Back-To-School Backpack: Building Class Culture

August 14, 2015 / by Gretchen Vierstra

2105 Back-To-School BackpackHere at Teaching Channel, we've been busy building our Back-to-School Backpack just for you. We've been adding to it with ideas you submitted via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #TchTogether, as well as through our open Google Docs. Thanks so much to everyone who's been participating! This week we’re reflecting on your responses for lesson planning, as well as looking ahead to this week's call to action: tips and tools for class culture.

First, let's take a look at some of the resources that were added to last week's shared Google Doc about lesson planning.

Lesson Planning Roundup

From suggestions for collaborating with colleagues to the use of digital planners, our community had a lot to say.

Kristin Gray shared links to several websites for math lesson planning. She suggests checking out Stanford University's youcubed for a searchable database of math tasks, as well as for other resources for inspiring young mathematicians.

Sean McComb shared advice for making sure you're not relying on the same strategies in every lesson. He suggests creating a bank of 25+ strategies and tracking their use throughout the quarter or semester. With this method, you can ensure variety while choosing the best strategy for each learning experience. A simple Google Doc might be a great way to start!

Class Culture Notebook

Now that you have some lesson planning resources in your notebook, let's get back to the classroom environment. While it's important to have a physical classroom environment that promotes learning, it's even more important to create a social-emotional environment that helps your students feel safe and excited to take on new challenges. So this week, we're highlighting our notebook filled with ideas on establishing and sustaining class culture.

What are your goals for class culture this year? How will you set the tone from day one? How will you sustain your class culture? Take a look at our class culture notebook for some tried and true tips, from examples of class agreements to ideas for considering language choices in the classroom.

New Growth Mindset Videos

This week we're excited to share a set of brand new class culture resources: two videos on encouraging growth mindset. Teaching Channel partnered with Stanford University's PERTS (Project for Education Research That Scales) on two videos for their Mindset Kit. Watch these videos for practices you can implement in your classroom this year to create a culture that promotes growth mindset.

Time to Share!

Now it's your turn to offer some advice. What are your favorite ways to establish class culture? Do you have favorite resources, such as books or websites? Share them in this week's shared, open Google Doc. Let's create a fantastic list of class culture resources that we can use throughout the year.

Topics: Professional Learning, Class Culture, Growth Mindset, Back to School

Gretchen Vierstra

Written by Gretchen Vierstra

Gretchen Vierstra taught middle school for ten years in the San Francisco Bay Area. During her 15+ years in education, she’s also been a department chair, new teacher coach, curriculum developer, and policy analyst. She is Director of Educational Content at Teaching Channel.

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