Friday, July 21, 2017

Breakthrough classrooms

Breakthrough Classrooms

This summer, I was lucky enough to take part in a training at my school called breakthrough classrooms. The goal of the course is to learn how to adapt my classroom for the changing learning styles of our current students.  My ultimate goal is to transform my instruction and not just make a minor change for the sake of change.  I want my instruction to enrich their curiosity for knowledge. 

Over the last couple of years, I have begun my transformation by flipping my classroom.  I took my major "lectures," videotaped them, and posted them on YouTube for my students and the world to use.  Having the students watch the videos instead of me lecturing opened up class time for the students to work on project based learning and sessions to help students that are struggling or further advancement.  

As a result of flipping my classroom, my classroom is no longer set up in rows of desks with students listening to the teacher standing at the front of the room.  It's busy.  It can be chaotic.  Students are working on different pieces of work at different times.  But it works for me.  Unfortunately, some don't always understand that my chaotic classroom is still productive.  

More importantly, my physical space needed to change.  I started small with letting my students rearrange the classroom space as they needed.  This year, I plan to do more with additional flexible seating.  My school has also agreed to get rid of my old connected desks and get me some new ones that are a bit more flexible. I don't want the district to spend a fortune, but I want something that is more functional.

The last thing I hope to establish is a bit of mindfulness in my daily routine to benefit not only me, but my students as well.  I know it is something minor in many cases, but in our society, our brains are working at full speed and we are in a state of fight or flight almost constantly.  We just never stop.  I notice sometimes that I just sit down and sigh.  I need to remember to sit and relax and take a deep breath once in a while.  And I know my students need it as well.  They all complain about how stressed they are and how crazy things are between school, work and sports.  For the health of everyone, we should teach our students how to take a step back once in a while and declutter our brains.  It has been shown that this can actually help us to focus better on the task at hand instead of trying to multitask constantly.  I think our students will see more success in their classes if they can find a way to shut out the rest of the noise and just focus on the tasks at hand.

I am so excited to begin the new school year.  I can't wait to try out some of the new things that I learned this summer in my classes.  

For now, I am going to focus on enjoying my summer with my family day by day.