Windows and Mirrors

Sydney J. Harris once said, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”

Think about each and every opportunity you have provided for your students to “shine”. Think about different ways to recognize students each day.

Food for Thought:

  • Reinforce positive behaviors
  • Provide incentives for most improved students weekly and/or quarterly
  • Accentuate the positives with parents and/or families on a regular basis

Invite parents in for a “showcase

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

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?

Learning by Example

Malcom Gladwell once said, “We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.”

Think about a typical day in your classroom. How many times are you “showing” students how to do something instead of telling them? What opportunities are you providing for them to interact with each other to explain their thinking?

Think about increasing the opportunities for peer-to-peer discourse activities in your classroom. What might that look like? Sound like?

Optimism

Helen Keller once said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

What are you doing to promote hope and/or confidence for your students? Are you promoting a sense of optimism or defeat? Are you and your students feeling confident?

Four Corners

Confucius once said, “Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.”

Think about the foundation that you lay for students, including expectations, at the start of each new school year. What kind of goals are you helping students set for themselves? Are they achievable? What scaffolds do you have in place for students to define their successes? Are you working to ensure that ALL students are able to succeed?

There is no Limit

Mary Kay Ash once said, “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.” 

Think about the limits you set on yourself.  What are some ways that you might be able to stretch those limits?  Take some time this week and/or this month to stretch your mind.   Share your results with a colleague or supervisor.