Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#OneNewThing to Jump-Start Your School Year!

It certainly is not an uncommon feeling--arriving home on a Sunday evening after an eventful weekend at a conference or professional development session, and with your mind still racing you start to think about all of the amazing ideas you experienced and how excited you are to flip your classroom overnight.

By the time you research four more of your favorite topics online, you realize your Monday morning alarm is right around the corner, and you haven’t quite figured out how to make those four favorite topics really jive in your classroom yet.  The next thing you know, those four activities (and the laundry list of other brilliant ideas) have slowly made its way to the back burner after Monday meetings, got wedged under some papers during the Hump Day push, and eventually was lost to the abyss over the weekend, only to be found in a pinch at the start of another busy week. That brand new classroom will now have to wait until the next long weekend, school break, or summer vacation.  Been there, right?
Cue the entrance music for #onenewthing.  The concept of “one new thing” is simple--leave the conference on Sunday afternoon only after identifying one new thing that you can begin implementing immediately on Monday morning.  The simplicity of the concept is what makes it so successful! We are so much more inclined to follow through with one thing on Monday rather than everything! “One new thing” has held me accountable to rolling out these great practices sooner and more effectively!

Some helpful hints to make #onenewthing successful:

1. Call on your tribe!
It is certainly less daunting to jump right in if you have your most trustworthy colleagues joining you as well! Find one thing that you all can implement right away, work out the kinks together, and celebrate the successes as well!
2. Tap into your PLN!
Reach out to those who may have already tried a similar idea, first.  Connect to discover any obstacles they came across while beginning implementation, and learn some new tips and tricks that may alleviate any initial anxiety.  Then, pay it forward and share your growing pains, adaptations, and successes with others!
3. Trust your students!
One of the most intimidating feelings is beginning something new when you do not feel like an “expert” at it yet.  We are constantly challenging our students to push their boundaries and as educators we need to do the same! Spend some of that Sunday afternoon time figuring out how you can apply your new training within a lesson, and work through it with your students.  It can be a good thing for students to see teachers problem solving through some of these new challenges in order to gain mastery of the task at hand!


Onward and upward!
After spending a lot of valuable time expanding our knowledge base and refining our craft, we need to get these great ideas into the hands of our students as soon as possible!  With summer slowly coming to a close, start to think about one new thing you can roll out to begin the school year.  Write it down, find a member of your tribe to collaborate with, make a plan, and watch it flourish!

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