A Belated End-Of-Year Reflection : Changes

A Belated End-Of-Year Reflection : Changes

This is part 1 of a 3 part blog on reflections on my 2014-2015 school year.  I figured before I started planning for the upcoming semester, it’d be best to reflect on what happened.

In this episode: CHANGES

Before exploring the highs and lows of the year, I think it’s worth noting the changes from last year to this year.


  • Went from Iduma Elementary School to The Khabele School
  • Went from 5th grade to 6-8th grade
  • Went from teaching math, science, SS, and ELAR to math and robotics
  • Went from a school of 1000 to a school of 250
  • Went from Title 1 public to private
  • Went from mostly minority students to mostly white students
  • Went from an older faculty to a younger faculty
  • Went from the same group of kids all day all year to 5 different classes (6 if you count PE)
  • Went from a traditional elementary school building to old victorian houses
  • Went from 3.5 hrs of in-school prep time to 9.5 hrs of in-school prep time per week
  • Went from a school in a residential neighborhood to a school in the middle of downtown of a big city


  • Every student has a laptop.  I can’t say we were deficient in tech at Iduma because we had quite a bit of tech in each classroom, but still not the same as 1:1 via BYOD.
  • 1hr 25min activity period at the end of the day for MS students.  That’s more recess that my kids got at Iduma.
  • Centering– wonderful practice of focused breathing and being present
  • Clear & share- We took a day of the week in advisory for everyone to share a good thing that happened, bad thing that happened, and something they’re looking forward to.  I’m a bit hesitant to put this on here because in a way, we did do clear & share in my 5th grade class last year.  Students talked about what they did over the weekend and we also had that show & tell aspect that rivaled a miniature pitso (see below).
  • Advisory- again, I feel I sort of had some advisory like conversations with students at Iduma.  No ‘official’ advisory in elementary school though.
  • Project Week vs. Exhibition- both inquiry based project based learning.  Project Week was less stressful.  [Check out a short film I made about Project Week]
  • Pitso- weekly assembly; most students looked forward to it (different things each week like performances, the Khabele TV show, prep for Project Week, drama skits, learning about holidays, and more)
  • The Forward– a retreat for the entire school over the course of 2 days.  Really fun.

Check out my next weblog: HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR!
By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

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