Friday, April 10, 2015

Reflections of a Novelty Driven Teacher

The question of the day is what have I not tried this year that I want to?

And that's a funny question this year. Most years, I get wrapped up in trying to keep up with all of the reading basal's directions. "It says I can do this all in five days, but HOW?" I always ended up wondering.

This year was different. This year was about creation, sharing, student voice, student goals, it wasn't about everybody keep up with everybody else. Between starting Genius Hour, working in a sometime Makerspace, and implementing an environment that's designed for creation and sharing, I've dumped a lot of the old, "Now let's all turn to page 238," claptrap.

And the results have been exciting. Our Genius Hour projects have led to some amazing student work, some great charity efforts, and students finding their voices and passions. When my students create response blogs, videos, and posters when they encounter new material, they're collaborating and remembering important information as it's needed. In taking apart old electronics, and (soon) adding a 3D Printer into the mix, my students' imaginations have been tickled in fantastic ways. And lastly, by focusing on students spending time reading the majority of time instead of reading instruction, my kids understand their reading goals, and are showing progress that matches and/or exceeds the district progression line.

This is the year that I've discovered EdCamps, and all of the success I've found in audacity has given me confidence here as well. After attending two EdCamps (I'm talking to you, EdCamp Citrus and EdCamp Orange), I put together a team, and we're going to put on EdCamp St. Augustine on May 9. So with all of this, this isn't the year that I'm going to look back with the regret of, "I wish I'd tried..." That said, there's always more I want to do, and I want to grow as well. As a personal goal, I want to get writing. In class, though, and I've wanted to do this for years, but get overwhelmed when I think of planning, I need to get my kids podcasting. I listen to so many podcasts in my personal time. There are a couple of ed podcasts, and so many comedy/interview shows. I think podcasting is such a powerful medium because the speaker is often jacked right into your brain through your earbuds. If my soapbox is empowering student voices, then putting out a class podcast is approaching quickly on my horizon.

Get ready!

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