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A New Year, A New Start

Community Coach
Community Coach
7 4 654


Canvas Community, thanks for encouraging me to think about the beginning of the school year. Here is my list of things I did in the last few weeks to ensure a positive start to the academic year. -KL

1. Take the time to reflect/daydream about curriculum. The end of the school year is always busy. Each year I tell myself that I will take the time to journal about my curriculum, I don’t. When I come back to school in August, the first thing I do is look back at my curriculum maps and Canvas courses and evaluate the successes and the areas that need improvement. I also take the time to identify what I want my curriculum to be and what I want my students to experience.

2. Make realistic goals and map out curriculum. After completing my thinking phase, I enter active planning. I’m very visual, and I love seeing progress. Honestly - a map of the curriculum color coded by main learning objectives and activity options makes me giddy. I truly enjoy seeing the potential for student growth outlined on paper and then in modules for my students to explore. When beginning the school year, the possibilities are endless. Sometimes goal-setting can be scary, but most of the time I find it invigorating.

3. Attend (or Lead!) Professional Development. While teacher workshop week can quickly become teacher meeting week, I try to go into it with an open mind. Even when I think I’ve heard it all, somebody can share something and explain it in a slightly new way. That’s when lightbulb moments happen. When leading technology-focused professional development, I actually enjoy the Q&A sections best. They’re hard to plan for, but I like being a part of others’ lightbulb moments. ...and while I’m thinking about professional development, it always is fun to remember that Twitter counts as professional development -- at least I think it does! Every time I log-in, I seem to learn something about #edtech or #studentcenteredlearning.

4. Collaborate - Interdepartmentally. I intentionally make time to visit with colleagues in different departments. I like talking about grading and late policies, best practices, etc. in order to gain some new perspectives. It’s always fun to find a “missing link”...or two...or three...just because I had casual conversations with colleagues and asked them about their classrooms! These conversations may lead to natural collaboration between courses as well. I like starting these genuine conversations early in the school year!

5. Create a stash of snacks that make you happy. While Teddy Grahams, frosted animal crackers, and Goldfish aren’t the healthiest options, how can you frown when you eat them? Happiness leads to healthier mindsets, and in my office, that increases productivity!


I love the part about interdepartmental collaboration. While people say they want this to happen, we never have time to make it happen.

When it does happen, we get caught up in the little problems like how do we do a shared assignment when we don't share students. I think that perhaps instead just spending some time sharing what you are doing this year and listening might give you some new ideas and get you out of your department echo chamber.

Learner II

What's better than "color-coded curriculum?

Color-coded curriculum conversations chewing Captain Crunch in Canvas Community​ w/ Chris :smileylaugh:

I like 'c's

But to further your thought... is Twitter PD? It is definitely the best PD I've ever had, because

  1. It's tailored
  2. It's connected
  3. It's shared
  4. It's real
  5. most importantly it's not a one and done.... follow up is the norm.
Community Member

Wow, Chris! Nice alliteration! Smiley Happy

Community Member

Thanks for a wonderfully insightful post,  @klundstrum ​.

I particularly like the snack-stash idea. Smiley Happy My faves are granny smith apples, Luna bars (the 'chocolate chip cookie dough 'kind) and... (sigh)... donut holes. Not healthy, but I did include granny smith apples. And sometimes I throw in some carrots for good measure. Smiley Wink