Saturday, June 2, 2012

Revisiting Goals

After attending RSCON#3 over the mid summer long weekend in July 2011 I set some goals for myself.  I revisited my goals in October and wrote about the changes I had made to that point.  Today marks exactly 10 months since I first set my goals and I figure it's time to revisit them again.  And to perfectly honest it's a great distraction from writing year end report cards.

So here goes...

I will set up a class blog with my grade one class this year. I hope to have a blog that the parents of my students can go to see what we are doing in class, and that the rest of the world can check out too.  My class blog is still up and running.  I have added many new exciting links and tools to it and it continues to attract visitors from around the world.  We've had over 17,000 visits which far surpasses any other blog I've maintained.  In addition my students continue to blog both at school and from home on their individual blogs.  They have become great writers.  What I love most is the comments that they are now leaving one another.  Back in October while we had started writing on our individual blogs, we hadn't published any posts publicly.  As of this evening we have over 550 blog posts posted, with over 1,400 comments.

I will take the time to learn as many Web 2.0 tools as I can that can either benefit my teaching, my students learning, this blog, or my class blog. The beauty I've discovered with Web 2.0 tools is that they keep being created.  I now use a tool that sends links that I tweet on Twitter directly to my Diigo account.  We have a pet on our class blog which anyone can feed and water, and our visitors can leave us voice messages.  Every time I see a new tool that peeks my interest I have to check it out.  So yes, I think this goal has been achieved, and will continue to be improved upon.

I will continue to differentiate my teaching because I believe so strongly about it, but I will look even more closely at how I go about differentiating. Perhaps this shouldn't have ever been a goal because I have always believed in differentiation.  In my classroom my students are rarely doing the same thing at the same time.  In fact I bet if my admin took a look at the amount of photo copying I've done this year they will be pleasantly surprised that it has been very little.  What I have discovered is more ways to differentiate, particularly by incorporating more technology.

I will provide more opportunities for my grade one students to show me what they know in the manner that they are most comfortable with.  I have tried to provide my students with a variety of opportunities to show me their knowledge.  Choice is a big component to my literacy program and this choice allows me to see where my students are at.

I will book the “free” lab time more often as well as bring the laptops into my classroom much earlier than term three.  My students are very comfortable using the school laptops and the lab PCs.  I also arranged for the district iPod loaner set to be in my school twice, and the district iPad loaner set to be in my school once.  We embraced all the technology we had available to us.

I will look for grants to get more technology into my classroom, and into my school. In late November I was invited to attend an iPad training session.  At that time I received an iPad to use with my class and that iPad has been used by my students every day.  I also managed to get a projection device donated to my classroom which is also used constantly.  But most exciting thing is that myself, and four other fantastic educators from my school wrote and submitted a proposal for our school districts Innovative Learning Grant.  The successful schools were awarded  $20,000 from the district and $5,000 from the school to go towards purchasing technology.  And guess what?  We were successful. What this means for my school is that we will finally get some much needed technology. There are exciting times coming.

I will read as many blogs as I can, and comment as often as possible.  I must admit that the more blogs I read the more blogs I add to my google reader.  I have found so many inspiring educators. I continue to make a conscious effort to leave comments on blogs that get my brain spinning. I continue to learn so much from my fellow educators.  While I am not always caught up on the posts in my google reader, I love knowing that there is great reading just waiting for me.

I will be willing to help anyone that can use my help. Through Twitter I have continued to chat and share my knowledge with other like minded individuals.  I have also met with several teachers in my district - answering their questions, sharing what I've learned, and learning from them.  I know that the connections I've made with so many teachers in my district have sparked more connections as they are sharing what they have learned with others.  I also presented two workshops at our annual convention and shared the links to my presentations (blogging in primary) (tech in primary) with anyone that had an interest in them.  I've connected nationally and internationally too,sharing what I'm doing with people that are interested in finding out.   I've written three times for the International Reading Association, and I will be writing  more articles for them in the future.  I've gone from a  grade one teacher, to a grade one teacher with connections around the world. I am teaching anyone that is interested in learning from me.  My motto is share the love.

I will have my class fully participate in the Post Card Project. I must admit this slowed a bit because it was really hard to find postcards from my students' community of Surrey.  We did send about eight postcards and we received four so it wasn't a complete write off.  But I did connect with a lot more classes on line, through our class blog,  our class Twitter account, and our participation in the Flat Classroom project.

I will try my best to instill in my students that they can feel, imagine, do and share.  This is still something that I have to work on with my students. 

I will be a change agent. Back in October I didn't comment on this goal but today I think I can.  I have been on a real mission  to spread my love for technology with anyone that will listen, but particularly those people that teach K-3.  I discovered that this age range is not well represented at our district level and I wanted that changed. By making a conscious effort to connect with as many like minded primary educators in my district as I can I know that things are changing.  People who once thought I was nuts for what I was trying to do with my students, are trying to do it too.  And it's exciting to see what the others are doing.  Something as simple as setting up my class blog has helped inspire others to give it a try too.  In my school there are now eight class blogs up and running.  This time last year there were none.  So yes, I do believe that I have been an agent for change, but I also believe that I have not fully accomplished this goal.

It certainly has been an exciting ten months for me.  I've accomplished many other goals that I did not put down on paper on that faithful day in August. While I am super proud of what I've accomplished this year there is still so much more I want to do and achieve.  If you can believe it I am already starting to think about some of the incredible things I will be doing with my class next year.  The technology grant awarded to my school, a long with another special project I am involved with will bring some seriously exciting  changes to my teaching.  But I guess first I need to start writing those darn year end report cards.

What goals have you set for yourself? How are you doing with achieving them? I'd love to hear from you.


  1. You've had a busy year, indeed, filled with an enormous amount of learning by your students, your colleagues (near and far), your student's parents and yourself as well. Definitely a lot of learning had by all.

    You have been very busy this year, accomplishing much more than you likely thought was possible. Actually, more than you thought even a possibility, I bet. It's been fun to watch (and participate in).

    I look forward to learning from and with you for the coming year(s). It will be very interesting, I'm sure!


    1. Thanks Tia, it certainly has been quite a year for me. As I said to someone we both work with, I have achieved goals I didn't even know I wanted to achieve this year. Writing this all down really helped me see how far I've come in such a short period of time. Setting up a personal wiki to record where I want to go is helping guide my direction for the future. I certainly am on quite a personal learning journey and I know there will be many more interesting adventures in my future. Looking forward to having you along for the ride. :-) Karen

  2. wow you've had a very busy year. the thing that strikes me the most about the comments in your blog is the idea that you are constantly pushing yourself to be better. I love that as my motto is always to be the best you can be. you are certainly being a good role model for your students. keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Lynda. It has been quite a year for me. I have a bit of a history of pushing boundaries. Sometimes I think my mind works differently than many of those around me. This year has just been a explosion year for me. In the past while my teaching was important to me, I was pretty focussed on my triathlon or marathon pursuits. Those have certainly taken to the back burner this year as so much of my energy has been focussed on improving my teaching. I love to learn, and improve, always have, always will. I certainly don't see it stopping anytime soon. I have quite a few very exciting projects underway so next year will be yet another totally different teaching year for me. It's exciting and seeing my excitement spread is just as powerful for me. Thanks again for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really appreciate them.


  3. Hi there,

    I am currently a TOC in Surrey and LOVE what you are doing with tech in the classroom. Your passion to continue to learn just leaps off the page! Because of teachers like you (and those I've met on twitter) I have created a list of goals for my first classroom. On the top of that list is to start a classroom blog and help my students view the world as a globally connected place. It is great to know that some of the way will already be paved for me by teachers and schools like yours that have embraced tech.

    1. Thanks for your vote of confidence Kerri. I hope our district has been treating you well and getting you a lot of work. Being a TOC can be tough, but it's also a great way to see different classroom environments. A lot can be learned from visiting classrooms, I wish I could do that more often. A class blog is a great way to start. It has changed the way I teach. Now a days every thing we do I see as something we (or I) can blog about. If you ever have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me via twitter or our district e-mail. I really do love helping people move along their technology journey. I am always impressed to see where people head, and I learn just as much from those that are seeking my help. Keep in touch, and good luck landing that first classroom of yours. Karen

  4. Hi Karen,

    I love your honesty and how open you have been in helping others! I for one have jumped in because of your inspiration and am loving the challenge. I do have a goal to learn and become more comfortable with the technology myself and using it in the classroom. I am working on giving up some more of the control in the classroom to student choice. I think starting the students on blogging this year has been a success, I would like to take it further next year and see more connections made with a greater audience. Thanks for all your encouragement!

  5. Lora, I am so grateful for meeting you and Niki at EdCamp in February. It's fun for me to know there are other like minded primary teachers in our district jumping out of their comfort zone to explore using technology with their students. Next year will be so exciting,with both of our schools having a nice influx of technology. Together I'm pretty sure we can do anything we put our minds to. Can't wait to have access to your students blogs. :-) Karen

  6. SHARE THE LOVE- thank you for this! I have felt the love over the past 6 months! I appreciate our discussions and always walk away feeling rejuvenated :)

    You have had an amazing year! Very inspiring!! My major goal was beginning the Multiage Program Pilot with Ann- and I am happy with the success of the program, how we have grown as educators, and the empowered Learners excited to return next fall and the others that are fully prepared for middle school. Within this program we vowed to use more technology, integrate the content areas, and personalized the learning experience for each student- and we successfully achieved all 3... Big plans for next year as we tweak and improve of program based on student, parent, and staff feedback! I feel like I had other personal goals I achieved, as well as new ones for next year... I feel several blog posts coming on :)

    I look forward to our future collaborations, Karen- we can continue to support each other in our roles as change agents!

  7. Celina, I love how you make me think and really explain what and why I do what I do. I love your desire to improve your teaching and how you and Ann are doing what you're doing because the research is telling you it's best for your students, even if those around you aren't ready to admit that. I'm thankful to have you in my personal learning network. I can't wait to read those blog posts of yours. And my theory on share the love is keep sharing, because even just infecting one person may be the one person that sparks some others, and so on , and so on. I've seen proof of that in my own school district and it is so exciting to see. Such lucky children in my district. Thank for being you. We WILL meet one day soon. Karen

  8. Karen, I'm absolutely amazed by all you've done in a year. You've really changed your approach to teaching, and you've done it, because you care so much about your students and about ensuring that they're successful. That's huge, and definitely worth celebrating!

    In previous years, I've often set goals to learn new tools or find a new way to use that tool in the classroom to help students learn. My previous principal last year though challenged me to instead just set an "academic goal," and then to see how the tools fit into this goal. This was a new approach for me, but it worked well. It made me focus on curriculum, and then look at how I could use the tools that I have to deliver this curriculum in a way that all students can be successful. I really focused on my math program this year and made WAY bigger changes in it than I ever imagined. My students are far better math thinkers than they've ever been before.

    So, all that being said, what will your goal be for next year? I'm so excited to see where you go next!


  9. Aviva, when I discovered Twitter last summer, and listened to you speak at the RSCON3 conference (that's when I first "met" you) I was so over whelmed with what was available to me in the digital world. SO OVER WHELMED. But look at me now :-)

    I agree that the goals no longer need to be technology based and I love the idea of an academic goal. I have secretly set up a place where I've been collecting ideas I want to implement, where i want to improve, and how I want to go about doing that. It's pretty lengthy though so I need to look at it over the summer to trim it down manageable goasl. I'm also involved with a district inquiry project (or two) and have some things I'm researching for those as well. I need to get through June though (student reports, student teacher report, year end etc..) before I will be able to officially write my new goals. Don't you worry though there are goals coming.

    Thanks tons for your feedback Aviva. :-)

  10. Karen,

    Witnessing your technology journey every day has truly been an inspiration this year, and I am a grateful beneficiary of your "share the love" philosophy. :-) Thank you for your enthusiasm and encouragement. Venturing into the world of blogging and web 2.0 tools with my students this year has made me look at my teaching practice in new ways and opened up so many possibilities. I am so excited to continue this journey next year with our new school iPads. Next stop: Twitter! Thanks for being who you are.

    1. Thank you Megan for such a wonderful comment. Just in case you have forgotten, I love what you do with your students and I know how super lucky they are to have you as their teacher. I am also very excited to be working with you next year as member of our technology grant team. Oh the things you're going to be doing. You'll HAVE to get on twitter to share your awesome teaching. Hopefully the Twitter world can handle it but I'm pretty sure they can. Nothing pushes your thinking and learning more than being a connect educator. Thank you for being who you are. Karen :-)