like "b" and "d" words with drawings on the tables of kids with confusion issues.

    the names/supports/drawings are easily erased with 91% alcohol (not the 70% - but still available in very inexpensive huge bottles from the drug store).

    you can change names at any time. add or remove supports. fix messy or rubbed out names, etc.

  2. I've really enjoyed reading your blog, Mrs. P, and I'd love for you to join my (very new) blog. jarsofpencils.blogspot.com It's my 7th year to teach 5th grade, and I learn so much from other bloggers that I thought I would join in on the fun!


  3. I NEED to write a post like this-thanks for the idea!

    I have got to ponder over this awhile-I can't even think of what I did this past year! :) 2 days left with the kids, and it's been crazy!!

    I guess one thing I am getting rid of are binders!!!! I will teach history next year instead of reading, and I'm going to have them keep an interactive notebook.

    By the way, I love the eighties, too!! Graduated from high school in 1989!


  4. Anne- I like that idea, but I think my principal might not appreciate it! :) I'll run it by her, though.

    Jenny- Thank you so much! Good luck to you! It is so fun and I learn a lot from those I follow, as well as my own followers.

    Shannon- I could have gone on and on! I thought about ditching binders. Not sure if I will or not.

  5. These are great ideas. I am your newest follower. To say thank you I have passed along an award to you.