- Better utilize mentor texts with my teaching.
- Be mindful and focus on the choice of words I use with my students.
- Instill a sense of wonder in my students.
You'll notice that not one of these goals is specifically technology driven. I can assure you I am NOT dropping technology from my teaching practice. With a year of twitter under my belt I have a reputation as a lead teacher when it comes to integrating technology into a grade one classroom. I'm honoured people see me this way and I really love exploring developmentally appropriate uses of technology. I love helping others discover how amazing it is for teaching and learning. But, I am about so much more than just using technology. Ultimately I am about becoming the best educator I can be in all areas of my teaching and learning. Technology is one area I am keen to learn more about but it is only one of several areas I am trying to learn more about. Twitter has been great. It has allowed me to get connected with so many truly passionate teachers in so many areas. I am very thankful for that. Here is a closer look at my three goals for the 2012/13 school year.
Better Utilize Mentor Texts With My Teaching
In the past I've shared some good literature with my students but lately I find that I'm missing many opportunities to be sharing it more frequently. Literature is so key in the development of my students and I know that I can teach, share, and better motivate them by utilizing the books I have available to me. In addition, I must admit that I love reading blog posts about good children's books. I love the conversations I've had with teachers such as Cathy Mere, Laura Komos, and Carrie Gelson as they so openly share their passion for books. I want to be like that too - so passionate about something so important. By setting the goal of better utilizing mentor texts I think I will re spark my love for good literature which in turn will inspire my students to have a similar passion.
To help achieve this goal I have created a wiki that I will add to and I hope others will add to as well. It will be a list of mentor texts that are used by teachers and the WHY they are using them. I will also make sure that when my timetable is set in September time for literature sharing will be front and centre in my daily structures. I have arranged my cupboards as well to better store my mentor texts. I have so many books in my room that I often forget what I have. Having a section specifically for storing my mentor texts will help me better access them. I will also continue to utilize my school librarian and my amazing book loving friends near and far. Any other suggestions?
Be Mindful and Focus on the Choice of Words I Use with My Students
Last October I read a book called Choice Words by Peter Johnston. I actually felt pretty good as I read it because I believe I use a lot of the words/phrases that he recommends we use when we interact with our students. It's a good book and one that I will be revisiting before this summer is over (along with his latest book Opening Minds). However, as much as I connected with him and what he was writing I want to be even more mindful with the words I use with my students in all areas of my teaching/learning.
This goal is partly inspired by Aviva Dunsiger. Last school year I read and watched as she documented her journey with descriptive feedback. I watched as her students began to provide similar feedback to one another. I didn't need to be sold on the powerful descriptive feedback has on increasing student learning but she did make me more aware of the multitude of places I can use it, out side of the 1:1 conference time I have with my students.
I'm hoping to achieve this goal by (re)reading Peter Johnston's books. In addition this summer I've been reading books on conferencing with young writers, and reading more about working with young mathematicians. They too talk about specific language to use when speaking with children. I am going to try my best to implement what I have been learning. In addition, I expect with the projects that I'm involved with at the school district level that I will continue to have visitors in my classroom. I hope that they will be able observe the language I use with my students and provide me with important feedback. I am also hoping to work closely with the early literacy and numeracy helping teachers and learn along side of them. Of course I'll share my learning here on this blog too, which means I should be able to receive feedback from my wonderful personal learning network. And if I get brave enough (which since I've just put it here on my blog for the world to read I'll have to find that bravery) I will record myself while I'm teaching to see what I really sound like. I know Aviva did that a few times last year and it was so inspiring for me to read her reflections on the the experience. What other suggestions do you have for me to look into?
Instill a Sense of Wonder in My Students
In a nut shell, I want to work with and continue to support my students' curiousity. I want to look into doing some passion based learning with them. I love what I saw Kathy Cassidy do with her class. One class blog post that stands out is when she had a firefighter in her room and instead of the fire fighter teaching the children about his job, the children asked him questions about his job. The students were learning exactly what they wanted to be learning and from what I can tell they had appropriate questions to fill his entire visit. How powerful is that?
To continue to instill/support/foster this sense of wonder I want to utilize the Wonderopolis blog on a daily basis. If you aren't familiar with it I highly recommend you check it out. I also want my students to walk into our classroom, see a picture, and wonder about it. I want them to talk and share their wonders. I want them to explore passion based learning particularly with socials and science curriculum although I'd be game to have it occur in other areas too. I want to be their facilitator, helping guide them while allowing them to be at the centre of learning. I want them to wonder all the time, to take the time to notice and be curious about what's around them. I want to find a way to make the concept of "Genius Hour" work with my grade one students.
In addition to utilizing Wonderopolis I am meeting and talking with other like minded teachers interested in passion/project based learning at the early primary level. I have also read The Passion Driven Classroom and hope to utilize what I learned from there too. What other suggestions do you have for me?
Perhaps these are not the three goals you figured such a tech inspired teacher would set for her grade one class? Don't worry, I still have ever intention of fully utilizing technology in my classroom. With our successful Innovative Learning Grant (meaning some iPads in my classroom) I look forward to utilizing technology to meet my students' literacy and numeracy needs as well as allow them more opportunity for creative expression and global collaboration. I am still just as excited as ever to bring the world to my students and my students to the world. Technology will be integrated into most things we will be doing but it will not be the key to what I do with my students. I have a lot of little ideas I want to implement and I've started recording some of them on my special wiki. Their learning, not the technology, is my focus. Helping them become the best they can be is the WHY behind my teaching.
What are your goals for the 2012/13 school year?