As promised here are 8 of my favourite things from this school year: some new and some old, but all wonderful in different ways.
*I would love to hear more about things you tried out this year – Please let us know in the comments!

TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling)

This has been one of the most drastic and successful changes I’ve made to my teaching practice. It was a totally new and different approach to teaching French that I was introduced to by a few colleagues at a workshop. I love it and can’t wait to explore more with this starting at the beginning of the year next year. More info here.

Reading Groups

I was fortunate enough to have my class be part of a grant for guided reading/reading groups in middle school. For those elementary teachers you will know exactly what I mean, but guided reading isn’t common in middle school. I was provided release time to benchmark all of my students and then we formed groups based on reading level and interest. Students started off with some high interest readers and nonfiction texts and then we moved into at level novels. Not only did 25 of my 27 students go up at least one grade level (or remain at grade 6 level) but it also had my whole class discussing books and wanting to read the books others were doing. Amazing! Plus small group instruction is a dream, right?

FreshGrade

I have used FreshGrade before but this was the first year that I used it for reporting. I really loved the way it forced me to be more flexible in my thinking of assessment and it was a great communication tool with parents. There are definitely ways I want to tweak it next year and I really need to step up my organization game!

Human Body Case Studies

This year I taught our human body systems through a case study model where students were presented a case study of a patient and had to play doctor to research, diagnosis, and treat the patient. There were a few things I need to change before I do it again but all in all it was really interesting and a lot of fun! I even had my friend who is an emergency room doctor come in for a Q&A with both classes. Real world science!

Close Reading Passages

This was one of those goldmine TPT finds from The Sweetest Thing (TeachersPayTeachers) At level reading passages with good thinking questions and all of the info you need to put together an effective guided reading or close reading program in your classroom. PLUS they are content relevant – Seriously amazing! I think this is the best product I’ve ever purchased on TPT and they really enhanced my science curriculum this year.

Global Read Aloud

First of all, Pax is such an amazing story! I absolutely loved the book and so did my class. I also really loved being a part of this bigger community and the Mystery Skype’s were really fun. I’m hoping to continue with this project next year and to be more intentional with my planning and how I participate. I haven’t decided which book yet for grade 6 but I’m leaning towards “A Long Walk To Water.” More info here

Pigs Fly Day

This is a classroom favourite every year and I was so excited to bring it back. One of the BEST activities that students suggested this year was a singing competition. I read that and thought, “No way will this work.” It was honestly one of the best things we did all year! The way they listened to each other and complimented everyone after was amazing. Such a great community building activity in my class.

Collaborative Math Teams

I talked about this one at the beginning of the year but dove into it in January. It is the number one thing my students talk about at the end of the year when they discuss math and it really improved not only their math talk but also their communication and collaboration skills. I will definitely be doing it again. (I highly recommend the Educating Now course if you are going to jump into this one).

Those are the highlights that I can remember right now – I’m sure there were more that I’m forgetting though!

Please let me know what worked well for you this year – I would love to see this post become a resource of awesome things to try out.