and reinventing… and reinventing… and…
Whether I feel I have had a successful or disappointing week with my students, every Friday I find myself brainstorming how to change up or revamp the way I do things. Partly this is due to the fact that I feel I’m always learning new things about them, or because they themselves are simply changing, getting better at something or having a hard time, and so I can’t just do things the same. Also, as much as I am attracted to the idea of routines, and know kids need routines, I am, like, biologically programmed against falling into them. I fear ruts and am never truly satisfied with how I do things.
I try to see this as a positive –if exhausting– part of who I am. It guards against any complacency or accepting what I’m doing simply because “it’s how I have been doing it”. Of course, some may say if everything were going well, why would I have to create so much chaos, right?
And it’s not that I haven’t tried to re-do good methods from previous years. I had some really wonderful things that I did last year that I just haven’t been able to recreate this year for some reason. Like, we had an awesome, interactive word wall that my students actually used and I did, too. This year I don’t have a good place to put it, so it’s more awkward to use and the kids don’t reference it in the same way. So this is one of those contradictions I also find myself pushing against and trying to transform because I want them using more Tier 2/academic/juicy vocabulary.
Soooo, what education carts have I been upsetting lately? For one, I created a classroom economy with some of my students with fine officers, bankers, checks, and a “store” as a community builder/behavior incentive. This week I began quizzing them on weekly words using fingerspelling (remember, we are learning my bastardized interpretation of ASL) – where I spell and they write it out on their dry erase boards I want to think of more ideas like that this weekend.
Also, I am going to be thinking up better ways to get them to use ASL (and with it, English) in more authentic ways, as a way to use tiny gaps in time they may have, and keep them on their toes. Teaching with your hands really keeps them focused and quiet; it’s great fun. I also want to find a better visual to represent the schedules I have for readers so they can move between centers and such more independently.
I’m sure there will be more things I will change by Monday, but this is what happens every weekend. Hopefully someday I will find routines that I like so I can just cycle through pre-established game plans, rather than having to come up with totally new things every 7 days!