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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Editor's Note: Betty Ray, Edutopia's Director of Programming and Innovation, contributed to this post.

With all the research on how unlikely it is that making New Year's resolutions actually works, we wanted to offer something a little more realistic. Here are some teacher-tested ideas for new things to try with your students in five days, five weeks, and five months.

5 Days

Improve Your Connection With Parents

Use Humor in the Classroom

5 Weeks

Teach Active Listening

Bridge a Teacher-Student Gap

Support Creative Learning

  • Provide opportunities for students to create, explore, and make. Start by creating a "Wonder Shelf." Providing math students with manipulatives and art supplies can bring excitement, engagement, and basic elements of a makerspace into the classroom.

5 Months

Redesign Your Learning Spaces

Help Your Students Set Goals

  • These goals should be SMART -- Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Rigorous, and Timely. Use the six steps, and have students interview each other to support them throughout the process.
  • Additional resource: SMART Goals Connect a School

Shift Mindsets Around Mistakes

Other New Year's Resources from Edutopia

In the comments below, let us know what you're going to try in 2015 -- and what kind of results you expect.

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Comments (4) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.

I want to try the wonder shelf, but I don't have a shelf. I think I'll use The Wonder Box or maybe the Wonder Table. Great idea!

Don Doehla, MA, NBCT's picture
Don Doehla, MA, NBCT
2015 California Language Teacher of the Year, Co-Director Berkeley WL Project at UC Berkeley Language Center

Definitely more humor! I need to laugh more, and so do my students! Gotta buy a new joke book!

Lisa Johnson's picture
Lisa Johnson
TechChef4u CEO, Speaker, ADE 2013, Eanes ISD 1:1 iPad K-12, Social Geek, Mom of Two Mobile Natives

Really enjoyed your creative approach to lists. It can be daunting if you don't break up your goals in to reasonable timeframes. I couldn't help but add your article to my list of "21+ Things All 21st Century Bloggers Should Do in 2015": http://www.edutopia.org/blog/new-things-to-try-2015-ashley-cronin

Thanks again for the inspiration1

Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Media teacher

I'm also trying to incorporate more humor! I started making a playlist of funny (and inspirational) short videos to hook my kids at the start of a lesson, and then I sat in on a workshop with the guru of YouTube himself, Jim Sill. He shared a Google Form where teachers are contributing their favorite hook videos. Check it out (and add your own!):

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