Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#LEADLAP Blog Challenge: 5 Commitments

I Commit To....

Dear Readers,

As I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I stopped at a tweet by @burgess_shelley. 

I decided to take the challenge! I am looking at what I can implement as a classroom leader. I am committing to:

1. Dong the "Top Three" Activity: Making connections and building relationships is the heart of my classroom. I am always looking for new ways for students and I to get to know each other. I love the idea of using the "Top Three" activity throughout the year using ideas such as movies, books, characters, sports, music, games, etc. 
  • Example: Ms. Gross' Top Three Movies (The King's Speech, The Impossible, Eat Pray Love) Common Theme: Our Journey, Perseverance 
2. Using Social Media: I am always looking for ways to tell our classroom story. Last year, I created a classroom Twitter page. My students really enjoyed getting to know people around the world. However, I never really found my momentum with it. This year, I would like to utilize it more for the students to tell our story. I also would like to expand it to all my classes. 

3. Story Telling: People connect through stories. I frequently use stories to building relationships or to complement my instruction. Last year I attempted to implement daily writing for the first 5 minutes of class. Students were supposed to write about something that happened in their lives. I want to be more cognizant of sharing our stories and building our writing lives together.

4. Rest like a PIRATE: Middle school students have so much going on in their lives developmentally, socially, academically, etc. They are going through so many changes at lightening speed. In conversations I have had with them in the past, I have found very few of them actually take time for themselves to rest, relax and recharge. This year I would like to make a more conscious effort to not only talk about what stresses them out, but how to handle that stress and take time to rest. We have to give students skills and strategies to handle "life" as well as academics.

5. ANCHOR Conversations: The ANCHORS are probably my favorite take-away from the book. I have been implementing them for a couple of years now. However, I have thought about new ways to incorporate them into our classroom. Last year, I started allowing students to teach the class. I would like to continue that practice heading into this year. After students taught, I asked the rest of the class to write ANCHORS to them telling them what they did well. Here are a few initial thoughts:
  • A=Appreciation (we have been using these on a regular basis)
  • N=Notice (student teachers, group work)
  • C=Collaborative Discussions (prompts for working together)
  • H=Honor Voice and Choice (class, group, partner decisions)
  • O=Offer Support (peer and teacher conferencing)
  • R=Reflection (this is my professional goal for the year)
My plan is to make an anchor chart of the ANCHORS and integrate them into our classroom routines and instruction.

Final Thoughts:

I highly recommend this book to anyone who considers themselves a leader whether in a district, building or classroom. Shelley and Beth are transparent and authentic. They share their journey with you.....the highs and lows.....the ups and downs.....the triumphs and learning. They sincerely look at leadership in an innovative way. Thank you both for sharing your journey with us!