Reflecting Forward As We Head Back to School

As a full-time education consultant, Allison Zmuda works with educators to grow ideas on how to make learning for students challenging, possible and worthy of the attempt. Over the past 19 years, Zmuda has shared curricular, assessment, and instructional ideas, shown illustrative examples, and offered practical strategies of how to get started.

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Wonderful to connect with you as your summer vacation is winding down or perhaps temporarily being interrupted by a trusted learning resource to sponsor your reflecting and imagining for the upcoming school year.

  • First Day of School Student Survey. When you take the time to begin to understand who is in the classroom creates an invitational feeling that can be used to make connections between academic learning and personal circumstances. This blog post offers a set of reflective questions that can be used to build relationships in service of learning. If you take action and use part or all of these questions, please share how it went! We all continue to learn from one another… especially for those teachers heading back to school in the next few weeks!
  • Interview with Mike Anderson. Bena, Mike and I chatted about what is essential to pay attention to  in the first few weeks of school. Topics spanned from knowing students’ names to creating a psychologically safe space for learning to deferring on setting up the routines for the classroom to thinking about positive intentions for the upcoming school year.
  • Illustrative Example: Setting up Student Choice. A blog post featuring a 5th grade teacher on how to introduce and structure choice with students in a math lesson. Mike Anderson engages in a Q&A session with Maggie West on how she deliberately uses language and description to help guide the choices students are making.
  • Summer HW Assignment for all Educators. At the end of the interview with Mike Anderson, Bena Kallick spontaneously imagined a homework assignment that we are hoping will inspire reflection. Tell the story you would like your students to say at the end of your year together about the learning experience. How would you want them to describe what it was like to be in your classroom? The power of story triggers imagination and vision of who we are and who we hope to become. This narrative becomes part of how we are setting up our learning environments in a way that invites students into our collective learning space. NOTE: This is as valuable for classroom teachers as it is for building and district level leaders. We would love to hear what you are imagining. Send me an email with your ideas!
  • The First Weeks of School. Mike Anderson got us started with our summer homework assignment and generated ideas that classroom teachers might use as they are inviting students to come together as a community of learners in the opening weeks of school.
  • Walking the Talk. As we are imagining our opening learning experiences with school faculty, this post can help generate ideas on the wish for creating a personalized culture in our educational communities

I look forward to your feedback! Enjoy the last days of summer before the school year!

Allison Zmuda

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