star-night

A Mid-Summer Teacher’s Dream

With hours of rest, relaxation, and reflection during the long summer days, comes an abundance of time to brainstorm new ideas for the classroom. I have spent numerous days lurking on Twitter, reading professional books, attending (un)conferences, reading blogs left-and-right, and planning – no, dreaming – how I want to facilitate learning in my new classroom in a little over one month!

I have so many ideas but very few plans, which is a terrible state to live in for a planner like myself. (You can read a previous blog post about my obsessive planning here.) But the plans will come, so I just need to be patient. I have an opportunity to meet with my new team in two weeks, which is when many of my ideas will be able to solidify into something more tangible. Until then, I continue the flow of ideas:

Creating a Vision and Mission statement (done) that truly illustrate my vision for the classroom and my purpose for being there in addition to making posters to hang in my classroom.

Gamifying my classroom. While I’m sold on this idea, I still haven’t pulled the trigger on 3DGameLab or ClassCraft. What am I waiting for? I like both sites, I really do. However, I can’t commit until I find out if any of my teammates use either site. I desire consistency and cohesiveness for the sake of my students, so I’m willing to forgo my first choice if it means I’m matching what my teammates are doing.

LMS. Which system should I use? I have experience with Edmodo and Google Classroom. Our school district just purchased Canvas but my teammates have experience using Google Classroom. Again, since I want consistency above all else, I’m waiting on this one.

Introducing my students to my classroom Instagram/Periscope/Voxer accounts. The three things I’m dying to accomplish this year: 1) Watch my students grow, 2) Teach, and 3) Share all of the amazing things my students do this year! I can’t wait to integrate acceptable formats of Social Media in this classroom. I plan on Instagraming and Periscoping (with families) during the day and using Voxer for homework.

Casto’s Classes for Charity. My fifth grade teacher, Dave Edwards, involved his students in raising money for a wonderful organization, C.A.T.C.H. Since then, I have dreamed of doing the same thing with my students. We will be raising money this year for a charity. I can’t wait to help the community!

Remind. I had a horrible experience with a lack of parental involvement last year. Since I believe wholeheartedly that a student excels with the partnership of school and home, I have decided that I will not tolerate that again. I am going to make sure my students’ families are informed regularly of their areas of strength and growth, and I plan on using Remind to make that communication happen.

Skype in the Classroom. We are going to – somehow and someway – Skype with other classes, other countries, scientists, bankers, CEOs, zoologists, and world leaders!

Giving my students the opportunity to become TedEd enthusiasts and experts in their own fields. Have you been to the most recently-updated TedEd site? Wow! I love the TED Ed Series and how they are grouped together. This is excellent for student research and learning. [I would also love to start a Ted Ed Club…we’ll see if I have time for that, too, this year!]

Formatively assess – early and often. I plan on using Formative and Kahoot for my whole-class lessons and white boards and sticky notes for my smaller, individualized groups.

Adopt a class pet! (Can we even have pets? I don’t even know.)

Discuss the growth mindset. We are all learners. When I began teaching eight years ago, I called myself a “teacher.” Now, I refer to myself as the “lead learner.” That is due to the Growth Mindset.

Green Screen! I haven’t fully pictured how we will use the green screen, but I love the idea of having one for my students to use for projects and presentations.

Whole Brain Teaching. I went to a session on whole-brain teaching last winter and it really resonated with me. While I’m not sure I buy into all of the techniques, I think many of them are ideal for healthy levels of engagement from students. Plus, I think the “Teach-OK” and “Mirror” strategies are excellent for content retention.

Two leftover monitors + Raspberry Pi = serious application of technology! My husband and I found two unused monitors in our storage over the summer. It’s almost like Raspberry Pi knew I was just looking for an excuse to purchase two of their products to put into my classroom for students to explore! I haven’t bought the Raspberry Pi computers – yet – but I can assure you that they are on my Wish List!

Lots of ideas as you can see. And since I blogged about these ideas, I will use my blog to reflect on which ideas worked and which didn’t, and ultimately hold myself accountable. I have so many personal/professional goals, but one of them is to remain innovation-minded and progressive in my field.

So, what do you think? What are some of your goals for the classroom? I would love to know what your plans for the 2015-2016 school year are and if you are struggling in the “limbo” phase (between idealizing and doing) as I am currently. Please share out! And most importantly, enjoy the rest of your summer!

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One thought on “A Mid-Summer Teacher’s Dream”

  1. Hi, Mandy! We have had great success with DoInk for Green Screen at our school with Grades 1-5. I’m not sure if we’ve used it with Kindergarten.

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