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What Will You Do Differently Next School Year?


Even though we still have a week-and-a-half of school left, I figure it’s never too early (or late!) to be reflecting on how I can become a better teacher for my students.

So I’ve begun to think about what I might want to do differently next school year. I’ll be turning my thoughts into both a blog post here and an article for “Teacher Magazine.”

I’d like to include ideas from readers of this blog, too.

So, please, as briefly as you can, share in the comments section of this post one or two things you want to do differently next school year — along with sharing what is prompting you to want to make that change and why.

I’ll include everybody’s plans in the blog post I write, and select a few to include in the article.

In your comment, please include how you would like to be described.

I’m making July 1st the deadline for sharing your ideas, and look forward to hearing from you!

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. I teach Spanish, grades K-12 at a school in St. Louis, Mo

    Next year I am prioritizing four things:
    1.) Clearer scaffolding of student understanding on both technical and language knowledge/skills.
    2.) Video documentation of steps required to do a task with computer, ipod, flip cam, etc.
    3.) More appropriate utilization of different teaching styles for tasks. This involves a more nuanced understanding of what contexts or modalities better facilitate specific sorts of learning.
    4.) Increased communication with students at other schools via social networks or skype (only was able to try skype once this year and it was a fantastic experience.

    I also want to become a better leader at my school, which includes helping craft a positive behavior plan and professional development committees for technology.

  2. We will have a new principal next year – sixth one in five years! I plan to get certain websites approved for use before school starts so we can incorportate more Web 2.0 activities in the classroom without being blocked, and frustrated.

  3. Larry,
    As the Director of Instructional Technology I will customize technology training sessions to help our faculty and administrators reach the goals that they selected in their Individual Plans for 21st Century (IP21), our new PD model for 2010/2011 (
    This is a 180 degree shift from ‘one size fits all’ PD model.

  4. I am a 7th/8th grade Special Education Teacher and Resource Room English Language Arts in a rural school in Maine.

    1. Next year I plan to integrate both UDL and technology more into the 7th grade RR ELA curriculum than I was able in my first year back to teaching.

    2. Learn how to use Google Sites to help increase communications within my classroom and to home.

    3. Volunteer to participate in the Technology, RTI and ELA curriculum committees and help coach the Cross Country team.

    4. Remember that teaching is what I do, not who I am and make sure that I make time for me too. In other words loose that extra 30 pounds and keep it off.

    Basically, take myself out of my comfort zone and push myself to not retreat to my shell as often.

  5. I want to use more short videos as writing prompts. If anyone has any ideas of great ones, let me know.

  6. Teacher mentor and technology integrator k-12
    My goals for next year:
    -continue to realize that everyone is at different stages of technology integration
    -make individual goals to bump every teacher I support up by one stage
    I picked these goals because I’m typically a positive person but sometimes the lack of true technology integration just gets me down. I need to meet everyone where they are and move them up.

  7. Great topic, I plan on incorporating higher level reading into my gifted classroom. I also want to work on grouping my writers to provide more relevant teaching for each student.

  8. What a great idea to compile all these ideas. I confess to being a little envious since we don’t start summer break till last week of July! Nevertheless, it is always good to be thinking ahead.

    I want to try to do 2 things next year:

    1st I want to make homework tasks more meaningful and more likely for students to participate using things like BrainPop, our school learning forum and ideas like blogging.

    2nd as a Professional Development leader in my school, I want to encourage networked learning between teachers and other staff in school.

    I’m glad you’ve asked this question as it’s made me think about it and I can feel a blog post coming on! 🙂

  9. Hey Larry,

    We are looking at doing blogfolios with students next year and since this will be my second year as school principal and I have become more settled, I would like to spend a lot of time in the classroom facilitating and supporting staff and students in this endeavour.

    I have spent a lot of time in the classroom this year, but the focus has been on building relationships. I really want to be able to really focus on the support side as an administrator so we can really help our kids take off.

    Great idea!

  10. My Photo 2’s create a movie portfolio at the end of the semester that’s always rushed. The light bulb went on, finally, I realized we should start it after the very first project, and add a little every time we do another project. Periodic showings of films in progress might also remind the poky ones that if their movie is only half as long as the others, perhaps they’ve only done half the work, and that’s why they’re earning approximately half the grade. The end of the year always seems to keep these well meaning time-impaired ones by surprise.

  11. Hi Larry,

    In an effort to improve visibility and communication, I will be moving out of my office next year. I will be moving my desks to different parts of the building (hallways, lobby, etc). I think we need to break down some of our old misconceptions about the way we structure schools physically, so I will be doing a little experiment and seeing what I learn from it.

    As always, thanks for providing a spot for reflection!

  12. Nice post!

    I plan to explore ways to integrate more web 2.0 tools into my music classes – perhaps somehow utilizing blogging.

    I’d also like to convince more of my fellow professionals of the worth of the many tools available. This will require me to advocate for a general wi-fi setup and allowing kids to use electronics in school.

  13. I want to focus on vocabulary more. After taking a training using Marzano’s ideas on vocabulary instruction, I felt I could make instruction better by using some of these strategies. I want my students to create “visual dictionaries” by using digital cameras to take pictures of anything that would describe the words.We use Blabberize and Animoto a lot for other projects, and I think I am going to use these as a way to put the project together. I am sure between now and September a member of my PLN will send me another source to use!

  14. I’m a Pre-K through 5 instructional supervisor. My goals for next year are to:
    -Differentiate professional development opportunities for teachers
    -Provide teachers with the opportunity to share their areas of expertise with other teachers
    -Do a better job of modeling technology use in addition to providing resources

  15. I am a Grade 1 teacher in Ancaster, Ontario, and I just started using Web 2.0 tools in my classroom this year. I want to continue to use these tools next year, but maybe even introduce some of them earlier (such as group blogs right away and individual blogs right after Christmas). I just started doing small group Skype calls with my students, and I would like to do more of these next year. I would also like to use the iPod Touch and the Livescribe pen in my class next year. We just purchased these to use in the classroom, and I’m excited to implement something new.

  16. I would like to explore using more Web 2.0 Tools to enhance classroom lessons. I have worked a bit with the following: Google Docs, Skype, Wordle and some others. I would like to use these tools more regularly and begin using other tools. I would also like to work Globally with other classes. I worked with a class in Virginia this year and the students found this to be very valuable. I would like to do things like this more frequently next year.

  17. I entered the 21st C at the end of January this year. I am very excited about next year with my grade 2/3’s. Next year I want to:
    1. Have the students use their individual blogs ( we had a class blog this year and only added individual blogs in the last two weeks) for web-based portfolios.
    2. Get involved in collaborative projects with other classes around the world.
    3. Have my students use podcasting to create a news type show for our blog.

  18. As a middle school principal, this will be my fourth year in my current assignment. We have worked diligently to re-culture the school environment and build a collaborative culture. The whole process has been largely facilitated by me. It is time for me to “back off,” and allow others in the building to take on important leadership roles. It is time for me trust others to see through our most important initiatives. If anyone has any related thoughts, please share.

  19. I teach High School Studio Arts (Photography, computer based, AP.)

    I have 2 goals that I have targeted so far this “off season.”

    1) I need to have a system for having one on one meetings with every one of my students to give direct feedback and encouragement, as well as challenges. I have noticed that the students really respond well to this kind of interaction, and I haven’t been giving it to everyone consistently.

    2) I want the class website to become a more social space for my students. This past year it wasn’t any different from my desk. A place to give hand outs and turn things in. I want to implement strategies that get my students thinking about their art making and talking about their processes with one another.

  20. Within my classroom, I have a couple of goals next year. First of all, I hope to use twitter more in my planning and instruction. Second, I want to encourage more collaboration among the students. I want them to collaborate among students in their class, students in their own school, and students outside our school walls.

    I also have a few more “simple” administrative goals that I did a blog post about –

  21. Current Middle School Art Teacher, Leadership Team Member, and Doctoral Student–Past 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher,

    1) Find ways for students to be more actively engaged in their own assessment (self-evaluations)

    2) Find ways to operate classroom with less use of paper and more use of digital methods (online testing, incorporate use of cell phones to text and/or test, written reports/presentations delivered to drop boxes) etc.

    3) I want to strive to always come across with a positive, happy attitude and be very attentive to my students. I do this now, but I want to do it more. I was inspired yesterday by the attitude I was greeted with by a server at a local restaurant and I thought: This is how a good teacher should be.

  22. Current high school biology teacher, technology director and part-time administrator (special program director)
    My plan for next year includes the following:
    1) Adding incorporation of more Web 2.0 tools plus new standards into my biology curriculum. I would aspire to becoming “completely paperless”.
    2) We have been 1:to:1 computing for the past two years. I’m exploring the idea of netbooks versus tablet notebooks and cloud computing.
    3) Increasing the collaboration via web 2.0 tools between teachers and teachers and teachers and students and teachers and administration.

  23. I teach 10th grade American Literature & 11th grade British Literature. Next year I plan to spend less time in my course anthology and more time allowing my students to absorb and appreciate the period pieces. We have been sort of forced into a survey course system, but moving to block scheduling will give me more time to read, write, and roll around with the authors. More integrated projects, more student led discovery. Listening more and talking less. More Socratic seminar and less lecture.

  24. Larry,

    1. I plan to really revise as much of the whole curriculum as I can. I have tinkered here and there since becoming a wikicentric classroom, but have to look even deeper. It helps that this is the revision year for science and that the state of PA is going to exit exams instead of an 11th grade test on all subjects. I want to align to standards though I don’t advocate teaching to a test. The goal to create a variety of assessments (mostly formative) that can help us and also lead to a local assessment that could be adopted by the state. Lofty, I know. I will be attending state level conferences as part of a leadership team to make data driven decisions. I am planning to show how data influenced is a better use and how to use technology/collaboration/different strategies for effective teaching.

    2. I have used blogging rarely in class and this will be the year to increase it in all classes.

  25. This year I am moving to a new city, new job, new everything. I teach English for secondary school, and I will start with Geography.
    Basicallly, I want to try more School 2.0 tools, and remember that the lesson must be attractive and engaging for my students, which I dont know yet!!!!!! aaaggh!!

    It´s a great opportunity to make things new, from the very beginning!!

  26. I will have a rubric for classroom behavior: expectations of what to bring to class, during class work and activities, when done with specific assignment/work for day what to do next, clean up after self, maintain safe work environment.

    Less summative more formative assessments.

    Smile since it looks like I will only have 4 preps!

  27. My main goal this coming year is to focus much more on student learning and much less on hardware/software problems. I spent way too much time this year on technical issues and students often were pushed to the side.

  28. I am planning on working on my video production skills so I can teach them to my graduate and undergraduate students. I also plan to work on my blogging. Finally, I am undertaking a reading project related to The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.

  29. I teach middle school Social Studies to gifted students.

    I plan to involve my students more in self-evaluation and reflection by using student blogs as e-portfolios. For a lesson about immigration, for example, a student-conducted podcast interview could be linked, along with a blog reflection that discusses the specific push and pull factors they noticed during the interview.

    Not only will this help me students be more active in their own assessment, it will provide a public platform for feedback and help me to move toward a paperless classroom!

  30. I am considering how to redesign my current reader’s notebook. This year, many of the sections were underutilized by students. I asked a few students for their notebooks at the end of the year, so I could look at how they were really using it. I am reflecting on what information I need from students and what I want them to record.

  31. I teach 6th grade science and writing in Wisconsin. This past year we did a lot with technology- wikis, blogs, wordle, uploading videos, Twitter, podcasts, etc. This year I’d like to branch out and use the technology on a larger scale such as in student evaluations, student-led conferences, community service. My goal this summer is to imagine what that all might look in the new school year.

  32. I teach secondary English & lead PD integration in my school. Next year I want to make academic vocabulary a larger focus of my teaching, help my colleagues connect web 2.0 tools with Marzano’s high yield strategies

  33. I want my students to be self-motivated. For this reason I want to create lots of options for performance and assessment of standards.
    We will continue to use Twiducate, Kidblog, and Spellingcity. I am going to spend time this summer working on open ended centers. I want my students to choose to inquire and create. Additionally I want to have my students write more, and for a wider range of purposes.
    When students enter my room on the first day of school they will browse a wide variety of books on the tables. They will choose their seats by choosing a reading selection of interest. I plan on using this a a preliminary interest inventory, and hope that this will also stimulate student conversations. I have created book logs in Googledocs for my students that will make documentation and record keeping much easier.
    The teacher I team with are working on Wiggio as a collaboration tool and plan to use the communication component for scheduling/facilitating parent conferences.
    I am excited!!!

  34. i’m a preschool teacher, I enjoy working as a teacher and this year I will teach playgroup without leaving preschool.
    my plans for next year: keep teaching in the same field with a more varied methods, thanks.

  35. My students get confused and frustrated when they have to go to too many places/technologies to do assignments. My goals for next semester are aimed at addressing this.
    1. Reduce the number of technologies used.
    2. Provide better instructions/training on using the technologies that we will use.
    3. Organize the class better to reduce overlapping assignments and focus on reoccurring use of technologies throughout the semester to make students more comfortable with those used.

  36. I will be in the early part of my first year of retirement. I will continue my fight against the absurd reasons I had to retire after only five years of teaching. I probably will attack the last two course required for my masters in special ed. And, undoubtedly, I will be looking for useful things to do to supplement my meager retirement income. I also hope to be able to visit my new granddaughter and her family way over on the other side of the country, along with my friends and family who also reside back where I came from. Oh, I also hope to be able to get some of my bikes running again, probably not to ride again, but just to enjoy.

  37. Love this thread. Just finished a 16 hour traing in using a set nine graphic oganizers to form connections among learning and facilitate the use of high order thinking. I wish I could provide a link, yet it is called Concept Connection Mapping. I hope to use the maps in nearly lesson.

  38. I teach EFL in a business school in France. My students have to take the TOEIC exam, and under the pressure of the test (which does not determine whether they obtain their diploma, but they get a special distinction on it if they get a certain score) our final-year English sessions have become more like TOEIC boot camp. We try to infuse them with some interactivity and speaking activities, but they remain very exam-focused.

    The thorny part of the problem is — it works! The students are quite motivated, and in 40 hours of class we manage to raise average scores by 100-150 points, which is way above the curve.

    BUT…I think there has got to be a better way. I want our English class back! I don’t know if I’m going to lobby for extra hours, do TOEIC workshops outside of class, or create a TOEIC self-study scheme, but something’s got to give.

  39. My goal for the next schoolyear is to make sure that I put to use alllll that I learn for the betterment of the faculty, students and therefore the school.

    I plan to have a definite Professional Development plan to assist the faculty; I will have Kagan structures pre-planned and in place for weekly teambuilding/classbuilding activities; and I want to be sure that my lessons are created using Schlechty’s design qualities so that the majority of my students are Strategically Compliant.

    Blog post

  40. Although my southern hemisphere year is still continuing, next semester I intend to continue whetting my colleagues’ appetites about the value of social networking in education. I keep emailing useful links and many are already curious about where I get ideas for using tech from.

  41. We ended school a long time ago, so here is an excerpt from a longer reflection on the year (

    My hope for next year is to spend more time building community. I have a tendency to get tunnel vision and exclude some of life’s details in pursuit of a goal. In the past I’ve always tried to take periodic breaks from class and have a round table discussion with my students about anything except science/math/etc. I let that slip this year in favor of trying to get more done. While I felt pretty happy with what we accomplished, I didn’t feel like I connected with students as well as I could have. Next year, I’m going to bring back the round tables and spend a little more time building relationships. I think that bringing greater balance will help my classes more and we’ll get just as much, if not more, accomplished.

  42. I plan to have my students blog more. They have good ideas and lots of questions and they need a place to express themselves. Also, I plan to figure out a better way to share information with the class when I find a new tech site or link that I think would be helpful.

  43. I am a special education teacher and my district has 1:1. I am planning to train students to video my classes. I want to edit them and put them online for students who need to review or for those who are absent.

  44. I teach 6th grade: mainly math, but also reading and language.

    I blogged about this exact topic a little over a month ago =)
    I’ve still been adding to my Google Doc!

    I want students to be guest bloggers on my classroom blog so it’s not always me spewing out the information.

    I also plan to use KidBlogs next year instead of just one classroom writing blog.

  45. I will invite parents/guardians of my students into school for lunch
    with me and their child, my treat.
    I’ll supply the sandwiches, drinks and cookies.
    We’ll just talk. Afterward, I’ll have the parent sign my guestbook.
    My goal is 25 lunch dates for 2011-2012.

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