At the end of the school year last year I realized I really needed to up my game in order to reach my students in a more positive and effective way.  After having baby #2 and being out for maternity leave then going through chronic ear infection with my little one, I just did not feel like I was on top of “my game” last year.

“…I just did not feel like I was on top of “my game” last year.  So, at the start of the summer, I decided to do something about it.”

So, at the start of the summer, I decided to do something about it.  I created a summer reading list, which includes Teach Like a Pirate, The Innovator’s Mindset, and The Pepper Effect and set big goals for myself including becoming a Google Certified Educator, which I am still working on, and really reflecting through a blog.  I mean, what better way for you reflect on yourself than to hold yourself accountable to others through writing.

So, with that being said…

Here are my “TOP 12 CLASSROOM INNOVATION IDEAS” I hope to incorporate throughout the school year along with links!  Mind you, these are in NO particular order because I want to do them all equally as much.

FIRST WEEK ACTIVITIES

After reading Teach LIke A Pirate, I realize I need to really make a bold statement at the beginning of the school year.  One of the things Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like A Pirate, mentioned was using a Playdoh activity for students to model characteristics of themselves and then explain what those creations mean to them.  I really love this idea! I also really love the idea of an affirmation wall though I do not have the wall space so I plan to do both in an interesting way!

Day 1: Students will be set up with an iPad and will have a task list which includes the following: Using devices to scan a QR code with a question from polleverywhere.com and live responses, Google classroom activation, Google form of interests with live feed of results.  We will be discussing results and more!

Day 2/3: When students arrive there will be paper plates in all spaces along with markers and a can of Playdoh.  Students will complete an affirmation quote on the paper plate using the markers. From there create a model that represents them using the Playdoh, take a picture of their creation and add it to a collaborative Google slide presentation!  I will take the plates and cut them in a variety of ways and tape them to my front door so it is the first thing they see when they walk into my classroom.

“How can we make our marketing classes go viral for something professional and meaningful?”

GOING VIRAL

Give the students ownership in their learning while making it real-world applicable and teaching digital citizenship is a huge goal PLUS they really love the idea of going viral.  My challenge to them this year is to answer the following question: “How can we make our marketing classes go viral for something professional and meaningful?”

This leads me to my next idea: TECHNOLOGY.  

I utilize a classroom set of iPads and this year have been given a Mac desktop computer as a central location for editing of podcasts, eBooks, videos and more.

Students will be encouraged to create visual representations of their learning using Apple and Google applications.  We will share these in various outlets to reach our audience. (I teach marketing so identifying a target market is a big part of this!)  Check out some of the ideas at:

  • Ditch the Textbook
  • Teach Like A Pirate
  • The Innovator’s Mindset

PROJECT BOARDS, let’s talk about these!

I am so excited to incorporate more choice-based learning.  I really want my kids to show me their learning through whatever means they deem most impactful to their personal growth!

In various lessons, students will be given options which will allow them to choose the method they want to show me their learning.  Some options will include individual, partner or groups of three with writing, technology and writing or creation through art and music.  The assignments will run on a point system which will require them to reach a number of points based on the difficulty. This assignment is adapted from a wonderful group of middle school history teachers within the district I currently work!

MAKING IT RELATABLE TO THOSE ALL IMPORTANT SOFT SKILLS

I was able to attend Chad Foster’s training this summer which emphasized the skills our students most struggle with when entering the workforce…WHENEVER that may happen!

We will be looking at all of the key soft skills and making podcasts and videos about what these look like in the workforce and why they are important.  So make sure you are following my blog to see some of these come to life!
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT: The rest of these relate to classroom management strategies.  While I feel like most days I have a good grip on my classes, I also feel like I need to do more.  There is ALWAYS room for improvement and it is a must to have several tools in your tool box so here are my new tools:

“My goal this year is to make sure I send/make ONE POSITIVE email or call to parents about each student.”

POSITIVITY FOR THE WIN

I teach well over 100 different students within 6 different preps throughout the school year.  My goal this year is to make sure I send/make ONE POSITIVE email or call to parents about each student.  This sounds so easy but sometimes it is the thing that gets put on the back burner when you think about all of the other things going on in a school day.  This year I will be better at this!

CHOOSE WHERE YOU SIT…BUT MAKE IT GOOD!

Flexible seating is one of those things I have always shrugged off a bit.  This summer after reading some wonderful blog posts by the www.cultofpedagogy.com, I feel like this can transform my classroom and truly help with classroom management.   Be on the lookout for a blog posts about what this looks like in my classroom and how it is working this school year!

GIVING BACK MAKES YOUR HEART SMILE—

Giving back to the community is so much more than simply helping others and, at times, I think many of us have forgotten the impact this can have on an individual’s soul.  I want my students to not only give back but find a passion, find a meaning, be humble and grow. So we will work to incorporate this in various ways throughout the school year.

“This year, they will make one or two professional and personal growth goals each quarter and we will reflect on this periodically.”

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL VISION BOARDS

I found this post titled, “Goal Setting with Student-Created Vision Boards in Google Slides” written by the creator of www.shakeuplearning.com.  Man was this article inspiring so much I had already pinned it in Pinterest and didn’t even realize it!

I began incorporating a social responsibility grade last year and it was a rubric in which students evaluated their personal performance throughout the six weeks.  They graded themselves and provided evidence for each criteria.

This year, they will make one or two professional and personal growth goals each quarter and we will reflect on this periodically.  Students will still be evaluating themselves but it is based on their own evaluated strengths and weakness which connect back Chad Foster’s identified soft skills.

CHANGE THE SCENERY

I have a classroom with a window this year!!! A window to the OUTSIDE!  The first time ever in my six years of teaching!!! I am a little excited about it if you cannot tell.  In addition, we are located by an exit with a wonderful outside area.

So we will have class outside this year at times!  Sometimes we will use sidewalk chalk to show our learning, maybe even washable sidewalk paints.  Something to get us out of the classroom!

Teach Like A Pirate discusses some really great ideas for changing scenery to optimize student learning.

BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT/POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

So I will be the first to admit that I am not so good at following through with these types of things.  I have tried tickets and prizes and more but it tends to die off at some point in the school year.

This year, students will have a behavior management notebook which I will give to them if we have an issue past a verbal warning in class.  I really like the idea discussed on www.savvyscaffolds.blogpost.com.  

I have also added a Dr. Suess Oh The Places You’ll Go theme for the classroom.  Each period has a container purchased from my favorite teacher store, Target, and a bag of cute little fuzzies, purchased from Amazon.  As they work collaboratively and innovatively the class will be rewarded with some “warm and fuzzies.” As they reach various lines, they will receive rewards in which they decided on at the beginning of the year on their Google form survey.

LAST AND FINAL IDEA…DRUM ROLL PLEASE…

CELL PHONE CHARGING STATION

While I am the first to say that I LOVE incorporating technology in the classroom, cell phones can be a distraction and at times flat overused.  Since we do have a classroom set of iPads, I really want to push the kids in that direction.

This year I will have a cell phone charging station.  I saw this in a shared tweet by @CultofPedagogy. Here is the link to the wonderful idea: Mud And Ink Teaching, “A Cell Phone Policy That Works.”

Happy Teaching!!

Mixin’ It Up EDU

 

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