Congratulations! You’ve made it through the first (almost) half of the school year.

For those of you on break right now, we hope you’re taking a moment to catch your breath, regroup, and enjoy a refreshed perspective.

We know that’s what many of you are doing… because you told us. You can reset your classroom along with these Teacher-Authors. Get inspired from their ideas and get off to a great start in 2014.

New Year, New Students

Lindsay Jervis:New Year
Lindsay Jervis
  • Many of you teach in schools with fluctuating student populations. That must be a challenge! But your not alone. Lindsay Jervis says, “January is always a perfect time to revisit your rules and procedures. Our student population really fluctuates during the year.

We’ve added over 10 new students just in this final week before break and I am sure we will have many new faces after Christmas.

I treat the first day back from break just about like the first day of school. I go over all of my rules and procedures and we practice what those look like in the music room.”

Jill Powers:New Year
Jill Powers
  • Jill Powers says, “I teach 8th grade pre-algebra and algebra. My goal for January is to rewrite bellwork/spiral reviews to better address specific topics my students have struggled to master this school year.

Their needs tend to be similar from year to year, but each group of students is different!”

New Year New Ideas

Diary of a Mad Scientist:New Year
Diary of a Mad Scientist

“January is crazy for me. I teach in a school that is on a block scheduling system where we have two semesters of classes. My current classes will end January 17th and brand new ones will start on the following Monday.

In terms of making big changes for the year I will be waiting until the new classes start up mid-January. I hope to be better organized and more timely with grading during the second half of the year. I’m also launching a brand new Student Research course which will be student driven and project based. It will be very exciting!”

Last month we began publishing a student written newsletter that goes out once a month on Fridays called ‘SciFri.’ We provide our 250+ students with a science or school based concept to write about. Those that submit have an opportunity to receive extra credit and have their submission featured in SciFri.

Parents and students receive an email blast with the newsletter attached. We’ve received lots of great feedback from our families and hope to make this part of our routine going forward!”

Catherine Reed - The Brown Bag Teacher:New Year
Catherine Reed – The Brown Bag Teacher
  • Catherine Reed – The Brown Bag Teacher hits the reset button this way, “In 5th grade land, we will definitely spend a chunk of the first day or two on behavior and procedure expectations. We have a list of “Questions I Will No Longer Answer” and I’ll make sure to review all of them (turning in work, early finishers, pencil sharpening, post-it note acquiring, etc…).”
  • And of course there are THE TESTS… Teaching MrsT and others say, “I always reset the new year with a clean classroom and goal setting. January always begins the big push towards the ‘big test.’ So we start with reviewing classroom expectations and dive into learning!”

New Focus New Perspective

What I Have Learned:New Year
What I Have Learned
  • What I Have Learned will have a new home base. “I’m moving into a new classroom. My boxes and furniture are getting moved on January 4th and the students come back January 6th.

I’m going to redo my math workstations. I want to make math workstations an integral part of our daily time together and focus on students working in pairs, rather than groups of three or four. I have a ton of ideas in my head, just need to implement them!”

A Bird's Eye View Too: New Year
A Bird’s Eye View Too
  • A Bird’s Eye View Too says, “I’m going to refocus on conferencing with my students during writing. Sometimes, with all the stuff that needs to get done, sitting with my kids one-on-one gets pushed aside.

We are also going to focus on non-fiction reading and reading for information. I just purchased a great packet from Little Red’s Schoolhouse and can’t wait to use it with my kids!”

New Teacher New Approach

Cultivate Questioners:New Year
Cultivate Questioners
  • Cultivate Questioners has this to say, “I’m a brand new teacher, so I hope that, come January, I’ll be less in survival mode and more able to dive into some more meaningful curriculum!

I’ve got a great bunch of 2nd grade students and I’m hoping to start working with them on higher-order thinking skills. I’ve designed a unit around the Arctic, the Antarctic, and climate change for January that I’m hoping will get my students thinking critically.

I am also hoping to expand their agency on our classroom blog by giving them opportunities to create independent posts.”


From the newsletter:
2014 Classroom calendar display thanks to Teaching Products


For our fun top image:

Doodle Dogs thanks to Elementary Lesson Plans

Let’s Party – Party Hats and Cake thanks to Erin Waters

Funky Fonts Numbers thanks to Mrs Fun