Friday was the welcome arrival of spring. Even if the weather has not caught up with the calendar, most of us are glad of the promise of warmer weather and enjoying the increasing hours of daylight. There is the feeling of renewal which most ancient civilizations realized. In the days before formal calendars and clocks ticking away hours, people knew the year began with spring, not in the middle of the night in the depths of winter.
Spring also means a break in the school schedule, usually for a week or more. Before you leave, do a bit of spring cleaning of your own. Your desk is the first place to begin. It’s amazing how much accumulates over the months school has been in session. Do the same for the circulation desk. If at all possible, get as much shelved as possible. Although the custodians will be working for at least some of the time, do what you can to put your library in order. You will appreciate it when you return.
This is also a good time to clear out old ideas and bring in some fresh ones. Just as we stop seeing our library the way first-time visitors see it, we tend to become too accustomed to what we teach and the resources we use. Without realizing it, we are failing to refresh approach to teaching and learning.
We know we live in a rapidly changing environment, but are so busy with the day-to-day we don’t realize when a frequently-taught lesson or a tried-and-true resource is no longer get the same level of response from students. A learning experience will not resonate as well with them when you have delivered it so often in the same way, you no longer focus on the outcomes you are trying to achieve.
Nothing ages faster than technology. It’s easy to keep using a web resource or app you have become familiar with, but there are many others out there that do the same thing. Is there something better than the one you are using? Are your students tired of the one they have been using over and over?
Revisit those units. Are the Essential Questions tied to it still the best ones? Have you fully defined the Learner Outcomes? Are any (all) part of Common Core Standards? If not, can you tweak them?
When was the last time you fully explored another way for students to share or present their research? What can you use that gives them an opportunity to possibly connect globally with others? Check Twitter and Google+ groups for ideas. Use some of your vacation time to explore them. When you return you will have more than a clean desk, you will have a clean perspective on where you want to take students for the rest of the school year.