Good, Better, Best

St. Jerome once said, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest….Til your good is better and your better is best.” As we reflect on our own teaching experiences, how often do we encourage students to put forth their “best” effort? What structures do we have in place for students to reflect on their learning experiences?

Food for Thought:

  • Consistently encourage students to put forth their best effort
  • Increased opportunities to provide feedback to students, allowing for revisions to work
  • Work with students and parents to set reasonable goals for success

Planting a Seed

Linda Conway once said, “It is not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted.”

Think about your class. What kinds of seeds are you planting for them? What kinds of opportunities are being provided for those seeds to blossom? What kinds of differentiated experiences are you providing to make sure that ALL students are successful?

Forget Me Not

Ben Franklin once said’ “Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn.

What does this particular quote mean to you? How many times each day do we TELL our students? What are you teaching your students that you want them to remember? What kinds of opportunities are you providing for your students to be involved?

Think about one way you can INVOLVE your students this week? What is one thing you can enhance in your planning?

Homework: Less or More

As you begin to prepare for a new year ahead of us, think about what you can do to get every student, even the most reluctant ones, to participate in class discussions and take an active role in their academic success, especially as you begin to build rapport and establish expectations.

Often times, I usually ask their opinions about things, particularly around the issue of homework and testing. My thoughts on homework seem to change every year, often based on the class dynamic at that time. Some years, homework weighs heavy while others it is a less of an issue with students and families.

Throughout my teaching career I have learned there is not a “one size” fits all approach to homework. If anything, homework assignments should be differentiated and based solely on student need.

Unfortunately this is not always an easy task to accomplish, as certain things need to be considered when assigning homework assignments:

  • Be reasonable with the amount of time you are expecting from students and families to complete assignments
  • Homework should be assigned to either reinforce or practice previously leaned skills and concepts
  • Homework should not be used in a punitive manner

What kinds of things can you do that will allow students to be successful with homework? Is there a homework expectation and/or routine that needs to be explicitly taught and/or shared with families? What will you do to hold students accountable for completing homework assignments?

Always the Best

John Wooden once said “Things work best for those who make the best out of how things work out.”

I find myself reflecting on all the assessment data that I have collected this year.  With some time still left, I wonder what I can do to make sure kids meet their proficiency targets.

What am I going to “tweak” in my day – to – day instruction?  I know my students are very capable and it is my responsibility to guide them in the right direction.

Think about what you do to make the best out of difficult situations, such as data analysis and/or a data meeting with your Principal or Department Chair.  Do you react or are you proactive, working to create a plan to ensuring that everything works out the way it should?


A Moment in Time

Mother Teresa once said “Be HAPPY in the moment – that’s enough.  Each moment is all we NEED – not more.”

How many “moments” do we miss on a given day with our students?  Think about capturing a moment each day with your students.  What would that look like?  How can you use these moments to improve teaching and learning in your classroom?




Less or More

I find myself frequently reflecting on the Common Core Standards.  While there continues to be great debate over the effectiveness and/or usefulness of these standards, one must remember the deliberate intent of “raising the bar” in the hopes of narrowing the achievement gaps in both a complex and rigorous manner.

Three strengths of the Common Core Standards: clear expectations, rigor, and consistency, continue to have a huge impact on my teaching and student learning.  Specific examples include more active learning (i.e. more students doing and talking), increased amounts of flexible groupings, increased amounts of higher order thinking, increased amounts of cooperative learning and collaborative learning activities, and most importantly increased amounts of formative assessments to guide day to day instruction.

What have you done to adapt your teaching to the rigor and/or demands of the Common Core Standards in your day to teaching and/or planning?