Source of clip art:
Over the weekend I decided to do a little cleaning of my curriculum binders. It amazed me of how much material I have accumulated over 11 years of teaching! You are constantly either "stealing" material from colleagues or sharing with colleagues so you tend to gain A LOT of worksheets, activities, or reading material on various topics of interest that MAY pertain to your unit on the Industrial Revolution or Imperialism. But, it gets to the point when a decision has to be made: to keep it or recycle it.
I have to admit that I am a pack rat by nature. I never throw anything away. Never. But, as I went through each binder, I realized that some of the material I've NEVER used nor will I EVER use it. So, out to the recycle bin!
I was also on the hunt for some material for my new AP European History class as well. Since I'm starting this program from the ground up, I figured that I could possibly use some stuff from my World History binders. I was able to find a few things that might work for AP level students.
Another thought: as I was looking through all the binders, I began to reflect and remember some of the activities I did with my students (I usually keep student samples with most activities I do in class so I have a lot of great student work) over the years. I remembered the positive lessons but also the negative lessons and questioned why the negative lessons didn't work. I have some wonderful memories of students having a lot of fun working on the Sistine Chapel activity or creating a modern day manor or going to war in the trenches (my stuffed animals represented the "dead" in No Man's Land).
I feel as educators we should have the time to reflect on what we did great and what we did not so great in the classroom. Unfortunately, we are not given that time during the school year. This school year was insanely busy with the transition program, freshman house dramas, NEASC accreditation, getting the new AP class approved, and just everyday craziness. How can we improve our teaching if we are not given that reflection time?
I still have more cleaning to do (I have A LOT of binders). :-) Plus, I need to go through my electronic stuff on my flash drive to see what is there that could be used.
But, I have to say that I feel cleaner and more organized to start out this new school year.
Happy late spring cleaning. :=)