How to Set Your Vision for the New School Year - Down River Resources | Your Elementary Math Guide

How to Set Your Vision for the New School Year

Are you ready to rock the new school year? Then, join me as we plan for the best school year ever! Whether you are a new teacher or a seasoned teacher, you may be feeling the weight of the world as the new school year approaches. Perhaps you have a new superintendent, administrator, curricula, or expectations! (This seems to happen a little too often to ease my mind!)  If you want to have the best school year ever, you'll need the key to unlock it. The key to successful school year is... a plan! Whether it be curriculum planning or curriculum pacing, I want to help keep you afloat this school year! If you are ready to take over your dining room table or kitchen floor, you'll be at it in no time!

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Beginning the School Year with the End in Mind

Ben Franklin, the American President and time management guru said, "Failing to plan, is planning to fail." 

The man behind the "7 Habits of Highly Successful People," Stephan Covey states: "To begin with the end in mind means you start with a clear understanding of your destination."

Where are you going? What's your destination? 

As I mentor new teachers, I ask this question: "By the end of the year, where do you want your students to be?" 

YOUR TURN: Think for a moment and complete this sentence, "By the end of the year, I want my students to..."

If you don't have your sentence yet, don't fret! There's still time. Write the sentence starter on a notepad and come back to it after you've considered it for some time.

Teachers wear many hats. Often times, we are relied on as teachers, counselors, social workers, janitors, parents, and a plethora of other titles that reach beyond our job descriptions. Teachers, don't often seem themselves wearing one of the most important hats though. 

Take a second and look in the mirror. You are a designer!

Teachers are designers of their classroom as they design the curriculum, lessons, and activities that fill the days, weeks, and months of the school year. If you are constantly aware of your end goal, you will design all of the happenings in your room to meet your specific purpose.

How can you enhance your vision for your students?

If your end goal is that your students are able to master the grade level standards, become a student of the standards. 

  • Read the standards for your grade level or subject area. 
  • Look up words that are foreign to you. 
  • Watch videos on the internet about how something works!

If your end goal is that your students pass the state assessment, become a student of the assessment.

  • Download a copy of previous assessments. 
  • Ask yourself, "What is the content? (What standard is being addressed?) What is the context? (How is this standard being tested? Is the information being presented using a diagram or graph?) 
  • Study the way the questions are worded. (TEACHER TIP: Ask questions in a similar format throughout the school year so that students are familiar with the language!)
  • Look for patterns across the questions.
  • Look for patterns across the years of released tests.

Becoming a student of the standards or assessments takes time. You may not have all of the time right now. Make a note of this practice and get to it as soon as you can! You will not regret it, friend!

Texas athlete, J.J. Watt, reminds us that, "If you don't have that vision for the end goal, you have no clue where you're going, and you're going to work very hard to go nowhere."

Now, that you have a vision for your new school, you should be ready to roll up your sleeves and get messy and learn about planning your best school year ever! Stay tuned for the next edition!

What is your vision for your students this school year?

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