Kix's Coaching Corner

News and Notes from your Instructional Coach

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Changing Gears: The PERFECT time for a reset

You have gotten through most of December...WHEW!

  • NWEA...check.
  • Holiday performances...check.
  • Final test given...check
  • IB Projects graded...check.
  • Skyward up-to-date...almost check :).

Now it is time for a little reflection. Last Smore we focused on the Fall Break reset. Quick props to Kat, Walt, Tyler, Ashley, Angel, and M. Barrett for emailing me their reset goals! I'll have a small treat for you next week.

But, now you have an opportunity to really begin fresh in January. I have read A LOT about midyear classroom resets lately. From Harry Wong to Doug Lemov to Bob Marzano to countless teacher blogs, basically, everything about a midyear reset boils down to one word-consistency.

Once you decide which expectations are nonnegotiables, then teach, model, and reinforce new procedures, and craft (or revise) essential agreements, you must work through your reset with consistency. Otherwise, in late February you will be even more frustrated that your reset didn't yield the change you were hoping for, and it is a LOOOOOOOONG stretch from January to spring break :).

Remember, a reset does not need to address an entire classroom management plan (though it can). Maybe students have forgotten what your essential agreement "Be respectful" means. Maybe the "Do Now" is becoming an "I'll get to it soon." Maybe kids get up too often to sharpen pencils. Small things often need a reset to avoid becoming big things later in the year.

The best advice when you approach a reset:

  • Be transparent. Tell the kids why the reset is important.
  • Be thoughtful. Focus on what you really need to address.
  • Be consistent. Once you establish new procedures, fix it on the spot when things go haywire.

I added three blog posts about midyear resets from experienced classroom teachers below. Each has their own style, but all explain that it is never too late to reset.

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Shifting into High Gear: Funneling Standards into Daily Lesson Objectives

There is SO much we are supposed to teach kids. How to be critical thinkers and inquirers. How to be able readers, attentive listeners, accomplished writers. To be kind, empathetic, polite. Active, healthy, well-rounded. Multilingual, musical,'s no wonder we feel such a heavy burden sometimes.

And where does all of the above leave our content? That too can feel daunting. So many standards and indicators and criteria. How do we determine what is REALLY essential? What are the enduring understandings we hope kids remember?

With an expectation that we are checking for understanding in meaningful ways often, we have to funnel--to narrow our focus.

Teach Like a Champion's 4Ms technique is an easy way to do that. This technique helps teachers break significant, complex standards into daily lesson objectives. These objectives should be posted for students and should guide the development of your exit tickets and other short assessments.

Watch this short video from Kaizen Teaching about the 4Ms and questions to ask yourself as you are planning.

Teach Like a Champion Technique 7 - 4Ms