8 steps. Why 8 steps? Isn’t that too many? How am I going to do that and plan? And teach? And assess? And communicate with parents? And maintain records? And enjoy my family?
Well, my answer to you is simple.
Keep doing what you are doing but let’s have a framework for it. That is why it is important to have a planned system in place. Plan your work and work your plan. That’s what my grandfather said to us throughout his life. The system is your outline and your guide. Your truest consigliere.
I made it eight steps for a reason. First, I wanted to break things into smaller or manageable chunks for myself. Smaller and manageable pieces help me focus on the task at hand in the amount of time I have. We all have a lot going on and the goal was to simplify. Thus, the by-product of this strategic work became the System. It helped me bring all the facets of teacher evaluations, planning, assessing, and managing all together-and I think it could do that for you.
In this blog post, we will give a synopsis of the System. Put the work in in these areas, a lot of great things can happen for your classroom. You will become more efficient and effective and it will give you more time to focus on what is most important-the students. In each part I created questions or brainstormed ideas that would help generate new thoughts or pathways.
The first step of the System is entitled “I am a stakeholder.” In this part, I wanted to show all of the different “stakeholder hats” we as teachers wear through out the day and year. These are items you can focus on prior to a child entering the classroom. I wanted to investigate my personal short and long term goals as well as those of my team, school, and district.
The second step involves examining students in and out of the classroom. I asked myself many questions. What ways are you doing this now? Is there a way you are currently doing this that can be more effective? What new ways can you try? These are all ideas that I want to share as we examine students and get to know them as the year begins.
The third step discusses building an optimal classroom management system. What are the most effective ways we can transition? Why is it that my routine always hits a snag at this specific moment of the day? How can I maximize instructional time? This is an important part of your first few weeks of teaching that will dictate the remainder of your year. It is also important after breaks or during transitions.
The focus of the fourth step is thoughtfully planning content and selecting appropriate assessment. Are your instructional outcomes rigorous enough? Are they appropriate? How do I coordinate planning and assessment? Differentiation is a key component to this step and included are some thoughtful questions to brainstorm and generate ideas.
In step five you will be asked about your planning techniques. Do you have one way you do things or are you able to draw from multiple? Do you have thoughtful questions that push students? These are important things to discuss as you try to move all students forward.
Step six dives in to selecting and planning resources. How do you use resources currently? Do you go out and look for new ones to use? The classroom is becoming more technological…are you utilizing yours to their fullest potential? Picking the right resources can create a great environment that your students will enjoy every day.
Step seven takes you into “the moment” as you put the first six steps into motion. I put in a lot of hard work to get to this point and now wanted my personal teaching style to shine through. Engage the students. Make their learning come alive. This is evident in step 7 and is a time to showcase how great we all are.
Finally, step eight is what makes great teachers great. The great teachers we have observed and worked with are flexible. They can modify what they are doing in the moment to take the students down the correct path even if it is not exactly in the plans. Great teachers also reflect on what happened in the classroom and learn from it.
So now you are up to speed on how this blog and the System has come about over the past 7 years. Multiple parts of the system were established in my first six to seven years of teaching but it fully evolved when I wanted to take the next step in my teaching career-and thus, the system was created. I was in your shoes at some point. You have come across many of the items that I have in and out my classroom as well. We all need to work together to raise student achievement. That is the number one goal of this blog.
If you would like to preview the System, check it out here!
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Have a great day!