Five Ideas to Help You Achieve Your Goals

This post focuses on five goals I’ve heard teachers talk about having and an idea/strategy/resource to help someone achieve that goal. Here’s to the last week of summer!

Goal 1: Be more in touch with students’ emotional health

Have you ever used the poll everywhere “How are you feeling today?” feature? It appears as an image poll, where students click on the face that represents their emotions that day. Teachers can use it at the beginning of class everyday to get an idea of where their students are, posting the results for all to see as a discussion point OR keeping them private. Click here to see what students would see if you use it in your classroom.


If you’re interested in using it, here are the simple steps to getting started:

  1. Create an account. (It’s free!)
  2. Click create.
  3. Choose the “clickable image” option.
  4. Choose the faces image, and ask your question at the top.
  5. Click create, and use the menu/steps on the right-hand side to complete the process.

Goal 2: Improve discussions/discussion equity

  1.  Participation cards: While this example is of an elementary class, there are many ways this strategy could be easily adapted for your classroom!
  2. Table mats for discussion: Use these table mats to structure talk in a variety of ways. Students could have a whole group conversation, talk with an elbow partner, or talk with a face partner. No matter what discussion you choose, discussion partner have a unique number/letter that allows the teacher to indicate who is speaking or who is sharing out.

Goal 3: Create a sense of community with parents

What if students took ten minutes of class time once a week or once a month to send their parents an email about what they have learned in your class? To tell them about something they are proud of, something they are working on, or something they need help with?

Goal 4: Make learning more relevant to students

It’s such a shame that we so often have these amazing essential questions that could really force students to contemplate the relevance of the curriculum, but students rarely, if ever, interact with the questions. What if we changed that!

Consider mixing up your pre-assessments! Have students answer the essential questions before a unit begins. They could revisit them throughout the unit, responding to how their understanding of the question has changed or deepened as they have learned the material. Then, at the end of the unit, they could use their newfound knowledge to defend their thinking or they could describe how and why their thinking  has deepened and changed.

Goal 5: Learn!

Check out the Education Podcast Network! You’re bound to find something interesting and inspiring that you can listen to during your commute or while you grade papers to augment your professional learning.

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