*** this post hasn’t been proof-read, apologies for errors ***
I didn’t have writing this post as one of my goals, but after not too gentle prompting from a friend, I have decided to give it a go despite my lack of surety that any dreams will be realised this chaotic year.
Last year I had a bunch of things I wanted to accomplish before the end of the year, I didn’t accomplish them all and you can read about that semi-fail here. This year I will probably be equally as ambitious and unsuccessful … but that’s an OK place to be, I think.
1. I want to use my school’s edmodo domain to better communicate with the staff and whole school. You can get a free school domain from edmodo that allows you to have an administrator to look after passwords and access usage data. There are other cool benefits that you can read about on their website, here. The reason I want to use it better is because I think it will create a culture of cohesion and good technology use practice amongst my colleagues. What does that mean? It means they might start using edmodo, haha. Nah – we have a LOT of teachers using it. I just want to use it as a place to communicate PD opportunities and reminders for students. I hope to wrangle one of our SAS ladies into posting student notices to all students.
2. I want to organise my edmodo library and use folders more effectively with all classes. The features are there to be used, I just haven’t used them well.
3. I want to use the edmodo calender better. I hope to project this up for students once a week with their ‘Important Dates’ for our projects included on them. Basically I want students to use the calendar feature as their project calendar. This will keep them better organised.
4. I want to perfect PBL. That’s a big one. What I mean is that I want to be consistent in the structure of my projects (unless I – or someone else – come up with a better way, that is). I want to help students use KWL charts more effectively and to use the ‘goals, medals, missions’ structure I stole from Petty/Black & William better.
5. I want to continue using ClassDojo consistently with my classes to encourage and celebrate positive habits if mind. Last week I introduced ALL classes to ClassDojo and the first three target HOM for this term. I want to work out how to align the ClassDojo points with edmodo badges and the school merit system. I know what people say about extrinsic rewards, but I don’t care – it’s worked in the past and since they are aligned to positive habits of mind/learning behaviors and not the correct regurgitation of content, I think I’m doing the right thing rewarding my students.
6. I want to bring experts in to my projects. Last year this was my biggest, regrettable fail. It’s all about organisation and planning ahead – things I do TERRIBLY. I need to plan my projects (loosely) well ahead of time so I can invite the appropriate expert to join my students in their projects. The experts might just be beamed in via our VC unit or Skype or they may come in person. They might run a lesson or be an audience member/panelist/judge.
7. I want to plan projects for Year 12 that are awesome, engaging and meaningful BUT that will give them the content, skills and confidence to achieve their personal best in the HSC. This is a MASSIVE struggle for me and I am VERY tempted to do the ‘spoon-feeding’, teacher-centred thing but I refuse. I will work it so they can work effectively in teams and help each other to learn. I will. I will.
8. Feedback and assessment. I want to eliminate grading in all projects unless I MUST include it because my HT tells me to. It’s not necessary – feedback is necessary to learning. I will continue to hone my ability to teach editing and the resources for peer and self-assessment. A lot of class time needs to be devoted to strengthening these skills.
9. I want to create or source PD videos for my colleagues that I will somehow store for their reference. I am thinking edmodo folders will work … but I also like the idea of a Davidson HS YouTube channel where the vids are accessible to other teachers as well. Have contemplated SchoolTube because this is unblocked by the DEC. I also want to upload student-made videos as a showcase of students work/real-world audience. SchoolTube or YouTube? I’m still undecided.
10. I want my PBL projects to be more authentic and if possible cross-curricula. I want to run at least ONE cross-curricula project in my school this year. I’m hoping to have Year 8 run a Shakespeare conference that incorporates science (study of disease) and HSIE (Medieval times study). I haven’t asked anyone so it will most likely not happen. I don’t want all of my projects to be ‘Englishy’ projects that are really just another study of literature removed from the real world and real world problems.
11. I want to get more teachers using a PBL-style pedagogy at least sometimes at my school. If nothing else I want some teachers to start thinking more carefully about assessment and feedback as well as making learning visible by having students openly discuss their learning and reflect on their learning each lesson.
12. I want to connect my school with our feeder primary schools through our use of technology. Perhaps a Davidson HS Community of Schools Technology in Education Showcase for parents and teachers? Ambitious. It would be so cool to have an edmodo group where we can chat and share resources. I think this may be someone else’s agenda for the year so I may need to back away from this.
13. I want to use Skype and our video conferencing units more often – guest teachers, chatting with other classes, students performing/presenting for a wider audience.
14. I want to teach games or use games in my class … just for fun. I love the idea of having students build fictional worlds and narratives within Minecraft or creating machinima with their favourite games.
15. I want to take each class on at least TWO excursions or out of class experiences this year.
16. I want to stop writing lists of things to do that I know I won’t do.