Thursday, June 5, 2014

What Positively Worked... and What Didn't

Now that school is out, I am reflecting on changes for next year.  What do I want to keep?  What do I want to tweak?  What will I never do again?

I am linking up with Stephanie, from Teaching in Room 6 for her helpful linky, What Worked... and What Didn't.

Teaching in Room 6

Brain Breaks
I have never used brain breaks before this year, but I love them.  My favorite ones are these, from Third Grade Thoughts.  

Brain Breaks for the Classroom

I've also tried some videos, such as the Sid Shuffle.  My students loved these, but I found they work best if used sparingly.  At times, they wound the students up a little too much.  When used them less frequently, they worked much better.

Classroom Committees 
This year, I tried using classroom committees to organize various tasks.  This worked out great.  Ocassionally, a student would comment that they wanted more responsibility in their committee.  I told the class that they would need to be proactive if this was the case.  Several students came up with some additional responsiblities for their committee.  For example, the library committee made a place for students to display their favorite books.

Here are the committees I used.

Next year, my class will be a little larger, so I will need to make a new committee.  I think it will be something like decorating/designers committee.  They can be responsible to take down and put up different displays in the classroom and hallway.

Integrating Technology
I had a lot of fun using technology this year.  Click here for some of the ways we used technology in the classroom this year. Google docs, iMovie, and digital books are a few of the things I tried this year.  I want to continue to expand my use of videos and find other uses for the iPad next year.

Don't get me wrong, I love Kidblog.  So, why didn't it work??? I'm afraid I have to take the blame for this.  I just didn't keep up with it, and it just got "lost" in everything else we were doing.  I definitely want to try this again next year, but I am going to have to relinquish more of the responsibility to the students.  Next year, rather than initiating all the "conversations" myself, I will encourage students to post questions and topics.  I will probably make this a rotating responsibility.  I also want to try book clubs on the blog.  I've heard other teachers try this with great success.

Please let me know if you have a class blog on Kidblog, or any other site.  I would love to hear some ideas on how you use it!

My Filing Cabinet
My closet, shelves, and desk are all pretty well-organized.  My filing cabinet, however, is not.  There will not be a before picture here, but I'm hoping to post a brand new filing system this summer!

In the spirit of moving forward and improving, I am also linking up with my friend, Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for Positivive Thinking Thursday.  This quote by Martin Luther King Jr. says it all!
Love this! 
Every year, I reflect on what went well and what didn't.  Being honest with myself about what didn't work leads to solutions on how to get better and move forward.

Make sure to head over to both of these linkies.   I am on my way over now to check out all the great posts.

Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the week.


  1. I've used Kidblog before- and I liked it as well, and had the same problem keeping up with it. I've experimented using Weebly for Education this year, and found it much easier to handle. Plus, there are a lot more options for adding in video and audio and photos in a drag and drop format that even my second graders mastered easily.
    The Meek Moose

  2. I really like the committees, I might have to try it next year! Do you still do the "regular" classroom jobs or do you just have the committees?

    1. I still have a rotating helper for things like running errands or passing out papers, but the committees take care of just about everything else. This has worked out better than anything else I have tried so far.


  3. The idea of committees sound wonderful! I may have to implement this next year!!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  4. I completely failed at Kidblog. I had one student that was super into it and the rest...not so much. I'm going to try again next year!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  5. I failed at Kidblog too, for the same reasons you listed here. It was just so much to monitor. I think next year, I will begin with a small group of students,not the whole class. I really love your reflection of your year. It is so important to think back! Thanks for linking up, Mary. Sorry the links weren't working yesterday. I think I've fixed that now. :)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  6. I'm hopping over from Teaching in Room 6. I also teach fourth grade.
    I signed up for Kidblog this year and never used it. I want to try again next year.
    Happy Summer!
    Artistry of Education