The start of a new calendar year is a perfect opportunity for a classroom reset. Here are some tips to start off the new semester strong:
- Reflect. Think back on the previous year. What were your top moments? What went well? What were some challenges? How can you bring what you learned from 2018 to make 2019 an even more successful year?
- Plan. Come into the new semester with a strong plan for your classroom. How will you engage students on the first day back from break? Start with what you expect your students to accomplish by the end of the unit and work backwards. The more prepared you are, the less stressed you will be.
- Seating Charts. You’ve had a whole semester to get to know your students and now know who can sit with whom. Have a seating chart starting the first day back and stick with it to minimize classroom chaos.
- Expectations. It has been a while since you’ve seen your students so it doesn’t hurt to go over your classroom rules and expectations to be sure that everyone is on the same page from the start. This is also a great opportunity to add in any new expectations after reflecting on the previous semester. Don’t be afraid to try something new, but remember that consistency is key.
- Procedures. A successful classroom is like a well oiled machine. With only one teacher and 25 plus students, it is essential to have procedures in place. How do they enter the classroom? How do you pass out and collect work? Do they use technology? The list goes on and on. Think about what worked well last semester and what could improve for this semester. Once again, consistency and practice is key.
Happy 2019! Here’s to a successful second semester!
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Chelsea Culbert is a proud product of New York public schools where she graduated with her International Baccalaureate diploma. She went off to attain her B.A. in Chemistry with concentrations in Public Health and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies at NYU. While at NYU, she started the chapter of “Strive for College,” a non-profit organization that connects college students as mentors to assist high schoolers throughout the college application and financial aid processes. Immediately after graduation, Chelsea pursued her teaching career with Teach for America Los Angeles. While teaching, Chelsea completed her Master’s degree in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University. Chelsea is currently teaching at her Teach for America placement school in Lincoln Heights where she serves as Department Instructional Lead, Instructional Leadership Team member, and coaches Varsity soccer.
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