This is my third and final post in a series about seeking sanity during the intense teaching month that is #MarchMadness. In my first post, I invited teachers to put down the red pen. Next, I encouraged teachers to step back and allow students time to reflect on their progress. I also popped over to Path to Proficiency to share ideas about feedforward with student-led ideas for growth. To wrap up, let's talk about the power of our best lesson go-tos.
My absolutely least-favorite household chore is adding to the grocery list for my share of the week's meals. What on earth are we possibly going to eat this week, I fret. I frown at the dozens of cookbooks on our bookshelf. I pick up the pen. And put it back down again. And then I go back to my years-old list of standard go-to dinners that everyone (pretty much) will eat. I just can't be bothered to invent at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning as my husband warns me he's about to head out to Trader Joe's. I need to get it done and move on.
And that's why we eat the same 18 meals all year long, at least from me. And you know what? They're GOOD meals! I can make them fast. They are healthy enough. And did I mention that everyone will (pretty much) eat them?!
So goes it with teaching in March, dear readers.
When you're as tired as many of us are at this time of year, it's time to savor your go-tos. You know what they are: those activities that give students repetition without being repetitious, that get them moving (ideally), and that push them to use their language in purposeful ways. Good stuff and lots of it. Like fajitas or baked potato bar chez Blouwolff, but in lesson format.
If you've been teaching awhile like I have, your go-to list is probably so long that you can't even remember all the powerful teaching moves that you keep in your back pocket. So my third March Sanity tip is to catalog and savor your go-tos.
Here are my Top Ten Go-Tos, arranged by mode.
1. Edpuzzle (here are recent ones I've made on la qualité de vie and les Jeux Olympiques)
2. Textivate (here's one for a simple fingerplay about family)
3. Tweets (here's an example where students learned je suis allé for narrating in the past)
4. Sequencing tasks (putting song lyrics in order using paraphrased English sentences here)
5. Taboo (students sit in pairs with one facing board and other facing away; sample list & circumlocution sentence starters here)
6. TALK conversation stations (blogged here)
7. Ask, ask, switch (students ask & answer questions, changing which questions they ask as they go)
8. Interview a clock partner (sample table for recording answers here)
9. Popplet double-bubble mind map (here a student compared 2 rescue pets up for adoption using the Popplet app, though a paper version would be just dandy, too)
10. Mannequin challenge write-up (follow Annabelle's directions here, then have students watch the video and write up a brief narration of it)
Now I'm going to go print out this list and tape it to my desk so that I can rinse and repeat for the rest of March. What are your go-tos for #MarchSanity? Share a few in the comments section, and maybe when April arrives, we'll have enough oomph in our step to experiment with something new!
P.S. Just for kicks: Here's the recipe for crispy Korean pancakes and another for squash tacos. Because great teachers need to eat. And sometimes, we have to feed other people, too.