Monday, May 20, 2013

It's Almost Over - Lessons from 2012-13

As I reflect back on my time in the classroom this year I can't help but think about the changes I'd like to make for next year. However I won't be making those changes for next year - at least not in my own classroom. There are a few lessons from this year that I will take with me to Prairie Lakes, though. They are lessons that I think we all can learn from.

1. It's okay to start small sometimes. If a project seems overwhelming, you don't have to attack it all at once. Break it down, pilot it on the small scale first. This one came from Scott McLeod (@mcleod), and I think it's important to remember that you can still accomplish big things even if you start on a small scale. 

2. Great things can happen when you take a chance on something new. Inspired by Bettendorf's PD model this year I "gamified" my 8th grade class for the second quarter. I watched kids grow and push themselves in ways that I had not previously seen. They were doing homework on Friday nights for fun. They were pushing me to keep up with them in terms of information and content and activities. My husband (@keehner87) then took the model and adapted it to his classroom setting. 

3. It's okay to fail - in fact, it should be encouraged. Failure is how we learn, learning from that failure is how we improve, and it is a natural part of the path to greatness. If you can learn how to fail, you can learn anything - because when you truly "learn how to fail" you also learn how to persevere, improve, and ultimately accomplish great things. When a lesson doesn't work the right way, I reteach it or at the very least make changes for next year. If a student doesn't get the material, we look for ways that s/he can get the information another way. Learning to fail is just as important as learning to succeed, and this is an especially important skill if you follow #2 - taking chances on something new.

To be continued...

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