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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

10 Resolutions to Feed Your Enthusiasm

Although I think that many teachers write their New Year’s resolutions in July, for many winter break gives the opportunity to take a few deep breaths and dream!  I got an email from a friend just as break was starting; she had great hopes for reading some books, writing some curriculum, grading some papers, meeting for lunch, etc.  Just 5 short days later she was suffering from a cold and lacking all motivation.  She was dreading the end of vacation and pleading for “one more day.”  The New Year is a great time for a mind makeover.  

10 Resolutions to Feed your Enthusiasm

1.        Crank it up:  Take that one assignment and/or project and crank it up a notch by integrating technology.  Give your students a list of great web 2.0 tools and let them decide which ones will help them show what they have learned.  Ask your media specialist for help or check out this great livebinder “Web Tools for Teachers by Type” to get you started.
2.       Let go of some control.  Give your students a choice:  Let them pick the topic, assessment, tool they are going to use, or even their seat! 
3.       Give kids more responsibility:  for some odd reason my students were quite capable of believing they knew more than me about some things.  Let them be the expert in the room.  Do 5 minutes of “you teach me” at the end of each class.
4.       Try something new:  Figure out something new about a piece of technology that you own – your camera, tv, car, phone…..or try out twitter or Facebook, be cool in your own head.
5.       Tune into their feelings:  It is easy to jump on a kid sleeping in class, not hear the tone of others, not see the baggage they are carrying.  Tune into your students with an empathetic eye.
6.       Ask for help from a colleague. Go across the hall or go across the world.  Ask your colleagues for some ideas for the topic you are teaching next week and tweak them to your needs.  (and don’t forget to share back….just like those that use online recipes are always saying I LOVED that recipe but I substituted chocolate for bacon, nuts for peas and potato chips for lettuce). 
7.       Make it real:  tie in current events, look for youtube videos, make connections to your student’s daily lives. Ask:   Can you give us an example from the classroom?  Example from the real world?  Example from your life?
8.        Be ungoogleable!  Encourage thinking by asking the right questions.    Ask your students to:
Elaborate and clarify:  What do you mean by…?  Can you tell me more about…?  I wonder if…? 
Build on or challenge a person’s ideas:  What might be other points of view?  Do you agree?
9.       Get to the point!  What are you REALLY trying to teach?   What is the true essential learning? 
10.   Get your mojo back.  Reboot!  Clean your slate and theirs, have the students reintroduce themselves.  Reintroduce yourself and your 2014 expectations.  Dwell on things that “make your day.”
11.   Count your blessings:  for every one thing you NEED, give thanks for something you HAVE.
Okay, so I went one over!  What are your resolutions for this bright and shiny new year?


  1. Thanks this was a refreshing article.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I am always looking for ways to jumpstart thinking and create an engaging environment for teachers and students alike.

  2. Great thoughts, amiga! I'd add, "Have kids tell a story about their learning or their community and share it with the world." ;^)

  3. Love it! There are so many great (and easy) ways to share - that should be on everyone's list! PS. I just did number 4 - learned how to scan multiple pages into one document. Done!

  4. Love this article. Very Student Centered and great advice. I will pass it on to the educators I work with. I have showing students how to use JOTNOT PRO from their idevices to scan documents into multiple page PDF's and keep adding artifacts from a single student into that student's booklet. What did you use for your multiple page PDF's.

  5. Thanks Lucie! Sounds like you are way ahead of me in the scanning department, I was just using simple HP software. I love the idea of being able to go back and add artifacts. Thanks for sharing!