Saturday, March 5, 2016

Spring Cleaning for the Classroom

Spring is in the air and that means one thing, spring cleaning.  It's time to clean out the closets and garages and get the house spruced up for the new season.  While I know that spring cleaning takes a lot of work, I also know that it is well worth the effort.  It makes the rest of my spring so much more enjoyable.

Well let's apply that idea to your classroom.  

What are your plans to clean out your classroom.  I'm not talking about cleaning your room or even cleaning out the drawers and closets.  I'm talking about your routines, procedures, and processes that help all kids learn at higher levels.  As you are getting ready for spring break, ask yourself these questions?
  1. Where is student behavior doing well, and what routines should continue this spring?
  2. Where is students behavior lacking, and what do I need to change to better address it?
  3. What activities promote higher levels of active engagement, and how can I get more of these activities into my instruction?
  4. Where is engagement lacking, and what do I need to do differently to reengage my students this spring?
  5. Where and how can I ramp up the rigor for high achievers in a more personalized and meaningful way?
  6. Where and how can I give more support to struggling students that better addresses their deficits?
The answers to these questions will tell you what you need to address and what you need to "clean out" of your practice before spring break.  

Why do you need "Spring Cleaning" in your classroom before spring break?  

The answer is pretty simple.  When the students return from spring break, they will be fresh.  Upon their return, they will most open to new routines, motivational strategies and higher expectations.  They will also be more receptive to more challenging activities that require more movement, interaction and conversation, and they will more flexible than at any point in the year simply for one reason.  They will have been out of the "school" routine for 11 days.  

Spring weather brings with it a desire to be more active which is why behavior often gets more exuberant than usual.   It is important to remember that without a specific plan to adjust to the "spring" behavior that will return to your classroom after break, instruction has a strong chance of suffering.   Don't miss this "once a year" opportunity to do some spring cleaning in your classroom.  It may be just the thing that will meet your kids where they currently are and take them to where they need to be. 

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