Monday, August 1, 2016

It may not be New Years, but...

It may not be January 1st but it's a new SCHOOL year and with that comes time to reflect and do some goal setting. It's always about this time of year when I've had just enough rejuvenation that I begin to get super excited about the adventures that the new school year will bring: meeting a new class, seeing former students, chatting with colleagues that you haven't seen in a couple of months, the excitement of new school supplies- you know- cool new pens, maybe a new piece of decor for the classroom... it all makes me happy!!

Along with those things, I always begin to ponder what goals I want to make for myself. How will I stretch myself to become a better educator? I love the Sketchnote below by Sylvia Duckworth that lists 15 things every teacher should try. I've shared this on Twitter a couple of times over the last year but have never shared it here on the blog so here it is!

For some, these ideas may seem overwhelming and for others these may feel very basic, but so many of these ideas can be personalized to where you are at as a learner and your technology comfort level. Without even realizing it, many of these ideas probably already have some overlap into what you are doing in your classroom. For example, my classes have participated in many of Jen Wagner's, Projects by Jen activities which fully encompasses #5 above. If you're a novice tech user, you may want to check out her site for some super projects that will not stress you out but will enable you to bring great collaborative learning to your classroom. The great thing about many of her projects is you can put as much or as little as you want into them depending on your class, the time you may have and your comfort level. On the flip side though, you can really let your creativity run wild with some of the projects as well and they tie very nicely into the curriculum.

Along with many of these projects you will have the opportunity to connect with another class via Skype or Google HangOut 
There's #6!

Connecting in this way allows your students to see that students around the world are no really no different than they are. My community is not very diverse at all and so this opened doors to us that many of my students may never get to experience. In addition we were able to authentically increase our geography skills as well. Doing a GHO or Skype session is really quite painless and the benefits are phenomenal to say the least.

How many of you are using Kahoot? This is a great way to gamify your classroom. Not everything all day every day has to be gamified... just spice things up a bit with a Kahoot game here or there. We use them in my class to review math concepts, practice math facts, comprehension questions after a good read aloud, and even for our iPad License quiz at the beginning of the year. They are super easy to create and kids LOVE them... It's a no-brainer 

You've just covered #10!!

By no means am I trying to check off as many of these items as I can, put find one that puts you a little bit out of your comfort level, stretches your learning just a bit and make it your goal. Your students will thank you for it and you'll have accomplished adding another tool to your toolkit or even better- you'll have  found another way to embed meaningful technology into your curriculum.

As for my goal... last year my kiddos used Seesaw (absolutely phenomenal, game changing, can't say enough about it) as I worked to create digital portfolios. Overall I would say it was a very successful year and something I want to continue to refine. This year though I want my students to branch out just a bit more and share their learning through blogging. So my goal this year is going to revolve around #4. The best part is, Seesaw offers the ability to blog right in the app! This should make the workflow easy and allow me to help my students hone their blogging skills. I'm excited to see what we'll be able to do with this and the connections that may come of it!!

What's your goal going to be this year? 

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