From Good to Great

Summer camp just ended. I get four days to relax. Scratch that. Four days to plan how I am going to attack this year. I have learned more about teaching, building relationships, the whole child, racism, SES, sexism, and drama than I have in the past 32 years of my life. Learning has been great but if I don’t put my knowledge to use than what good is it? This blog is my attempt to lay out what is important to me this year. If you don’t care what I have learned and what I plan to do with it I thank you for your time and bid you adieu.

My main goal is to have my students see each other with empathy. This will be a most difficult task for myself as well as my students. I want them to see each other as children, humans, and peers. I want to strip away the previous year’s labels of the nose picker, the dork, the athlete, the suck up, the violinist, the kid who peed their pants and any other labels they may have accumulated.  I will do this by using this site. Neila Steele (@neilasteele) also taught me a great idea about having students sit back to back and focus on each other’s breathing patterns. I will use this to create physical connections with the students. I am going to be purposeful in my delivery as well as my expectations for my students.

The second goal is vital to the success of me becoming a great teacher this year. My goal is to address social justice in my class. This TED Talk hammers home how important being color brave is versus being color blind. I use the sneetches as a lesson to my third graders about racism. I use this Frontline story about Jane Elliot to teach my 4th grade students. She was a teacher who knew she had to make an impact on her 3rd grade students’ views on racism. If you have never watched the videos it is earth shattering how easily hatred and bigotry rise from students. It is a great discussion starter for my students. This video shows my 6th graders how the color of a person’s skin changes the perception of their actions. I will continue to use these lessons and use the website for more resources. Hopefully these lessons will teach my students metacognition.

The next goal goes hand in hand with the second goal. I want to be intentional on who I choose to be the demonstrator of ideas, concepts, exercises, and anything else that is displayed for my class. I have always made sure that I chose girls as well as boys. I have also made sure that I chose students of all different races and ethnicities to go in front of the class. What I have not made sure to do was include outside resources that showed people of multiple races and genders as role models. When I show videos of soccer players executing moves I will be intentional that they will include all genders. If I show videos of the overhand throw I want students to see Mo’ne Davis throwing the ball. The key to this is I remain intentional about who I display to my students and why. I will be intentional and not allow the hidden curriculum to teach anything that goes against my philosophy.

My final goal will be to continue to improve my pedagogy. Jo Bailey ran a great session on solo taxonomy at the #peinstitute15. I have been reading up of teaching games for understanding. See Saw will be a great way for me to keep a sportfolio.  Class dojo is a great tool to communicate to the parents about their child’s behavior in my class. All these will be tools that I can use to increase my student’s learning.

There is so much change that I will be implementing this year due to the knowledge I have acquired at conferences and using social media. What will not change is the passion I for teaching or the relationships I have with my students. I am not reinventing the wheel this year. I have just upgraded the rim, purchased new rubber tire, and am using nitrogen instead of air. I have been a good teacher in the past. I now know how to be a great teacher. I will evolve into a teacher who not only teaches the content in a way that resonates with my students but allows the students to gain control of their learning. I will be teaching the curriculum as well as equity, social justice, and physical literacy. I refuse to see my students as physical education and health participants. I will see them as children who need to learn in a variety of ways about a variety of things.

Q1. What is the biggest change you will be undergoing in the classroom this year? #slowchatpe

Q2. How will you encourage and support your ss empathy? #slowchatpe

Q3. How are you able to connect the outside world into your classroom? #slowchatpe

Q4. What is your role in teaching your students about social justice and equity? #slowchatpe

Q5. Who will be checking on you to make sure you are hitting your goals this year? #slowchatpe

Good to Great


1 thought on “From Good to Great

  1. iamvlewis

    Justin..this is an awesome post on reflection, growth and vision! I’m inspired to do many of these things because the internal passion for kids makes us want to equip them for the great impact they can have on the world! Love it and thanks for sharing.



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