Monday, May 27, 2013

What Will YOU Do Differently? (My First Linky Party... with a GIVEAWAY!)

Although this school year is not yet finished, I have already begun planning the things I will do differently NEXT year...

Actually, I think teachers are always thinking. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has found herself reflecting: I should have used a picture or a video with that lesson... That would look better on different colored paper... We should have practiced fractions a little more before starting that unit on decimals... Why is that box in the corner of my classroom?... What's in that box in the corner of my classroom? Why didn't I use a different font?...Why can't I ever find the texts on friendship? Why do I have 5,000 pattern block pieces? Those "wonderings" are endless!

So this year I am going to start out AHEAD! I am going to think of what I want to do before I forget to do it!

And, if you're already thinking ahead to next year, I hope you'll join my Linky Party and share how you are planning  for the new school year... in MAY! (Don't worry: You are not alone!)

with fonts by Dana Lester and JenJones-Hello Literacy... all on TpT!

Here are some of my "hope-to-do" plans for next year:

1. This is one of my greatest struggles! Somewhere around January, I often notice that the "First Day of School" poems are still on the boards and are curling around the edges. I am not "good" at bulletin boards, and I often get more involved in the "doing" of teaching rather than the "seeing." Next year, I am committed to making a concerted effort to have my bulletin boards match my instruction...

2. When I have not planned carefully, I just keep teaching. I need to keep the "endpoint" of a unit in view, so that the path will be clear. When I taught fifth grade, I always got stuck in the Colonies. There were just so many fun things to do! However, by staying in the Colonies, I always neglected to "go West." I got stuck because I didn't keep the next steps in mind.  Several years worth of fifth graders may still wonder how any new land was explored and added to the Union... But they could make a hornbook, and a barrel, and johnnycakes, and, and, and...

3. I am fairly good at gathering data, just not particularly skillful at organizing it. With Common Core on the horizon, I want to plan instruction and data collection around the new standards.  I've already started making my Common Core posters for my daily agenda. If I can link data to the standards for the day's instruction, I should be one step closer to organizing my data for analysis... and report cards!

4. This is always a HUGE challenge for me. Somehow I am expecting myself to be an expert on Common Core (and everything else) and it is still new. When I am a little more gentle with myself, I have more energy and resilience to try again another day. There is still so much to be learned...

And now it's your turn!

First, recognize that it's not your eyesight--my graphic is a little blurry. But in an effort to "Be less critical of myself," I am celebrating my first Linky Party attempt and moving forward (after five hours, I have run out of ideas to fix it anyway!)

So, what are YOU going to do differently next year? 

Just fill in the graphic and link back to this post... You can link the graphic or add my bloggy button--whatever is easiest for you. Don't forget to add your link at the bottom, so that other bloggers can get some ideas and motivation from you too!

graphic by Ashley Hughes... fonts by Jen Jones-Hello Literacy
And here's the special part about this Linky Party. When the Linky closes next Sunday, I will use the Random Number Generator to choose one person who joined the Party... and that person will win a $25 gift certificate to TpT!

So, I hope that you will join in... I'd love to see what YOUR plans for next year include--maybe I will add them to my list too! Don't forget to add your blog link to the list below.

P.S. No matter how many ways I tried, I could not get the credit for the graphics and fonts to stay legible. So, I hope the artists will recognize my efforts. And, I hope that you will click on the links above to see some of the wonderful graphics and fonts available onTpT.

P.P.S. I know many of you can join Linky Parties in your sleep without a second thought, but for some of my new BlogPals, this may be a new experience. If you have never participated in a Linky Party, I know of three strategies to copy the image for the Linky Party (and I am sure there are more--and better ones too!) 1) You can right click on the picture and choose "Copy Image," 2) You can use the snipping tool, or 3) You can take a screen shot (and these choices may depend on which program you are using and whether you use a Mac or a PC). Then paste the image into PowerPoint (easiest, I think), or Word or whatever program you like. Add a text box to include your thoughts... then save (as a jpeg or png)--or, if you get stuck, take another screen shot and save... and then add the completed image back into your post...


  1. What a GREAT idea for a linky party!
    I will definitely work on my post and link up soon! One thing I do is use sticky notes in my lesson plans and textbooks - they usually say "Tried this - it FAILED!" or "Review vocab. more before reading this story" etc.

    Joy in the Journey

  2. Thank you for my instructions:). I have been thinking about how to do this "linky" thing since yesterday. I worked for hours on a blog button because I thought I needed one for your linky party - not sure if it works, but we will see! You are challenging me, and I appreciate it:)

  3. Love this topic for a linky party! I am constantly thinking about things that I want to do differently!

  4. nest year I am going to really, truly, stay organized! I posted a pic of a little cardboard file box I mod-podged....this is going to ONLY contain new student info and my most important master copies. I always promise to do this and never find the time!!!

  5. Yay! I worked hard and planned all day for this week so I could link up this evening! Thank you Kim, this really helped clear my head in many's always a jumble of thoughts and I needed help! I enjoyed reading yours, especially #4, such wise advice :)

    PS thanks for the opportunity for the giveaway as well, what a nice thing to do!

  6. I'm so glad that you put up this linky! I was just brainstorming this morning about what I wanted to do differently!


  7. I am joining up with your linky! I have been thinking a lot about next year! I need some major organization in my life! :)

    Mrs. H's Resource Room

  8. You've thought of everything, even a tutorial for the newbies! I am SO proud of you.


  9. Can you hear me screaming for JOY! It worked:) Thank you for the tips on how to do it - it seemed like some magical blogger secret before this! I used PicMonkey instead of PowerPoint, and it was a breeze. Figuring out how to get your button on my post, well that took a little research:)

  10. I love, love, love your plan backwards so I know where I am headed, I manage to do this for 2-3 units a year but the rest of time, ugh! I also like "be less critical of myself", that is a goal I can relate to. Thanks for hosting this linky!

  11. Love this linky! My post is written and will go out on Wednesday, so I will link up then! Thank you for hosting it!

    Heather Salsman
    Teaching Through Turbulence

  12. I can't wait to join you with this linky. I had planned on linking up today, but spent the day working in the garden and the I'm beat! So, I will link up soon, promise :) I am with you on all of your plans. I need to be less critical of myself, too, so that I can move forward and get things done!

    One more thing before I sweet of you to give some pointers about how to link up. This is what makes you the SWEETEST blogger in BlogLand :)

  13. This was just such perfect timing! Now I'm going to go read what everyone else is thinking about!

  14. Thanks for hosting such a great party! I've become your newest follower!!

    One Fab Teacher

  15. Great idea, Kim! At this point in the year, I always have one eye focused on next year.... :-)

    From Mrs. Allen’s Teaching Files

  16. So excited you are hosting this my bloggy friend! :) I know that I'm excited to get my thoughts together for next year (even if it is early!)

    Life In Middle School

  17. What an awesome linky! I'm so happy to link up with you!

    The First Grade Scoop

  18. Great idea for a linky party - I still don't know how to add my own ideas onto the picture, but I typed it up under the picture on my blog =)

    Amanda from

  19. This is such a great idea- and best of all I found your blog to follow! Another sixth grade teacher! Woohoo!

    I'm in New Zealand so our new year doesn't start until next February... so I've modified it slightly and made it for next term.

    Thanks for the great linky!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  20. HI Kim,

    Thanks for having this linky party. I did an end of the year reflection about a week ago with places I want to build on and how for next school year, so I hope you don't mind that I linked it to here. I thought it fit. Your goal of not being too critical of yourself I think is perfect. I think as teachers, we put too much pressure on ourselves to do everything well. You're right when you say you have more energy when you focus that energy on one thing at a time! I believe it's better to do one thing well than ten things half-way. (Too bad I teach myself this lesson over and over and over again :).) I hope that you have a fabulous end of the school year! Love your blog and being able to link up with another middle school teacher!


  21. Thanks for hosting! I love reflecting on my teaching and making plans for the future, so this was right up my alley. Have a great day!

    Amy @ The Littlest Superheroes

  22. Thanks for hosting this linky! I love the idea of starting fresh every year and this gives me something to shoot for. :)
    Preschool Wonders

  23. Love this linky! Thanks for hosting :) I am planning on organizing my lessons in a similar way! I love your idea of thinking ahead to know where to plan to. Thanks for sharing :)


  24. What a great linky party...I will most def. participate! :) I found your blog via I Heart Recess, and I am your newest follower. I am so excited to find another "middle school" blog!!! Yea! Can't wait to read more of your posts!!

    Mind Sparks

  25. Thanks so much for hosting this fabulous linky party! Your first linky was a great success!

    The Polished Teacher

  26. Kim,

    I want to do the backwards planning thing, too!!!!!! I have got LOTS to do this summer-I'll be teaching 6th grade next year ALL subjects. :)

    Math-never taught it
    Earth Science-never taught it
    Want to do the reading workshop model
    Want to do the Reading Olympians word study in place of spelling
    Want to REALLY focus on writing
    And implementing common core

    Eeeeekkkk! :)


  27. What a fun linky! I am always telling myself what I need to do better or try for next time. Thanks so much for hosting:) I will link up soon!

    Corinna (✿◠‿◠)
    Surfin' Through Second

  28. Great FIRST linky! Thanks for hosting this and offering the TpT gift certificate!

    The Bender Bunch

  29. SOOO, I am a bit late to the party....but I joined up :) What a very successful first linky you have! Yay!!!

    Teaching in Room 6

  30. This was my first linky. Hope I did it right! It was fun!


  32. Hi Kim!
    Sorry I'm super late to the party! I'm happy I got my post together in time to join you on your first linky! I love the idea!

    Have a wonderful Sunday :)

  33. I absolutely LOVED participating in this linky party!! Thanks so much for hosting =)

    The Resource Room Teacher

  34. I know I am late to the party but since my year isn't OVER yet I figured it would be OK :)! Super cute linky party idea and thanks for hosting! Looking forward to going through and reading some other responses and finding some new blogs to follow :)!
    Sent From My iPad

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  36. This is a great idea for a linky! I love that one of yours is not to be so critical on your self. This is something that I can seriously relate to.

    This gave me a reason to stop and reflect on what has and has not worked in my classroom this year. I don't think things were too bad, but there is room for improvement.

    Thank you for hosting this!

    Foreman Teaches


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