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My Classroom is my Business

Sometimes I feel like I am still a first-year teacher.  I still love teaching as much as I did the first year.  In fact, I love it more!  I am still searching for new ideas and lessons, I still get excited and nervous when trying something new, and I am still looking for ways to grow and learn.  The one thing that has changed is that I am not afraid to take risks. In fact, I relish any opportunity to do so!  I can often be heard saying the following in my classroom:

"I have something I want to try today, and I'm soooo excited about it.  It might go really well or really bad!  Let's hope it goes well."

"Hey kids! I found this really neat extension I want to show you today.  Let me show you how to install and use it.  Then you can play around with it!"

"I've never done this before, so you kids are going to try it out for me and let me know what you think?"

"So, I'd like you to reflect on my lesson today and tell me what you thought."

This year I told my kids that they are my customers, and I am here to serve them.  I believe that, and that's how I am approaching my year.  What can I do to meet every one of my customer's needs?  What can I do to make my place of business (my classroom) inviting?  How will I address customers who are not satisfied and not getting what they need?  How will I know whether my business is successful?

With the first two weeks of school behind me, I can say that they were two of my best weeks!  Yet, I see some things that need tweaking.  For example, I am implementing station rotations one block day a week to allow students to work with me in small groups.  I especially want to use this time to provide students with feedback on their writing.  I was thrilled with the opportunity to have just eight students at a time to work with!  I was able to give them lots of comments and suggestions, as well as answer questions.  

Yet, I am not 100% thrilled with how the other stations went.  Two of the stations required students to work independently on their Chromebooks on Noredink or Newsela.  The other station involved reading a story, listening to a rap about plot (we'd already had a lesson on plot, so this was a review), and completing a plot diagram with their group members.  Looking back, I think I should have read the story with the students and discussed it rather than having them do that part in their station. There was a plot twist at the end, and several students didn't "get it".   Also, I think it might be better to have just one of the stations be working independently. I am going to work on making the other stations more active and engaging.    I think this will be a pretty easy fix.

Overall, I think the station rotations will end up being a worthwhile addition to my classroom.  Honestly, I was pretty amazed at how well my students did with following directions and completing the tasks without me standing over them!

On another note, I try to include brain breaks in my classroom.  Most of my students love them.  I got them on video playing Clumps.  We pushed back the desks, and I turned on some upbeat music. Then, I yelled out a number and students had to form a "clump" with that number of people. HILARIOUS!


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