When you think of planners as an educator, what is the first thing that pops in your mind? Unit planners? Lesson planners? Day planners? While these are all useful, planners can also be valuable and beneficial tools for setting personal goals for growth and professional development. To help you get started, we have created the two templates below and provided steps for helping you achieve your goals.
Before setting goals, it is important to be familiar with your starting point and where you are right now in your personal learning journey, which is why the first template is for reflection, as seen below.
1. Begin by ask yourself what you are hoping to achieve. Do you want to become a more compassionate leader? A more innovative teacher? A better problem-solver?
2. Once you know your objectives, you can begin filling the questions boxes on the Reflection form with the qualities you possess or would like to possess in order to become, let’s say, a better leader. For example, am I empathetic? Am I a problem-solver? Etc. For the sake of this article, let’s say being more empathetic is one of the qualities you have chosen as part of being a good leader. (See column 1 of the Reflection form – it has been filled in as an example.)
3. The next row is to reflect on guiding thoughts. For each question, write down a thought that inspires you and reminds you of why it is you wish to possess that quality.
4. Use the checklist row to brainstorm a list of achievable actions for each quality you have listed. For example, a few things one can do to become a more empathetic leader are as follows:
The list can include things you are doing well, and those you need to improve upon – only place checks in your areas of strength.
Once you have completed the Reflection form and you have taken stock of your strengths and weaknesses, you are ready to complete the Goal Setting template below.
1. The Goal Setting template begins the same way as the Reflection planner and requires you to start by stating your question (Am I empathetic?) and filling in your guiding thought(s) that inspired you.
2. The next part of the planner requires you to set goals based on areas of improvement, as noted in your Reflection template. You will need to state your goal, explain how you will achieve it and when.
3. Finally, revisit your Goal Setting planner on a regular basis to assess your progress and plan the next steps if you have not achieved your goals.
What kind of educator do you aspire to be? By using the above templates as a starting point, defining your goals and developing plan of action to achieve them, anything is possible!
Looking for some fun English games to play with your ESL students? We have put together a list of some of our favourite low-prep ideas that can be played using our collection of free ESL eBooks of or any other reading resources you may have.
1. Divide the class into two teams.
2. Draw a TIC-TAC-TOE board on the whiteboard.
3. Ask one student from each team to come up to the whiteboard.
4. Read a sentence from a selected ESL eBook, leaving a word out. For example:
5. The first student to correctly write the answer on the whiteboard wins an X or an O for the team.
1. Divide the students into four teams.
2. Draw four ladders, with five rungs each on the whiteboard.
3. Ask the class a question based on the ESL eBook read. For example:
4. Each team must send a representative to the whiteboard to write the correct answer. If a team is correct, their answer stays on the whiteboard and they move up a rung. If a team is incorrect, their answer gets erased from the whiteboard.
5. The first team to move to the top of their ladder wins.
1. Prepare a blank BINGO template for each student.
2. Make a list of vocabulary words from the selected ESL eBook.
3. Ask the students to choose words from the list, and to illustrate them on their BINGO template. The students are not allowed to write words on their BINGO sheets.
4. Call out words from the list in English. A student must understand the word in order to cross off a square. You determine the pattern that wins the game, for example any horizontal line.
5. In order to win, the student who calls ‘BINGO’ must tell you what all the vocabulary words that they crossed off are in English.
*Variation for advanced students or review before an exam: Have the students spell out one or all of the words.*
Do you have any other game favourites you would like to share?
Looking for More ESL Ideas?
Links to ESL Resources for Teachers
Links to ESL Resources for Students
Tips for Teaching ESL Students in the Early Years
Classroom wall space is used in so many ways – for some, a wall space’s purpose is to display student work and to show anyone walking in what their students have been learning about, from projects to artwork, etc. For others who are on a mission to have the most ‘Pinterest-worthy’ classroom, wall displays are created for the “wow” factor and to impress. And for yet others wall space is simply a dreaded space one needs to fill, another element in the long list of items teachers are required to do – and so a few posters are hung up that relate to units being taught or that have inspirational quotes for students to look at and be motivated to try their best.
But what if, as educators, we could do better? What if wall space actually became part of the learning environment – an interactive area where students can extend their learning? Imagine walking into a classroom where every wall serves a clear educational purpose – what would that look like? Perhaps a wall space’s purpose could be to extend learning on topics covered in class by encouraging students to read one another’s projects and comment and/or ask questions about them. Perhaps there could be a question and answer wall where students would be free to ask questions about units being covered and anyone could answer. What if walls were used for brainstorming sessions, if learners could help each other solve math problems using the space, if articles were hanging up that students were free to read and comment on, or if students could make connections to their foreign language classes and write translations on a wall … imagine how that would impact a students’ learning journey!
Walls shouldn’t be seen as spaces to fill, but rather as a means to extend and fuel what is already taking place in your classroom. Have a look at your teaching space – what changes can you make to turn your wall decorations into engaging and meaningful learning opportunities? Extending beyond your classroom walls, what changes could you make to displays in your school’s hallways? We’d love to hear any inspirational ideas you may have!