3 Ways Spaces Can Launch Your School Year in the Right Direction
If you are looking for an engagement tool that you can use for any type of schooling (face-to-face, virtual, homeschooling, etc.), Spaces is for you. And it’s FREE for teachers to sign up and get started. Spaces can help you engage your students, showcase their learning, and share the evidence with their families and other teachers. Move over standardized testing, we have a tool that shares the story of a student’s growth and takes the pain out of assessment.
Spaces also helps teachers differentiate without taking longer hours to do so. It gives way to a feedback loop that will encourage your students to keep growing and learning. Spaces is also the perfect platform to teach digital citizenship and create a safe community where students feel seen and validated.
Start the Year Off Right
Once you sign up for your FREE teacher account, you will need to think about your first post. Some teachers might think class rules and expectations are the way to go, but when did posting those types of things make your students feel excited about being in your classroom?
While rules and expectations are important, most of your students have been in school for years and know generally how to behave. So think more about a post that welcomes them and can start creating a close classroom community. Here is a template for a Canva collage. The one I am sharing is super simple. You can change it up to share what is important to you. Then you can the same URL and let students use it create something that represents their priorities.
Of course, not all students will be interested in designing a Canva collage. They might want to share via video, audio, text, or file. Spaces allows for student voice and choice. This first post will also help you model how you’d like your students to interact with each other. As the teacher, you can make sure everyone’s post is commented on.
The collage might not be your ideal first post. Other ideas to consider are a quote that resonates, a meme that sums up school or student life, or something they’d like for their class to know about them. You could even ask them to share their favorite song or lyric.
Get Your Playlist Ready
I share the songs I love the most in the above webinar. Lean On Me by Bill Withers is my go-to for any grade I’m teaching. Shakira’s Try Everything has helped me showcase the growth mindset. These two songs are appropriate for any grade level.
When creating your classroom playlist, remember that representation matters. Keep in mind that songs that you loved could also resonate with your students even if it’s considered an “oldie’ by today’s standards. Keep an open mind to what your students like, too. There might be a song on their playlist that will resonate with you as well.
Activities and Assessments
As you are starting the new school year, think about how you’d like to assess your students’ knowledge differently. How can they share with you in a meaningful way what they are learning in your class? Don’t be afraid to change it up!
Once you’ve gotten to know the Spaces Platform, consider creating an individual space for Self-Reflection. In this space, whatever the students share will only be seen by the individual student and you as the teacher. Model how to use it and expectations. This will also help you as the teacher understand any gaps or misunderstandings in the content or curriculum.
Normalize Learning Through Mistakes
If you are a new user of Spaces, you might feel like you mess your ideas up in the delivery. That’s okay because you can edit away whenever you do. You can also find out what works and change it up as needed. When we find success through our mistakes, we are modeling real learning with our students.