Instructional Spring Cleaning

Sometimes you never know when you are going to come by someone or something that has an effect on your way of thinking. Often on Twitter educational folks Tweet about everything going on in the world of education. You might know the type, the one who disgusts you with how “wonderful” their children are daily or how well their year is going because they love their colleagues. The more and more text that shows up on your feed reminds you of the length of a line of WIC users on a Saturday afternoon at Wal Mart.

However, for every set of appalling set of post I eventually come across an intriguing thought. Not the large pizza for $9.99 at Dominos, but something that makes you reflect on your work. After about two days of horrendous posts, I cam across this simple post:




Like many teachers, I am beginning term four and thinking about all the things I want to do this summer as the hum of repugnant students rattle on  about a narrative writing assignment.  I am too cheap to purchase the book, but then I come across another highly retweeted post: All you need to know about #blackoutpoets week, which is next week and it links me to this blog.


Clean up time

By my word choice and attitude, school has gotten the best of me in the month of March as I gave some form of a standardized test every week throughout the month, and my students are feeling drained [along with their teacher].

However, the first post about cleaning up my instructional practices made me think of what I could do differently during the fourth term to raise moral and engagement among my students. Then a Tweet about #blackoutpoets week appeared. I have never heard of this poetry week so I read the blog and continued to Google the topic.

Surprisingly, it seems to be a newer fad in teaching poetry and might have been a wash out for me. Until, I came across a unique YouTube video by Austin Kleon. The video is very simple “How To” on teaching the activity and very easy to follow.

Drum roll, please

I found it! A fresh new idea! It’s simple and something new to my students. Often I face a struggle of working with too many veteran teachers who pull out a lot of tricks from their teaching repertoires. Then by the time I get them at 8th grade I get the old phrase, “This is like what we did in [fill in the blank]’s class last year.”

I feel like the hefty kid in a candy store staring at the chocolate fountain. I cannot wait to  teach this new concept of blackout poetry.

My instructional “spring cleaning” has only begun, but I feel refreshed knowing I have made it a priority.


About briancookeducator

Husband, Daddy, teacher, #Mountaineer, coach, and aspiring school leader | Thoughts are my own.
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