Every summer seems to go quicker than the last, and as a teacher there is always an endless checklist of to-do’s. Whether it be updating current curriculum, creating fun activities, writing formative assessments, or evaluating the past year’s data, even on breaks our job is never done. So, how do I make the most of the first few weeks of school, when I am not ready to put down my beach towel and romance novel quite yet?
Here are four reminders that have helped me get back into the swing of the school year.
1. ONE new, big idea
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Start with one great idea that you can try and share with your colleagues. This may be the way in which you introduce grammar, how you hold your students accountable for speaking in the target language, or creating real-life experiences where your classroom learning can come to life. If each of us comes up with one idea, as a professional learning community, we will have an entire toolbox.
2. Student voice and choice
The first few days of school should be devoted to icebreakers, course objectives, and goal setting. Students should have the opportunity to showcase what they already know (I’m thinking a fun game of Scattergories or Password with their groups) and plan for this year’s purpose. Listen and learn as they give you information on their needs. Provide an introductory questionnaire in the target language, or let students interview each other about their language goals and achievements. The more you know about your students, the easier it will be to modify lessons and adapt the curriculum to fulfill your students’ interests throughout the year.
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