I always think it's funny for teachers to celebrate New Year's in January--there should be a holiday just for us in May! That's really when the new year begins in the classroom. :)
I do try to be reflective and look back on the year so far, to see what I can change for the all-important second half of the game. This has been a challenging year for me. A lot of the tricks that have worked in the past are not working for me this year. Some days I go home feeling pretty defeated. Of course that just means we change what play we are going to run and get right back in the game. (Can you tell I was watching Friday Night Lights on DVD over the break?)
Anyway, here's my to-do list for the upcoming rest of the school year:
1) Connect with parents better. I always have staff kids in my class (my record has been 4 at one time). I find myself stopping them in hall to share an anecdote or dropping an e-mail--"Johnny cracked us up today, guess what he said", etc. I am going to try to start e-mailing or sending a positive note to all my parents on a weekly basis.
2) Focus on my small group instruction. We moved, then had a week of testing :(, then report card assessments I needed to do individually. The students are definitely going to have to get back to that individualized instruction, especially in reading.
3) Have more fun! I love to incorporate art and music into our activities-it just seemed like that would be frowned upon in our test-prep mode. The kids are definitely going to be getting their hands dirty!
4) Doing more cooperative group activities. I think I shied away from this a bit this year because my kids can't get past hanging up their backpacks in the morning without fighting over a certain hook! Seriously, they will argue over who is last in line-will argue over anything. They need that experience with working in groups on a project.
5) This one is more for my administration--track my data better. I know, it just sounds ridiculous coming from a Kindergarten teacher but we have weekly assessments they want broken down by objective and what percentage mastered which objective. 10 years ago it was who could cut and who could play nicely with others; now it's how many words per minute they read for fluency. We have to do what we have to do-so I need to find a more effective way of doing that.
Just thought I'd share what I was thinking about. I asked the kids to write their resolutions before the break-pertaining to academics-gave them examples of learning how to read better, add, etc. My favorite one was the little girl who wrote she wanted to learn how to bowl! :) Now that could be data I can track! I just don't think she'd want me to be the one to teach her that skill-I get my bowling and golf mixed up-golf scores are high and bowling scores are low.
Hope everyone has a very Happy New Year! Can you believe it's going to be 2012 already!