New Year beginnings
The season has changed to winter, and the cold air is with us now. The fields have long been harvested and are resting until it is time for planting in the spring. I have often compared teaching to farming. Both work hard in planting seeds, caring, nurturing, and bringing in a harvest each year.
Students are returning from a break, and teachers are still working hard in planting seeds, nurturing, and applying additional support to help students develop and grow.
Improvement in academic achievement is realized with an increase in motivation and engagement. (Brandsford, 2000; Fredricks, 2014; Hattie, 2008; Schlechty, 2011). There are many books to advise, suggest, and guide us in ways to improve motivation and engagement. As teachers know, there are many times it is difficult to maintain, but not impossible when we can find the right rhythm to our teaching.
We can begin the rhythm with students returning by refreshing our minds to the routines and procedures and welcoming them to school. Let’s start with these:
- Greet all students and welcome them to school (Students getting off the bus, car riders, and walkers). Then classroom teachers welcome them to the classrooms.
- As the class begins, do a quick reminder of the routines and procedures of the classroom and school.
- Feedback is the essential part of the teaching and learning process. Questioning, dialogue, sharing ideas and thoughts
- It engages the students in conversations that do not involve topics that can trigger trauma or make them feel bad. Not everyone has the best things happen on breaks from school. If they bring up issues to discuss, this is fine, but do not lead with open statements that can cause some not to feel good.
As we begin the first week of January of 2023, work on getting back in the rhythm of re-teaching routines and procedures and helping everyone feel welcomed back to school. Begin by making efforts to help bring more attention to social-emotional learning by doing a self-check of “how do you feel today?” You can have kids place post-it notes with smiles and sad faces or utilize other ways to show emotions.
Feedback and questioning will be our focus for a few tips as we work on having students gain leadership in their learning pathways.