Core scripture: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Message: I have this tradition. Every first day back to school to get work done in my room, I create a to do list. It includes everything from organization to creating new lessons to bulletin boards to whatever needs to get done. This year I had an idea. Why not blog about my list? Why not go above and beyond to brainstorm and discover what the Lord needs me to implement in my classroom this year?
I want to toss out the old and put on the new. Fasten your seatbelts. This might be a bumpy ride through my whirling mind! Ladies and gents, it is not just time to make some changes. It is time to BE THE CHANGE!
- Create a Done Zone: We all have those kids that finish early and look bored. Why not give them a station in my room that can provide some coloring sheets, brain teasers, or other extension activities? The Done Zone will be a place where students can go if they get done early.
- Costumes galore: I have been known to toss on a wig or a hat in the past to teach different lessons. I want to do that more! 7th graders love the different characters I portray, and I want to do this more often to make learning fun!
- Higher Expectations: My expectations totally lowered last year in what I expected from students. Know what happened? My students dipped right off to more apathy. Students will rise to the level of expectation set before them. I need to set the bar higher!
- Start From Scratch: Last year was a complete washout. Some remote students lost an entire year of learning because they chose not to show up for class. It is time to go back to the basics. I need to assess where the kids are at right now, start simple, and build knowledge from there.
- Self-Evaluation: I got a remarkable idea at Summer Conference to evaluate my teaching. Why not video small snippets of my lessons? Then I could analyze my teaching. Who am I calling on? Where am I facing? Are students engaged? Did I get my good side? I could even share the video with a trusted colleague or even administration to get their opinion.
- Movement: I get stuck in the same rut of leaving kids in their seats the entire hour. It is absolutely murder for those ADHD kids. I want to do some brain breaks. I want to get the oxygen flowing to the brain. My classroom should be a place where students are up and moving around, never creating a dull moment.
- Team Building: I always have high aspirations of this and then never follow through! Why not take five to ten minutes to let the kids complete a challenge together? Team building creates class camaraderie, it strengthens problem solving ability, and it allows students to display teamwork, life skills that are essential for the next level.
- Positive Parent Phone Calls: I got away from this last year, thinking it was a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth. I need to call home on a regular basis, telling parents how their children are improving and growing. It takes all of two minutes, and it is well worth the affirmation to bridge the gap between school and home.
- Transition Chants/Movements: So much time is wasted in transitioning from one activity to the next. I want to smooth these out with Ron Clark chants and movements. For example, I might call out, “Journals ready!” and the students might pound their desk three times and open their journals, singing out a chat back to me, every kid ready to work.
All right! Now that I have listed the changes I want to make, it is time to BE THE CHANGE! I need to make it happen. And you guys can hold me accountable. Shoot me an e-mail that says, “Hey, Clint, how have those positive parent phone calls been going for you?”
You all go out and do the same. Mix things up. Save what needs to be saved—if it aint broke, don’t fix it—but never be content with where you are at. Be a lifelong learner, and freshen up your classroom with new ideas.
Challenge: What is God asking you to change this year? Get your lists ready and start brainstorming. Once you create that list, keep it simple. Don’t try to make changes all at once. Pick one or two to focus on, and then build from there. Share the list with a friend to hold you accountable. Share ideas with colleagues that work for you. Take baby steps forward, making every moment in your classroom intentional.
Quote: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” (Henry Ford)
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Pray that Christian teachers can be the change they want to see in education.
- Pray for the transition for students, teachers, and parents alike back into the new school year.
- Praise God for the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child.
Free Teacher Resources: Gateways is a fantastic Christian teacher organization that thrives on empowering teachers to know their religious rights. Check out this free website that was e-mailed to me last week!
Just for fun: My buddy Bill Lumbergh has a message for you below:
Prayer: Father, I pray that we can all be the change in this world that you need us to be. May we attack this school year with passion, fervor, and love, all for Your glory. Amen.