3 Ideas in My Classroom that are OUT OF THIS WORLD

It’s back to school season (if you’re not there already), and I’m already getting knots in my stomach. You know, the kind you get when you’re asked to do a public speaking event.

In front of hundreds.
 
We’re “very good.”
 
The anticipation before school starts kills me!
 
It reminds me of when two good friends asked me to officiate their wedding. I’m not sure who was more nervous that day, the bride or me! Even though it was a hot day, the worry of messing the whole thing up had me sweating bullets the entire day. Not to mention it was a hot August afternoon.
 
Hot, muggy, and outdoors.
If only I were as lucky as this cat…
 

The worst thing…

…about it was the anticipation of the ceremony. A million worries rushed in my head at once:

 

“What if I slip on the bride’s dress?”
“What if my voice shuts down?”
“Oh God, please don’t let me forget what to say!”
“Are my slacks too tight?”
 
Then, before I could realize it, the music started and it was ‘go-time’.
 
My past worries and stresses melted away as quickly as the guest’s chapstick in their pockets.
 
Going back to teaching is much the same way for me.
 
So many worries about how prepared you are for the year come rushing in. That is until the first moment you greet your students at the door. And just like that, all the anticipation, the worry, the fear… just melts away. Your adrenaline kicks into overdrive, and you remember what all the hours / days / months of prep are for- all those smiling and nervous faces.
 
You have so much to offer your students. That’s the reason why education is servant-leadership.
 
Still, those thoughts race until game-day:
 
“That summer reading list didn’t get done…”
“What will students think of my gamification theme?”
“Are my slacks too tight?”
 
So, what’s keeping me up at night in anticipation and excitement?
Who can sleep at a time like this?!
 

Here’s a description of a few things I’m cooking up:

 
1. Gamification.
 
Hearing about #gamification (and soon the #xplap community) completely changed my ‘teaching-game’. By the time these students are ten, imagination and risk-taking is all but removed in the classroom. What excites me about #gamification is the underlying belief that learners can do their best while engaged, and allow creative risks to organically unfold. Doors open up constantly– anywhere from engagement to empowerment. To hear how to get started in your class, check out the Bartle Quiz here.
Because who doesn’t like a good grade-wide battle?
 
2. Dallas (the Program Assistance Dog)
That’s right! I get to bring my good ol’ pal Dallas to school with me everyday! Since adopting him from an agency in 2016, he’s been everyone’s favorite student in the classroom. What’s so special about Dallas? He’s become my classroom sidekick in impactful ways! His list of talents include: listening to students read out loud, redirection, and being a friend to those affected by trauma. On top of that, he’s the only classroom dog in our district, so he has a bit of a reputation. He’s definitely more popular than I’ll ever become. I mean, just look at this ham!
My pal Dallas is even cuter in-person!
 
3. Google Suite
Yes, I’m an Apple fanboy, but that doesn’t mean that my heart exclusively belongs to it! Google has already had a HUGE impact with how I teach, and this year I’m going to dive in even deeper. The new Google Sites, for example, had me floored with its simplicity and design. Combine that with #hyperdocs and #gamification, and baby, you got a stew! More like a #hypermegadoc! I decided to make one for my students to help them on their #gamification journey. Because my classroom theme will be space this year, the site will be referred to as ‘Ground Control’.
 
On top of that, Google Classroom changes the way I give feedback, assign collaborate work, and manage it all in a seamless way! Thanks to @alicekeeler, I glean consistent inspiration to stretch myself further. I plan on incorporating as much of the Google apps into my classroom as possible!
There’s so much potential!

 

Flash back to my earlier story…

 
Like that wedding ordination, teaching finds me humbled, excited, and anxious with anticipation. And equally just like the wedding, my anxiety melts when I see the faces of those that I’ve been working so hard for.
 
It’s game time.
Who else is amped for this year???
 
Since we have a lot to offer our students, we need to be champions of the profession!
 
Anything giving you anxiety before game time? What are you planning that will knock your students’ socks off? Share your journey on the comments below!
 
In great teaching,
 
 
 
 
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