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Reflections and Refinements: The Year Ahead

We left our goodbyes at the doorway, “Bye Mrs. Frazier, I am going to write to you on the blog!” “Mrs. Frazier, will you be at the library on teacher day?” “Mrs. Frazier, are you Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 1.55.29 PMgoing to be writing in #kidswritinglifechallenge too?”

I packed the books, cleared the tables, and turned in my keys.  An official end to another school year.  As I sat down in my car, my head and heart began to reflect on the year, the successes, the trials and what could’ve been.  I think all teachers have thoughts of how they could’ve been more efficient, compassionate or how they could’ve tried more with the student who seemed out of reach.  One of my favorite mentors once told me, “If you ever feel you have done all you can, it’s time to stop teaching.  You aren’t looking deep enough.”

These words give me comfort every day when the students leave the classroom.  I am constantly working to refine my teaching practice.  The end of the school year is a perfect time to sit back, reflect, and make plans for next year.

As I begin to reflect on the year, I start with what went well.

Improvements made this year:

Understanding and application of craft techniques.
Students worked purposefully in writing and tool choice.
Students enjoyed writing and moaned when the workshop closed!
We wrote every day, no matter what!
We began exploring writers maker space.
Authentic connections and audience; thank you to parents, Twitter followers, Michelle Haseltine, and her class!
Students participated in two writing challenges.
I communicated summer writing opportunities to students and families.

Moving Forward:

Explore writers maker space (building and taking apart stories).
Investigate the many digital and maker space options available to writers.
Ongoing communication and education with parents about developing writers.
Implement continuous self-assessment and goal setting.
Utilize and grow writing notebooks throughout the year.
Increase the study of mentor authors and their process.

Here we have it, my focus for next year’s writing workshop while striving to maintain all that went well this year.  I am sure I am overlooking many possibilities, and I am sure as I continue to reflect and the year begins there will be modifications to the list.  So for now…

What are your reflections on your writing year?
What went well?
What will you improve?
Do you have tips to help me and others who have left their comments here?
I can’t wait for our conversations to grow!

6 thoughts on “Reflections and Refinements: The Year Ahead Leave a comment

  1. Deb, I love your first line so much! I also love the line your mentor said about not looking deep enough if you think you’ve done it all well, without any reflection on ways to improve. It’s hard to feel like you’ve made mistakes or didn’t do something as well as you could have, but I think if we look to our successes and are kind to ourselves about the areas where we need to grow, that is a great start. As for me, I think I did a better job communicating that we are writers and live like writers this year. I think making dedicated time to blog in school each week helped more students to grow as bloggers. I’m proud of taking on the Slice of Life Classroom challenge in March, which was ambitious, and proud of my students who surprised me with their effort and enthusiasm. I think I did a better job of seeing the beauty in my students’ work, not just the misspellings and conventions that were incorrect. Some areas to work on: setting publishing dates and moving units along, flipping some of my writing instruction, more small group work with writers who need similar things, and more study/questions around how to help students grow as spellers. Thanks Deb

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  2. I still have two days to go and then a long plane ride across the planet to reflect. My initial thought from your post is how I could use Writers Maker Space as a particular place to focus on Author Study / Mentor Texts. Hmmm. Now to start the list of things to gather…

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  3. Sometimes the simplest things…of course teach a lesson about what to do when you are ‘done’!! I took a while this to break the kids of pulling out a book to read during writing workshop, sigh.

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  4. It is nice to read about a teacher with enthusiasm for the job and the students. That you are planning for the year ahead and not just celebrating the end of this one is also a joy.

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