Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Begin as you mean to go on

Years ago, I abandoned the first-day ritual of reading through the syllabus. Instead, my students and I get to know each other by playing Human Bingo or Two Truths and a Lie or other icebreaker games. This has worked pretty well for the past few years, but I decided to shake things up a bit this year.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

6 New [School] Year's Resolutions

In the last two weeks of August, I start getting butterflies in my stomach. I visit my classroom and visualize the best possible seating arrangement. I start reading all the articles, books and blog posts on education that I've been meaning to get to all year. I spruce up my teacher website and start planning the first week of lessons--HOTS! Active learning! Creative collaboration! Mobile technology! All in the first week! I convince myself that this is the year that everything will go right. Obviously, this fluttery anticipation and idealistic planning do not last long. At all. Maybe to mid-September. But I think that a period of disconnected dormancy (July) followed by a period of excited planning (August) can be healthy for our professional lives. The question is, how can we keep the August spark from dying out?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A virtual art museum

In the last week before exams, everyone goes crazy. It's mid-June--or, if we are unlucky like we have been for the past two years, it's practically late June--and we're all ready to be DONE. I'm a little crazy, for sure, and I think my students are just counting down to the end. In the past, I've tried to cram the curriculum that I didn't get to into the last few days, or I've done "global review" in preparation for the final exam. This just adds to the craziness and the desperate countdown. So this year, I made a promise to myself (and to my students) that we wouldn't succumb to the madness; instead of forgetting about the good pedagogy and just sucking it up until it was all over, we'd actually do something memorable and worthwhile.