Our students are the most important part of our classroom. We want them to grow and get excited about learning and, well, learn. We want to reach our class in the best way possible. This leads us on a journey to find the best resources, to uncover the newest gadgets, and to try out the most current teaching techniques. Education is ever changing and our classroom should reflect these changes in best practice.
But when is the best time to implement these changes? When should I try out an new technique or a new website? When is the most beneficial time to try out new resources or dip my teacher toe in the lake that is STEM? When should I convert to flexible seating?
NOW! Now is the time to try out new things in your classroom! Don't wait until next year. Try them out now! Here are the 3 reasons why you need to test the classroom waters at the end of the school year.
1. Your students are already settled.
You already know your students, and they already know you. They know your procedures. They know your routines. And they especially know your classroom rules. Now is the perfect time to try something new! You are not starting from scratch. You are just changing a few things in your already fully functioning classroom. So much easier than trying something new at the beginning of the year when you are teaching rules, procedures, and all the while, getting to know your students.
2. It gives you a chance to learn what really works.
Starting at the end of the year lets you know if the technique will work for you or if it is a thumbs-down. These are students you know. You know what generally works for them. You know how they react, and you know how they learn. Trying out something at the end of the year allows you to remove the question of whether it is just the class. It is kind of like keeping all variables constant and changing only one thing. Then you have a much clearer picture of whether that one thing was a success or a failure.
Trying out new teaching at the end of the year also lets you become cognizant of what should be tweaked and modified when you start the next school year. Students love being guinea pigs. I always tell them that we are trying something new and that I want their opinions. You can get some honest and insightful feedback from your students. They will tell you what they think if you just ask.
I did this when I switched to flexible seating. I told the students that they were my test subjects and that I wanted their opinions. They really gave me some thoughtful advice and even helped me develop the rules I would need for implementing flexible seating at the beginning of the year.
3. It chases away the end-of-the-year blues.
Every teacher knows the end of the school year can be BORING! Students check out and only get excited when it is recess time. Teachers also fight the summer blues and count down the number of days left in the school year. This is why the end of the year is the perfect opportunity to start something new! By introducing something for the first time, you infuse your class with excitement. The students suddenly become more focused because they don't know what is going to happen next.
I challenge you to begin to think of next year. What have you read about that you want to try? Flexible seating? STEM? Whole brain learning? Or maybe it is the Daily 5 or writer's workshop? Take the plunge while you have still waters!