Monday, August 25, 2014

4 Tips for a Successful School Year

The world of education is unlike any other career.  We end each year in June: reflecting, vowing to research and discover new ways to improve in our profession.  Summer provides an opportunity to relax and rediscover what has inspired us all to be lifelong learners.  Every August we welcome new learners to an exciting new beginning.  The energy and possibilities are endless. 

So how can we make certain that it stays this way? 
Here are a few suggestions from our Instructional Technology team to help you this year:

1)      Safety Police: Travel Safely

At times we become so focused on what’s innovative and new that we can overlook the most important aspect of all, make sure everyone is safe.  Familiarize yourself with all safety procedures and follow them.  Be sure to have emergency contacts (try using Google forms or Remind), and get to know your learners.  Understand CIPA, COPA, and FERPA and how they apply to your learners.  Remember that the most important component is ensuring everyone’s safety as you travel throughout the Internet.  To quote Barney Fife, “Thanks and happy motoring!”


2)      Driver: Keep your eyes on the road and hands upon the wheel!

Who knew that Jim Morrison and the Doors would have some great advice for teachers? 

Each year we model how to set goals: for ourselves, for our classrooms, etc.  Promote an environment where learners are encouraged to drive their own learning, no matter the vehicle.  Help learners create their own path for learning and demonstrate how necessary it is to be aware of those we share the road with.  Edmodo, Padlet, and Kidblog can be great vehicles that promote communication and collaboration.   


3)      Wave Rider: Be a Risk-Taker

Model how to take appropriate chances.  Gone are the days where the teacher needs to be the owner of all the knowledge.  It’s ok to “not know everything”, and it’s ok to be unsure of how to do something.  Model for your learners how to ask questions, find the answers, and how to step out of the box and try something new.  Invite an instructional tech coach into your room to co-teach a lesson!  If you haven’t blogged with your classes, flipped your classroom, or tried any other strategies you’ve heard about; there’s no better time to start than now.  John Kabat-Zinn said it best, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” 


4)      Fun Police: Have Fun

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

Ever watched elementary school students get off the bus?   When’s the last time you walked into a Child Development class?  Take wake-up calls from Kindergarteners: learning is exciting and it is fun!!!  Be sure to smile and laugh throughout the day.  After all, the more we model these good behaviors, the more we are helping to increase the life expectancy of those around us. 

My suggestion for bad days, whistle more.  My grandfather told me that it is hard to be in a bad mood when you whistle; try it sometime. 


What suggestions do you have for a successful year? 

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