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Kriscia Cabral

Kriscia Cabral

Growing up I was a fan of all things school. I went every day. I listened and followed directions. Yes, I was 'that' student. It wasn’t until college that I really turned the page and started asking the question “Why?” about the information I was learning. It is because of this inquiry that I have landed in the position I am in today.

My name is Kriscia Cabral. I teach a combination 4th and 5th grade class in a San Diego suburb called Poway. I’ve been working for the Poway Unified School District for eight years. Over time, I’ve grown as an educator, as learner, as an individual. Each year brings new reflections and learning experiences I look at as growing opportunities. My goal is to teach my students to think for themselves, ask questions, and teach me something new. I look at my role in the classroom as their motivator, their supporter, their partner in learning.

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Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to engage students with an interesting lesson, their minds still wander. San Diegan teacher Kriscia Cabral considers laughter to be an important part of any school day, and a vital element in keeping pupils present.

The great E.E. Cummings once said, “The most wasted of days is one without laughter.” Laughter in and out of the classroom is sunshine to our souls. It is a powerful tool and can be ignited when shared with your students. How can you empower students with laughter? Give them the opportunity to laugh out loud!

How can you get the most out of your pupils? Do you make sure that their days are strictly regimented, in order to make sure a curriculum is thoroughly covered? Or do you, as Kriscia Cabral ponders, throw seating plans to the wind in order to give students a psychological boost?

I’ve had a number of conversations with my colleagues about no assigned seating in the classroom. I made some attempts around this idea last year; however, at the start of this year I decided to go full throttle. And I am so glad that I did. Allowing my students to come in every morning and have a choice is the first empowering decision they get to make in their day. Not only to do I no longer have the task of rearranging my seating on a monthly basis, I don’t have to waste valuable learning time with finding order in the classroom again.

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post for Scholastic discussing the design of my room. I talked briefly about the seating, but I’d love to highlight here how you can take small steps along this amazing journey to classroom seating freedom.

Every year, teachers attend professional growth events. We go, learn lots of theories and techniques and then often leave wondering if what was fed to us was really what we needed. Wouldn't it be nice to have a professional growth where you create the learning experience based on your individual needs? Edcamps are exactly this.

While the beautiful San Diegan weather likely helps, it seems that the key to Kriscia Cabral’s cheerful outlook is fun, innovative teaching practices that really help her students. And what schoolchild doesn’t want to write on their desk?

Writeable furniture: the concept sounds silly. I agree. Of course, for those who are reading this, we are adults. We have forgotten about the little things in life. We have forgotten about how excited we used to get when we would bang the chalkboard erasers together. I remember being so amazed at my teacher when she used a crazy gadget that created five straight lines in a row with her chalk pieces, all at one time!

About four years ago I started the journey down the path of combination classes. Teaching two grades at one time has inspired me forever, but there was one big lesson I got out of it all.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 12:22

Making the most of your read aloud

Every year I make the attempt to alter my voice to become characters in stories that I read to the class. Every year I try to set the tone for our reading with pictures, lights, and sounds. Every year I some how fall short. I either forget the dialect I originally used, I play the wrong kind of music in the background, or I’m honestly just having an off day.

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