Sunday, April 8, 2018

Trying New Things

     This year I have seen significant growth in me professionally.  I began to actively use Twitter, started a podcast, blog, Twitter Chat, and now have my own website.  If you would have asked me if I thought this would happen, I would have said, "I really doubt that."  However, as time progressed over the course of this year I have found an educational awakening emerge.  I wanted to do more for my students, and I wanted to learn from others about how to do that.
    Last year, I would definitely say I went through the challenges of a first year teacher.  Many days felt like they belonged squarely in the loss column.  The first half of the year my "projects" were at best well-designed worksheets, but definitely needed more to authentically create learning in my room.  As the second half the year began, I knew I wanted to be more and do more for my students.  I worked to design some more authentic assignments, but as I went into summer the goal was to make the next year even better.
    I am happy to report that things have improved.  Assignments like my Westward Expansion Twitter Project and Roaring Twenties Website Design Project have allowed for my students to authentically engage in the production of knowledge.  I still use the first part of my class to tell stories and for students to take notes, this time has created powerful conversations and has revealed to students the humanity behind the various historical figures we study.  The second part of class has students engaging in sources and designing products to allow student to utilize their critical thinking skills ingraining quality historical knowledge as well.  
     Sometimes, lessons did not work as well as I hoped.  There are days that go in the loss column.  Yet I do not feel defeated.  I feel emboldened.  I feel a hope and inspiration to come back the next day, the next lesson and help my students.  I feel a desire to redesign that lesson so that it can become one of my best lessons of the year.  
    We are all heading into the final quarter.  Preparing for an exciting summer (trip to Disney, yippee!) and a 1:1 tech initiative in school, I plan to make next year even better.  But for now, I still have one quarter left.  I am not counting down to summer with a mindset of "Thank goodness I only have 9 more weeks left with these kids," but with a mindset of "I have one quarter left to make a difference.  How can I be most effective?"  That means there is still time to try new things.  There is still time to make that difference.
      We are all in this homestretch.  What mindset are you following?  Are you just checking days off the calendar and just following business as usual.  Or... are you going into this last quarter willing to try new things and make sure that this final quarter is just as exciting and engaging as your first quarter excitement?  The choice is yours.

1 comment:

  1. I do not count down the days or let anyone in my class. Out loud at least. We start State testing in a week or so, and that will take up a lot of our time. I will try out things to see what will work, at least in theory for the beginning of next school year.