A new year is a great time to look at our accomplishments from the year gone by. Traditionally, it is also the time when we seek out opportunities for growth as we look ahead. I thought I would share some areas in which I would like to grow in 2018. By sharing these with you, I hope that maybe you can be inspired to take on some new learning, grow as an individual and a teacher, and get out of your comfort zone to try something challenging.
I’ll start with a quick review of my resolutions from last year. It’s nice to see that I have made some progress in some of these areas—although I still need to charge my laptop before meetings!
Here are some goals and challenges for the upcoming year:
Lead a twitter chat for the first time. I've started to partake more in weekly and monthly educhats on Twitter. I have found them informative, inspiring, and a great way to learn professionally. Many of the questions that are asked are higher level, deep, and really make me think, so one of my goals for this year is to challenge myself to become part of a community where I could lead a chat to stimulate thinking just like others have for me. If you don’t network and learn professionally in this manner, get started in 2018!
Using meaningful data from student discipline. I have written a lot over the years about how to maintain positive classroom environments and how to use data to create a positive school environment. At our school, we have numerous data structures that we use to monitor student behavior. One of my goals for 2018 is to create more actionable and meaningful follow-through for that data.
Share our “Coding Explosion” with others. Throughout the last school year, we have integrated computer science and coding in our middle school classes. All 7th and 8th graders are learning app creating and coding on Raspberry Pi units. Some of the projects are incredible for students of their age and experience. In 2018 I hope to find more avenues to network with other schools and to share the greatness that is going on in these classrooms with our community.
Test run some of the latest technology. The ProColor interactive flat panel displays look amazing. They came out in 2017 and our school is ready to purchase some displays/projectors/IWBs in the upcoming years. We aren’t sure yet which format we will be getting, but I hope to test run one of these to check out the 4K TouchDisplay technology.
Formative assessment to change teaching. In our district, we stress the importance of formative assessments—and lots of frequent checks for understanding—to help us know if students are learning. This should help to drive and form our instruction, but can be a challenging and overwhelming task for teachers. So in 2018, I would like to model the process of how it would work during professional learning. We will try to learn new material, process it in some way, check for understanding of the material, and then adjust for differentiated instruction accordingly. If you already use Student Response Systems (SRS) for assessment, here is a great guide for best practices.
Plan a summer teacher field trip. A friend of mine—who is a technology whiz—is a huge advocate for the summer teacher field trip. Just like with our own children, going on a field trip creates a whole new set of experiences and learning that does not happen by just reading out of a book. There are so many great historical landmarks around my area that I've never been to, so I would like to organize some teachers to visit these places together and learn about them as a group. It could become a good model for how to conduct a field trip in the future.
Create a summer STEM camp for kids. This one has been on my radar for a couple of years now. I feel we have invested in some great resources, such as EV3 Lego robotics, Ozobots, coding software, rocketry materials, and many others. During the summer months, these just sit on shelves. We could engage students in deeper learning if we could find a way to offer them this experience during the summer months.
There you have it—just a few of my resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. I’m sure 2018 will fly by just like 2017 did, so I had better get moving. I hope your resolutions create great learning experiences for your students and school, too!
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