Oh no, it’s August already?!

Rae HughartBlog, Innovation, Lesson Planning, Mastery Learning, Start Here, Survival, Teach Further, Video

Oh No - It's August - Video

Are you ready for the new school year?

How are you going to create rigorous curriculum, and then how are you going to deliver it, and what are you going to feel like when it’s being delivered? Click To Tweet

Full transcript below video.

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Video Transcript

Holy smokes! I don’t know if you realize, but I cannot believe it’s August. It is ridiculous, this summer has been jam packed for me personally, getting to work with teachers, going to conferences, working on my own classroom, I cannot believe that the year is about to begin.

So, for most teachers, August is the time when you start really getting into your classroom, maybe not physically getting in, but thinking about alright you might only have a week, two weeks left of Summer, maybe you only have a few days of Summer left, until you get to meet your new students.

So what are you going to do to prepare?

Our entire video blog today is hoping to spark some of that excitement that school is starting soon. So I want you to think about, last year seems so long ago, or maybe for others of you, it feels like it was just yesterday but for August for me, I go back in two weeks, and so I’m going to start thinking about what I want my classroom to look like, but it’s really important that during that time I’m reflective on how last year went.

Last year I had about 150 students and we just had oodles of changes throughout the year, every kid needed something differently and I learned a ton. I don’t think, regardless of how many years you’ve been teaching, every single year you should be taking learning away from your students, they should be teaching you something, and so I’m going to now need to really take some time and think about what did I learn last year from my students and how can I take that learning, and enhance it to really make next year even better. So, as I’m thinking about that, especially being a part of The Teach Better Team, I’m thinking a lot about the structure of my classroom in two ways.

One is going to be a curriculum focus, how can I really ensure that I meeting those standards? Every single year I understand the standards more. So how can I take those standards and really create rigorous curriculum, right, how am I going to do that? In my classroom, I use The Grid Method to start developing that curriculum. The Grid Method requires me to look at my standards, start at the very top, and then work my way backwards, and so I’m really going to design where I want to go first, what’s my destination? And then I’m going to work backwards and figure out how am I going to get there.

The best part is that through The Grid Method, after I figure out where I’m going everything from that point on is scaffolded. So I’m going to sit with my curriculum with my standards and say, “Okay what do I need to know, and what do my students need to know, and then what they’ve mastered that, they’re going to move forward to the next thing they need to know”, and using The Grid Model, and really focusing on mastery learning, which essentially all it is, my students are going to master the small bite size pieces, and eventually get to that awesome moment where they have mastered the curriculum. So that’s one component of my classroom that I’m going to think about.

The other element and a really big focus for me, this is kind of why I got into teaching, is that culture that I am I’m going to build. Right, how am I going to deliver content so that learning is impactful, how am I going to set up my room, maybe a little differently from last year to really make it feel like this is a place that my students want to be. You know I always joke with the teachers that I, I go into their classrooms, and every teacher has their different styles of their classroom, for me I want my room to feel like a living room. When they come in I have this huge chalk wall, actually it’s the entire wall floor to ceiling, it’s massive, and it’s all chalkboard paint, and so we put crazy artwork on there with chalk, and that really sets the tone of my classroom.

Students walk in and they’re like, “Huh, this classroom is different”, right, they can get that, but then, I use flexible seating, I use lamps, we don’t really turn on our bright lights. There’s elements that I use personally that fit my style to get my classroom ready for kids. This year something new that I’m doing is I’m starting a selfie section, where if they have something that they’re proud of we’re going to have a way for them to document it hang up their successes. So there’s really two pieces to this, right, how am I going to create rigorous curriculum, better yet, how are you going to create rigorous curriculum, and then how are you going to deliver it, and what are you going to feel like when it’s being delivered?

Now there’s a lot of ways that you can do this, and I know that all of you have spent your Summer relaxing hopefully with family, but maybe also considering some PD. Maybe you’ve learned about a new hot topic going on in education right now. Maybe you learned about a new design model that you’d like to try out, maybe you learned a different way to communicate with parents, so that now allows you work with your parents as allies rather than roadblocks.

Whatever your goals are this year, good luck, because it’s August people, and I am so excited to start the school year off, and whatever goal you set for yourself, I hope that you get involved with our Teach Better community and share it out. I know that I will be sharing it out my Teacher Better goals for this year and I hope, you share yours. Happy August!