I made some professional goals this summer, a few weeks before my year-round school year began. One of the goals was to continue blogging and reflecting on my practice. I admit that if I was being graded on my blogging, I would earn a big, fat “F”. Wow, this goal is going to be much harder to achieve than I had originally believed.
Teaching is a time-consuming profession. This is not news to any teacher out there. We spend most of our awake hours lesson planning, grading assignments, meetings, creating assessments, analyzing assessments, and, oh yeah, teaching. There are not enough hours in the day to get it all done! Yet, I made it a goal to stay in touch with the blogging world, so I am going to take advantage of this “extra” day off to blog about it. “It” being the many reasons I haven’t blogged.
Blogging requires topics to think about and then talk about. While I’ve come across many blog-worthy topics (i.e., technology in classrooms, teaching PBLs, running an after-school camp, and working in a high-poverty school) I haven’t had time to sit down and really delve into any of them on a blogging level. Until now. I would like to take this extra day, Labor Day, to blog about some new elements of my daily teaching life that have made teaching easier for me. Hopefully they will help you, too.
Prezis: Prezis are not new, but they were new to me about one month ago. I made my first Prezi (http://prezi.com/ylypmiedscwr/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy) to introduce the brand new STEAM class to our middle school students. It is much more eye-appealing than MS’s PowerPoint, and the templates are so user-friendly. www.prezi.com
Student Feedback Surveys: One best practice that I was determined to implement into my classroom this year was student feedback surveys. We already conducted one survey after our initial PBL lesson and it really helped. What I learned, though, was that students need experience in taking these surveys, and I could tell that this was the first one they had ever taken for a teacher before. Although I didn’t get the meaty responses I was looking for, I was able to get the overall big picture of my students’ likes and dislikes and some insight into the changes they would make if we were to teach this lesson again. While there are various platforms to conduct surveys, we used the free survey service provided by www.surveymonkey.com.
STEAM Education: STEAM education is a unique and powerful curricular tool to teach the sciences and arts in a project-based way. The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) fields of professionalism and college degrees are sky-rocketing, and we need to prepare our kids for a STEAM world. U.S. State Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon) made her voice heard earlier in 2013 with her position on STEAM: “STEAM education will foster creativity, innovation, and thinking outside the box – all of which will help our students on the path to global competitiveness.” Our world is only going to get more advanced in these areas, and students who are not exposed to sci-tech, engineering, math and design are going to fall behind. I wish all schools had a STEAM program, and it is my
goal personal mission to make this brand new program a success for my school.
DonorsChoose.Org I am so thankful for this online donation organization. My principal told me about Donors Choose two months ago and I quickly signed up two projects. They were fully funded within 2 weeks. I was blessed with some donations from friends and family. But the best part were the donations made by perfect strangers who donated to my project out of the kindness of their heart. Wow! My students and I are so thankful for these donations….what an amazing organization! www.donorschoose.org
And while my blogging presence and Twitter (@thatmathlady) presence may be lacking lately, don’t think I’m not following you all and reading your blogs and Tweets! I follow my Twitter PLN every spare moment I get and try to read up on all the blogs each morning. Thank you for continuing to share with me your magic in the classroom…I hope to be able to return the favor intermittently throughout the school year! 🙂