I made it through the first week of school and the students are fine and so am I. Are all on talking terms and they left on Friday with a smile on their faces. It I'll be a great year. We (my team) have started a few new things in our classes and getting through the first week with a whole new schedule is not easy. Change is hard, but we made it. A couple more weeks and it will be the new normal in our classes. I can't wait for that. Bet there are more changes I want to try out. Small changes that I will try out for a while and see what I can do to improve it or get rid of it and revisit it at a later time.
This summer I was taking a couple classes and one of them I heard about was making time to talk with each student and do a short interview with them. Find out how they a doing and what they feel they need. So I have been thinking about this idea. We are supposed to do a short reading assessment at the beginning, middle and end of each year. I figure, what a great time to do a short interview with each student. So I will take 5-10 minutes with three students a day, four days a week, I figure I should be able to have a short meeting with each student as I have them read. I will put together a few questions that will help me understand some of the things they need. A few of the questions I was thinking of are;
- How is school going?
- Who are your friends that you are playing with right now?
- What is your favorite subject?
- What subject do you feel is the one you need to work the hardest in?
There are a few more questions I am thinking of, but I will only ask couple questions so the students can give me a few ideas what I need to look for with them. I am also thinking that I can answer any questions that the students might have for me. Sometimes students are unable to ask questions to the teacher without feeling the will be chastised or embarrassed. Taking a second to let the students know that they have my undivided attention and will answer any questions they have will be good. Tat will also help me understand what I need to look for. 5-10 minutes every month with each child will, hopefully, give me some great information work with.
Another idea I came across last year was an article called "Creating a Culture of Innovation". In it I read about Google using 20% of their employees work time to have them work on whatever they want, as long as it has to do with Google. New ideas, changes to old ideas, looking at someone else's work, whatever. I am not sure I can give my students a full day each week. I think my administrators would show me the curriculum and district pacing guides and remind me that I have work to do each day. But I can take an hour each week out of my class time and give students that hour to work on something that they can teach us, show us, help them learn, or have me help them understand something better.
So my plan is that once a week I will give them the hour and within a months they need to produce something they can show or teach the class. It can be anything, it just hs to have a purpose and it needs to be something they can show or teach. If it has something to do with our curriculum and subjects, that is great. If it doesn't, we will work that out. What is important is that each student will have the opportunity to work on something of their choice and teach others or show a finished product to everyone. I think I am going to call it "Project Doodling". That's what is going into my planner.
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