Spring Break has finally arrived. Like most teachers, I have been looking forward to the break as a time to recharge. Both myself and my students are both in need of the time to recover so that we can finish the year strong. In many ways Spring Break is an important breaking point in the curriculum. Often my medium to long term planning for the current school year is finished by this time of year. From this point forward I will be polishing some daily lessons and activities but am wrapping up curriculum that has already been put into motion.  Symbolically, this break act is the point where I stop looking forward and start reflecting on the past year. One of the most overlooked elements of education is often that time of quiet introspection that allows individual growth. Over the next few weeks I’ll be looking at the past year and trying to determine what was successful, what was a failure, and what were the lessons that I can take from both. Typically I involve my students in this process; asking them what helped them to understand and what activities were most engaging. Oddly, every year they have suggestions and feedback that I don’t anticipate. Also, every year the surprise themselves when they realize what was actually effective. Nearly every year I get students that ask ‘why I don’t “teach” more?’. What they meant this of course is “why don’t you lecture more?”. Most students in my district have been trained to think of History class as a lecture intensive process but I’ve already begun having students comment that they remember more from the ‘Public History Missions’ (my term for short project based activities) from 1st semester than my most recent lecture sessions. I smile and nod knowingly.

Over the next few weeks I will be attempting to make this reflection process a bit more open this year. In fact in of my first reflections from this year is:

  1. Blogging itself has been a very interesting log of my ongoing reflections!

I’m sure other educational bloggers know this already, but taking the time to write out my thoughts on the current of my classroom and thoughts on my practice has been very helpful. It has also served as an interesting, though public, journal. It will be interesting to skim back through it over the coming weeks, months and years to see my growth and change. As I go through the process and post about reflections on the year and possible changes for next year I encourage readers to help me improve. Maybe I can help you as well. My comments are always open and I enjoy hearing from others.