Ring in the New Year in the Classroom!

Start off the New Year in your classroom with a review of expectations, a Picture Book and a crafty piece of inspiration!  #middleschool #teaching #freeprintable

When we return to school after any break, I always find it helpful (and I daresay necessary) to spend a day reviewing expectations and setting the tone for learning.

I do this by first playing an interactive expectations game that goes something like this:

1.  I write out questions on one set of index cards like
-What does it mean to be on time?
-Where can a student find make-up work?

2.  Then I create a matching set of answer cards.  

3.  As students enter the room, they each get one card.

4.  After the bell rings, I welcome everyone back and then ask them to find the person that has the answer to the question or the question that matches their answer.

5.  Once all partners have been located, we stand in a circle.  For each pair, the question person reads their question out loud and then the answer person reads their answer out loud as we go around the circle.  I elaborate as necessary.

Expectations reviewed!

Next, to set the tone, I like to read a picture book and discuss how this relates to our learning path for the semester.

This time, I'd like to share "The Book of Mistakes" by Corinna Luyken

This book does a great job of showing how one can turn mistakes into something bigger and better.  To me, this book shows that progress, not perfection is the goal.

And that is a perfect message for students to hear because I have found that perfectionism actually drives a great deal of anxiety in students.  

Now I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist by any means, but I have been told by my students year after year that letting them know that they are not expected to be perfect actually took a burden from them and made them feel more comfortable in the classroom.

And for those students that struggle, the message of progress is music to their ears as this seems like something they can manage and even achieve.  

To help students frame their progress, I created a little "craftivity":

Free Printable for your Middle School students to start the New Year with in your classroom!  #teaching #goalsetting #fun #ideas

It's a quilt square that each student can make and determine how they can make progress.  It will show how we're all connected and will make a nice bulletin board display, don't you think?

The print and digital version are in my members-only resource library - Sign up today!

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