It’s every teacher’s most stressful, most highly anticipated, and most powerful time of the year: back to school! After over a decade of first days back to school, I’ve finally found a plan for the first ten days that streamlines the three most important things for me: routines, rigor, and relationships. Here, I will outline for you the importance of routines, rigor, and relationships, then, provide my daily plans for the first ten days.
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After teaching for ten years and then switching schools, I was very quickly reminded of how much work goes into writing curriculum from scratch. For a long time, I was in a happy place of continual revision of curriculum that I liked, but was tweaking here and there for relevance, rigor, and for fun.
Now? It’s the Wild West. It’s intergalactic chaos. It’s constant guessing and unpredictability. All that aside, however, it’s also invigorating and exciting. I would call myself “a curriculum person” because this kind of blank slate challenges me in a way that sparks joy in my life, despite the chaos, so I’d like to share with you how to most easily navigate through a first attempt at writing and implementing a new curriculum for a new novel in your secondary ELA classroom.
Whether I’m starting a brand new school year, returning after winter break, or even just starting a new quarter, there’s always this itch in my gut that tells me to take a breather on those first few days together to regroup and reset our classroom culture and community. It’s vitally important to take the temperature of your classroom - has it been feeling toxic lately? Are students there to be the best versions of themselves? Are we having fun but not working hard? Are we working really hard and don’t know each other at all?
Every school and every teacher has a different philosophy with student cell phones, but with classroom management as a whole. Whether you are on the FORBIDDEN end of the spectrum or on the “do what you want, it’s your grade” end, I just might have a solution that will help in your classroom.
In order for our students to succeed across subject areas, we must all acknowledge the critical importance of vocabulary instruction. There are so many best practices out there, so many specialists, and so many approaches, it can feel daunting to choose a streamlined and effective strategy for your classroom. No matter your favorite method or style, I have a thoughtful yet efficient strategy for you to try in your class this year.
As I’m writing this, you’ve probably already pinned 100 new ideas for your back to school decor on Pinterest. You very well might be simultaneously stalking a corner of the Target Dollar Spot. Maybe you’re even wish-listing things for your classroom on Amazon. And if you’re not doing one of these two things, you’re almost certainly scrolling through Instagram with major “Insta-classroom envy” every other post you see.