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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

8 things the school year has taught me so far

We have just started the fourth week of class. Here are my thoughts

1. It's much easier to blog in the summer. Not sure I need to list obvious reasons as to why, just wish I had more time to carefully reflect.

2. My focus this year is to increase critical thinking. Overall, I think I am keeping to that focus. My lesson plans are designed better, they have a natural flow and go from lower level to higher levels. I think this is the best I have ever started out a year and is due in part to this focus. I start with basic knowledge/comprehension and then move to application/analysis, then finally to synthesis/evaluation.

3. Frontloading your year takes a lot of patience and hard work, but four weeks in I can see that this is going to pay off all year. I am more focused and so are the students. I have had to spend a few days getting students used to using programs such as Google Earth and how to share docs on Google Drive and how to use Canvas. Now after using those programs I don't have to explain as much and students just know what to do.

4. Allowing students to publish thoughts/opinions on a forum such as Canvas, I know other schools use Edmodo or another such program, is not only a great way to see what each student has to say about a subject, but gives everyone a voice. As you know only a few of the same kids participate in class discussions, so this forum is much better at allowing EACH and every student a voice. They have time to consider their answer and thoughts before being put on the spot. Whether they are shy or outspoken all of them have an outlet and time to consider their thoughts before hitting submit.

5. Technology has made some things easier, but it still has bugs and is not the same in person. Nothing beats in person.

6. Students are funny. Here is an exchange from this year. If you know Utah geography this will be more funny, if you don't it's still funny.
In an attempt to get to know everyone I memorized everyone's names. After I was successful I then asked the rest of the class if they wanted to try as well. One such student was attempting to get all the names and came to a student named Logan. She then said she needed a hint. I responded that since it was a geography class I would give her a geography clue. I then said Utah State, which is in Logan, Utah. A good clue that most students would have gobbled up. She got excited and shouted out "Idaho". Now I'm not certain where she was going with her answer, but she had heard his name mentioned at least a few times. Let's face it, she just blurted out without thinking.

7. Everyday and each class is a new adventure. Although I teach the same subject, each class is a different experience. In the morning students are still waking up, after lunch they are wired, and no two classes are the same. Funny how each class has its own personality. It's what makes it fresh and exciting.

8. It's taken me a few weeks but I finally feel like I am fully back in gear. Took me a couple weeks but I have my mojo back. I was energized and physically in shape, but it not in teacher shape. My voice is finally up to par as is my stamina and my wit. I imagine the students feel the same. It takes a few weeks to get rolling. So far this is the best start to any school year I have had. Fingers crossed for best year ever.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to read the school year is off to a nice beginning! And I totally agree with point 1: a draft for my blog has been sitting around now for a bit and I need to just force myself to get that reflection time side aside to finish it. But congrats on a great start!