Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

What Are You Going To Do Differently Next Year?


Each May, I ask readers to contribute responses to the question “What Are You Going To Do Differently Next Year?” and compile them in a subsequent post (when I also share my own reflections). Sometimes I’ve turned it into an Education Week commentary, as well.

I figure the end of the year is a good time to starting thinking about next year 🙂

Please share a relatively brief response about the one-to-three things you want to do differently in your school next year, along with the reasons why you want to make those changes.

The deadline is June 1st.

I’ll be looking forward to hearing them!

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

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


  1. I teach P-6 general and instrumental music. I’m going to move some furniture. Sounds prosaic, but there’s an academic purpose. It’s twofold: first, I want to move my word wall to the center of the classroom and flesh it out a bit more. Featuring the academic vocabulary of the music discipline seems to me very much consistent with the spirit of the Common Core. Second, I want to do more to get students interacting more with the Smartboard/Polyvision (I work in two schools) and getting stuff out of the way is a necessary precursor. I had some success having students use the Polyvision to access an interactive recorder fingering chart, and I want to build on that. These two steps are things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and I’m glad you asked, because articulating them will push me towards actually doing them.

  2. Being Canadian, I’ve got two months left to go, but I’ll bite! I’ll continue my modular 2nd language classroom set-up, with chairs for everybody, no desks, and tables that go up and down as we need them. I will continue to encourage my students to bring their “devices” to class – for brainstorming, for collaborating, for note-taking, for research. I want to try to build Edmodo into my classroom practice, and am thinking about a summer study group on the topic with some tweets. I want to design more assessment opportunities that let my students choose the tools they want to use. And I’d really like to use 21st century learning to help my students have some real-world conversations with French-speaking kids.h

  3. Sadly, I’d kind of like a do-over, so I am already thinking ahead to next year. I had two student teachers this year, and while they did a good job, I missed out on many opportunities to teach and support my students. I teach English at a school where most of our kids come from immigrant families and live in poverty. They come from homes where struggles never sleep, and the effects of these struggles show up at school every day. My 9th graders need to be taught behaviors and patterns that will help them become better students, citizens, and friends. I plan on using ideas from The Essential 55 by Ron Clark and Changing Kids’ Lives One Quote at a Time by Steve Reifman. I can incorporate these ideas into my ELA standards through discussions and writing prompts. If I will take the time to focus here, I will get better cooperation and effort from my students all year long.

  4. I want to keep perfecting my PLN, because this has allowed for my own professional growth. I teach at the university level, in credential programs. I use many interactive instructional strategies, but find I have developed favorite “go tos”. I plan on trying more new strategies because what I model I see student teachers try in their classrooms. Just giving them access to new strategies does not translate to practice. They have to be seen in action.

  5. I will be entering my 3rd year in Randolph Twp School District,NJ as a PK-5 Principal of 530 students. Since my arrival, I have focused on relationships of trust for the ultimate purpose of collaborative effecting student learning. As I head into the 2012-2013 school year, I would like to grow the Professional Learning Communities that we have solely at the grade levels. I ‘d like to create a vertical PLC that provides each grade team with a point of contact at the grade above and grade below, and that also provides a forum for discussion/interventions that service specific learning needs.
    A second goal for 2012-2013 is to create an “Opt Out” Setting for students to resort to when they need to regain their emotional balance. My school houses the district’s special education preschool programs and will soon expand the ABA classes. I am researching the materials and resources that would create this Opt Out setting at this time.

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