This blog has been a fantastic way for me to formalize the random thoughts that run through my head (and dreams) and typically keep me up at night. Last year I made the typical post in which I laid out my goals for the year. At the time it felt very cliche because it came out when everyone was making theirs (duh, at the beginning of the year). But looking back it was the best thing for me as it focused my brain at the start of the year and gave me specific items to work towards. It also helped keep out the random musings that popped up that sometimes deter my better intentions.
So, this year, my goal setting post has arrived. I hope they inspire you to formalize your goals and, if you haven’t done so already, blog about them so others can gain inspiration.
- Be a Johnny Crayons. School has stopped being fun because we have taken the inquiry, the excitement and passion, and tested the crap out of it. My students came in the first day of school and expected to have notes and quizzes. Really?? Is that what the real world is like? I teach therefore not a good judge of the real world. But, I have never seen one of my friends post on facebook “Started my new job today. Damn was that pop quiz tough!” So I am going to make learning more about the fun and less about the curriculum. I am going to grab onto non-traditional ideas that I see on Twitter and blogs and try them. What’s the worst that could happen? They fail. Well, that’s #4 on my Classroom Guidelines. We now have 4 bungee chairs that I bought from Target (students LOVE them), we draw on lab benches with neon markers, and created a classroom PED policy together on gigantic whiteboards.
- Technology is more than just a tool. A lot of people post on Twitter that technology is just a tool; that the content and learning is more important. While I agree with that in principle, I think this generation is a little different. I feel like they view technology as learning. They learn something about themselves as they tackle tech problems and discover things they never knew existed, but was at their fingertips the entire time. So, technology will be everywhere this year. Phones and computers will be used whenever and wherever they can find a way to use them. Labs are paperless, quizzes will typically be electronic (and the occasional test), on the fly research will be conducted. Let’s put those pocket computers to use and stop fearing them!
- Change the mindset. School has become learn in the building, work at home. Learning needs to happen 24/7 and more importantly, when the students are ready for it. If that means in my classroom, great. If it means on the bus ride to school, that’s fine too. This means that I need to make myself and my class available at all hours of the day. I have given out my email, website, Twitter name, and even my phone number (that’s right, my students can text me on my Google Voice number). Homework can be done on the whiteboards and submitted via picture. Quizzes can be completed on wireless devices. Instructional videos are ready on YouTube to be watched whenever. I need my students to stop viewing my class as something that only happens for 80 minutes a day. We need to hunt down chemistry in the world around us and bring what we find to class for discussions.
What are you doing differently this year? I look forward to hearing your goals for the school year.