I've been out of school for a couple of weeks now and I've been reflecting on how it went, what to keep, what to change, and what just needs a few tweaks. Here are a few of my thoughts...
- My schedule change WAS amazing. To go from a 6 day rotation to every other day made a huge difference. Everything got better - behavior, my routines, target language usage by me & the students, what the students could do in Spanish, the assessments I could get done, etc, etc. I had to pinch myself throughout the year to make sure it was real. The best part is that I get to keep this schedule next year. Yay for awesome administrators!!!
- Classroom management is always a top priority for me. I refine my practice in this regard a little more each year. This year I started doing bell ringers and I loved how it became routine and gave me a moment to breathe as one class left and another was coming in. They started with me writing them on the board (way too hard to keep up with) to having them in a Word document (couldn't quite fit them on the screen) to finally having a "Duh!" moment and putting them in Powerpoint. With Powerpoint I could get the date, the bell ringer, and the learning targets for the day in one slide and then just hit next when a new grade level came in. Sometimes it's small changes that make the biggest difference!
- Tracking student participation and growth using the Si, se puede bubbles was a BIG win! I will definitely keep this system for next year although I'm already brainstorming ways I might modify it. I had a lot of students get bubbles for the same learning targets over and over this year so I'd like to somehow figure out they can get those, show growth, and then move on to the next targets.
- My monthly contest where students earned tickets for using certain phrases worked really well. The kids remembered and used them throughout the year and by the end I didn't even have to hand out the tickets. My only concern is that this incentive and the Si se puede bubbles rewards extroverted students over shyer students. I'm not sure what I can do to make sure that I'm reaching these students as well. Something to ponder over the summer....
- My biggest concern for next year is that we're in the middle of redistricting which means instead of a few new students who have never had Spanish or another World Language before but a LOT of new students. I'm hoping to continue on in my curriculum and just try to pull these kids into the fold with some extra differentiation but I might need to see how that goes and be flexible. I don't want a bunch of frustrated students. I also need to plan more get to know you activities in the beginning to build those relationships as well as make sure I hit the rules and routines EXTRA hard since I'll have more students who won't be familiar with them or me.
So those are my thoughts as I plan for next year. How was your 2015-16 school year? What changes will you be making for the upcoming year? What worked really well for you this past year? Share in the comments below!