Incorporate Back to School with New Learning
There is no rule that says you can’t incorporate back to school with new learning and new curriculum—right from the start. I’m reminded that back-to-school timing is different wherever you are geographically located. That said, back to school for most means returning to school after a holiday or break in learning. Any time there is a break in learning, there is a gap in what could have been done or learned by students. I know that most back-to-school tips include getting acquainted ideas, but with a limited number of hours/days in a school year, revving up those still-vacationing brain cells as quickly as possible needs to happen.
I think most tend to separate the back-to-school, getting-acquainted exercises from the lessons that get the learning cracking again. It doesn’t have to be that way. The best thing to do is look at where you need to begin with the curriculum at the beginning of the school year first. Most teachers know, and of course it will include a great deal of review. There is no reason not to incorporate back-to-school ideas into the substantial teaching necessary. In that way, the first few weeks of school won’t look like you’ve spent it all greeting and meeting, but rather it will be getting student minds back in learning gear, and moving forward.
For a teacher, the benefit of getting back into the real action makes sense, too. Teachers will find out much more about where students are, as well as who they are, if teaching and learning begins right away. It opens up more possibilities for substantial and immediate feedback. Additionally, in most cases school open houses, or parents’ nights, and first parent conferences begin very soon after the opening of school. Having something beyond simple and disconnected back-to-school exercises to share is what teachers need. It is also what parents want to know.
Try incorporating the start of the new year’s curriculum into your back-to-school assignments, rather than having them stand alone. There will always be the new scheduling, specials, lunch, and locker confusion, tools, and transportation issues to deal with as part of back to school. But settling in quickly to the new curriculum tasks, while incorporating back to school, will set the right pattern from the start. Back to school doesn’t mean waiting a week or more to begin new learning.
About the Author:
Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is a Promethean storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.