Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Thursday, 5 January 2017

17 Ideas For 2017

We can get very caught up in the fads of resolutions after Christmas. Fair dues  to anyone who sticks to them but I think it's common knowledge that many will fall by the wayside after the first few weeks of the new year. School on the other hand is a great place for fulfilling new resolutions and goals and the new year, especially after the nice winter break, is a great opportunity to freshen things up teaching wise.

Hopefully you are all heading  back to work on Monday refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for action. Don't bombard yourself with a mountain of goals - you'll never achieve them all! Why not pick a few and if they're going well add to them as the year goes on.

Here are 17 ideas to try at school for 2017:

1. Walk & Talk
Do you have planning meetings? Team teaching meetings? IEP meetings? Why not break away from sitting at tables and chairs that are too small for you and walk some laps of the yard or hall! We're supposed to walk 10,000 steps a day, and despite teachers being on their feet all day, you'd be surprised at the few steps that actually equates to!

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2. Music
Unleash creativity, promote a calm working environment - play music in the classroom. While the children are working why not play some classical music or calming music to help keep noise levels low and concentration high. My infants love when I play 'brain music' for them during written activities.

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3. In-class fitness
New Year, new me. We hear it all the time. Why not try and incorporate a little bit of exercise during lessons. Marching during times tables practice, jogging on the spot for spellings, star jumps for counting in two's - endless possibilities and could be another way of adding up time on if you're trying the 'Run a Mile' initiative in the new year.

4. Newsletters
A lot of your lovely work and activities happen and disappear into history without many knowing they actually ever happened. On the last day of school in December, 2nd class in our school circulated a class newsletter. Every child wrote a little snippet of information about something they did in class that month. It was lovely and a great way of sharing some of the lovely memories the children had about their learning experiences. A fun activity for ICT time perhaps?

5. Inclusive learning.
I love the phrase 'LESS ME, MORE WE'. Why not incorporate this into your teaching? Less isolated learning activities, more group work, pair work, teams etc. Allows for a lot more oral language opportunities which the New Primary Language Curriculum is crying out for.

6. Share your time
Make a conscious effort to give even just a moment of your time to every child. Even if it's just a greeting in the morning, let everyone have a little moment. It's always going to be the case that certain students will take up a lot more of your time that others but it's nice to think that no student would ever be overlooked simply for being quiet, behaving and getting on with their work.
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Image from Pinterest 

7. Compliments
Make someone's day. Share a compliment with each of your students. It's an easy way of promoting positivity. Model complimenting for your students and encourage it. This easily promoted in any class and could tie in nicely with a kindness challenge for your class. Also, why stop with your class, colleagues will appreciate compliments too. Here's a link to some inspiration - 7 Reasons Why You Should  Pay Compliments To Others.

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8. Record the light-bulbs
I read online recently about a teacher in the United States who recorded the 'Ah Ha!' moments his students had. You could share these later or just simply reflect back over them after a tough day at the office!

9. Variety
Our New Year isn't the only one and it's important your students know this. You don't have to get bogged down in resolutions and our traditions, why not let your students investigate Rosh Hashanah 
(Jewish New Year) or the Chinese New Year. Lots of lovely learning opportunities.

10. Communicate
Sometimes we can overlook the good things and can focus too much on highlighting what students are doing wrong or what you don't like about what they are doing. Why not take a different spin on this? Write a note or letter to a student or two each week sharing reflections on what you admire about them. What you like about them as a student or learning. Let them know how great they are!

11. Turn that frown upside down.
It drives me absolutely BATS when people tell me to smile more! Why so serious? Cheer up! Ahhh!! I'm not being grumpy, it's just the way my face chooses to sit. However, I do plan to challenge myself to smile more. Facial expressions are everything, children are very sensitive to them and I know myself I read way too much into people's expressions too. And if anything, it burns more calories to smile rather than frown!
Image result for poem smiling is infectious

Image from: Pinterest
Why not get your students to write their own poetry about smiling?

12. Involve the Parents
There's always opportunities for more parental/guardian involvement. Invite them in for Maths for Fun, Parent & Child Art, Library Time. Or how about changing up homework assignments, send home language games, riddles, interviews for family members! Grandparents are great for getting involved too.

13. Network
There are so many online resources for teachers. So many facebook pages, blogs, websites. Explore, see what you can find. Subscribe to websites - you'd be amazed at how many great free resources you can avail of too. Don't be afraid to contact them either, they wouldn't be online if they weren't willing to communicate with counterparts. I love hearing from followers and talk to teachers most days via Facebook Messenger, Twitter & emails. Don't be shy, come and say hi!

14. Social Media
So many schools and classrooms now are jumping into the world of social media. I did two summer courses on social media and it's place in schools and I have to say they were so informative. Why not set up a Twitter account? Check out the hastag #edchatie for some great ideas and inspiration!

15. Balance
I'm an absolute divil for staying late. Faffing around jumping from job to job in the evening. I want to be 'out the door by four' this year. I'm going back to getting the train in the new year because I feel like I spend my life sitting in traffic, I don't like the stress of it and I actually enjoy getting the train! So this year, who's with me for not staying late in the evenings? No excuses. D.E.A.L - Drop everything and leave!!
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16. Leave it at school
Step away from that bundle of correction. If it's not done, don't take it home. This is the first year that I haven't taken any correction home and it's great. You soon get over that teacher guilt!

17. Embrace the mess
I say every year that I'm going to keep my desk tidy. No more bundles and stacks. This year I'm turning that resolution on it's head, My desk is an ornament. I rarely sit at it during they day, so if things pile up on it then it's just a sign of how busy they day has been!

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Have you any good school resolutions you're planning on trying this year? Be sure to let me know!

Happy New Year everyone and enjoy the last few days of the break.



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