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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

New Ideas I Loved This Year

I won't lie, this school year was so tough in so many ways. But as I look back, I'm pretty surprised at how many new ideas I tried that were a huge success this year! Today I wanted to share some of my favorite new ideas that I'll be taking into my teaching next year- I hope you find some new ideas to try out yourself!

1. Carpet spots

The brand name versions have always been out of my price range and the knockoffs were never quite what I needed, so until this year I only used tape on the floor to mark off spots on my carpet. But thanks to social distancing for in person teaching the options available exploded last year and I am happy to report that the ones I used held up beautifully all year! I didn't have to replace any of them and they looked practically brand new when I pulled them up at the end of the school year. 

2. Sub Plan Setup

For pre-planned absences I will never go back to my old way of doing sub plans! I still kept my old sub tub for emergencies, and used them a few times when I had to be out unexpectedly, but for days when I knew ahead of time I was able to carry on with teaching content way more than I could otherwise by recording myself introducing activities, and embedding those videos in google slides for the substitute to show in class. The students and the substitutes loved this format too, so I will definitely be continuing with this strategy! Read more details about how I did it in this post: 

3. Secret Sticky

So this idea was not entirely new for me this year- I did this once years ago- but I had completely forgotten about the strategy until this year and I did it more thoroughly this year than I did before. The last month or so of school I started writing short notes of affirmation and leaving them on students' desks or chairs in their homeroom for them to find when they came to school in the morning. Sometimes it was music-related, sometimes it was something I appreciate about their character or personality, but I made sure I got to everyone before the last day of school. Besides the students who gave me a hug or told me thank you after finding their note, I had students show me at the end of the year where they had kept their sticky note so they could read it to themselves every day, parents who messaged me to thank me for having such a positive impact on their child's self esteem, and homeroom teachers who reported the squeals of delight and the dramatic change in the students' demeanor after getting a note. Next year I want to start earlier in the year- maybe halfway through when we come back in January- so it's more spread out and more unpredictable when they might get a note, but I'll definitely be doing this again. Here's the post I wrote on that strategy if you want more details on how this fits in with my other "happy notes" etc:

Stay tuned: next week I'll be sharing my favorite new lesson ideas I loved this year and will be putting into my regular rotation! What are some new things you tried this year and loved? I'd love to hear them in the comments!

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