As this school year gets ready to start here in southeastern Louisiana, I am thinking about what I can do to make it great. I have been reading thoughts from others in my PLN (personal learning network) on this topic and I have come up with 8 things I promise to do during this year.
1. Try New Things - I am beginning my 35th year of teaching. Wow, even to me the sounds like a long time. But even after all of these years I love being a teacher. I like being the innovative teacher who tries to integrate technology into every lesson. This one should be easy because I have spent the summer learning new ways to use new tools with my students.
2. Connect With My Students - This year I really want to get to know my students' passions. Our classroom theme will be "My Passion is..." I will have all of my students blogging and I plan to add lots of comments to their posts.
3. Get Parents Involved - I will be adding a new kind of teaching to my plate this year. Beside teaching my fourth graders math and social studies, I will be doing some teaching for parents. My plan is to have evening computer training sessions for parents. I want them to learn about digital safety , creating a digital footprint, and using social media for learning.
4. Get My Class Creating, Connecting, and Collaborating - Some of the ways I will get my students creating is by starting the year off with "About Me" Wordles. They will be using kidblog.org for creating their blogs. They will create a Glogster about their passion. We will use Skype to connect with other classes throughout the year. Also my students will be commenting on others' blogs. We will participate in many collaborative projects locally, nationally, and globally.
5. Talk Less and Listen More - I have been getting better at this over the last couple of years. When I got comfortable with the idea that I can't know it all I started learning more from my students. One of my favorite classroom activities is to get them working on their latest project and then "eavesdrop" as they work cooperatively. I learn a lot about my students while doing this informal assessment.
6. Find Balance in My Life - Okay, I'll admit it. The older I get, the geekier I get. I find that I can spend many hours at a time online tweeting, reading articles and blogs, or looking for great projects for my students to do. Too much of my socializing is done online. My house chores get put on hold. I don't eat properly or get enough sleep at times. While I love spending time on my computer, I will be conscious of taking time for other things in my life also. I need to read books, go to the movies, and get out of my house and go for walks.
7. Laugh More - I tend to be more serious than silly, but I love when I can have a good laugh. I am going to be on the lookout for more things that make me laugh this year. The first place I can look is at myself. Being able to laugh at myself in front of my students is the one thing I will have to work on the most this year.
8. Don't Tech Just Because - Since I have a whole room full of new tech tools this year, I am excited to start using them in every way possible. I will make sure that I am using technology to enhance the lesson and engage my students, not just because it is there. I am carefully planning my units and lessons to make sure that learning is at the forefront, not the technology.
So there are my promises to myself. What would you add?