Creative Expression and Knowledge

Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

Think about the opportunities you provide for students to demonstrate their creative expression and/or knowledge.

Food for Thought:

  • Exit Tickets
  • Daily Reflection at the end of each lesson
  • Frequent check-ins during a lesson
  • Increased opportunities for peer-to-peer discourse activities
  • Use of hands-on materials as much as possible

Motivation

Jim Rohn once said, “If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is an education to turn him around.”

Think about any students you feel might be headed down the wrong road. What educational opportunities are your providing in an effort to educate. What supports are you providing to turn these students around?

Off the Beaten Path

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

As I reflect on both this quote and my own teaching practices, I am reminded of some big adjustments made to my own teaching this year. These changes, though difficult, have added rich peer to peer discourse opportunities for students and compelled me to interact more with students in a positive manner, thus allowing increased opportunities for students to be pushed and excel to new levels.

When is the last time you have truly reflected on your teaching experiences? What is one thing you can do at this mid-year point to step out of your comfort zone and enhance your day to day teaching?

Inspiration versus Defeat

Horace Mann once said, “A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.”

What opportunities are you providing for students to feel inspired? What are you doing to keep that sense of desire for learning alive in your students?

Independence

Maria Montessori once said “The greatest sign of a success for a teacher…is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.”

This is a powerful statement, in and of itself. What kinds of opportunities are your providing for your students in order for them to reach this high level of student engagement and/or independence?

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?