I also want the blog to be a reflection of what both I am doing as well as what progress I am seeing in the classroom. This can a be a place that parents can come to get a glimpse inside of their child's classroom and find that we are doing more than the "nothing" they heard at the dinner table discussion about how the day went. We don't send work home anymore that gets posted to the fridge. Blogging about projects or student work is a great way for me to highlight those students who are improving and excelling.
So what's new? First, the iPad. My first tweet last year was about me wanting an iPad, and what a difference a year makes! We are staring a new iPad initiative. Although my tenth graders will not have iPads, it has opened the door to using and utilizing more technology in the classroom. I am excited to see what options this will give the students and how I can really consolidate the multiple things I tend to use. I have stacks (seriously STACKS) of legal notepads in my closet where I jot ideas or do my planning. I can't stand the thought of tossing out the brilliance of what once was...but the idea of reading back over all those just isn't feasible. To know that I won't need to carry my planner, a book, my notes, my flash drive, and my cell phone in order to get everything accomplished is amazing. I am just a novice at this point, but look forward to the ways in which I can find to make life a little easier.
What's going on right now? I am again frantic with all of the things I want to do this year, and trying to figure out how to best fit them in and make sure they flow together. The hurdle I am looking to cross is how to give my students options for assignments that include technology, and how to manage having assignments turned in through various formats. I don't want to think that even if my students all had iPads that I wouldn't give them to option to complete something the way that they need to. I know that physically writing things out helps me to get a handle before I type it up.
Journals are one thing I am trying to wrap my mind around. I have always had my students write in composition journals. Although my husband and I often have had the discussion about paper becoming obsolete- there is still a place. However, if a student decides to use technology to keep their journals- what should they use and how do I then check it? How do I also avoid "I'll do it later on my computer" rather than an assignment in class? How do I know when they say they are typing their journal that they are really working on it?
I would also like to make vocabulary more relevant. In the past I have selected words from test prep lists or their readings. The idea came to me….what if they create the lists? The iPad allows you to “share” a word after you look up the definition. What if their vocabulary lists came from the students themselves? So I am thinking Twitter will be the best avenue. I don’t want to lose the time in between them reading and defining the word for them to share it with everyone else. Things like this will probably work themselves out as I learn the needs of my students, but at the moment they feel chaotic.
I'm looking forward to a wonderful school year with a lot of exciting opportunities. I feel ready to revitalize myself as teacher and challenge myself to learn more and do better. I have found now that I have Coley that my time away from her is precious, and because of that I have found more meaning in my work and my relationship with my students. So here's to an awesome school year! ....just breathe...