Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Week 8 Reflection

During this course, I have worked on developing a GAME plan to increase my effectiveness in the classroom. One area in which I wanted to work on improving was in the area of professional learning communities. I want to collaborate with others in the field of education and continue to be informed about developments in technology. I want someone to hold me accountable for increasing my knowledge and applying it in my classroom.

As part of my GAME plan, I have joined several online communities to blog and share information. I also have asked several staff members to help hold me accountable within my district. Several staff members have begun blogging and reading together to increase collaboration within the district. I also have several staff members who have agreed to meet with me periodically so we can share information with each other and problem solve areas in our classrooms. I will continue with these communities.

I also wanted to increase the reflection that my students do in regard to their own work. I feel I have begun to collect different methods of reflection and would like to continue to do so. It is important that students think about their work and the work of others.

As a result of this course, I will continue to include technology in my classroom. I have set up Google accounts for all of my students and would like to add RSS feeds to their accounts, using some of the updates as required readings. I would also like to incorporate digital storytelling into my literature units in order to help students share what they learn. Digital storytelling has many benefits within my language arts classroom.

Overall, I have found the GAME plan effective and will continue to use it with my students.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Week 7: GAME plan

Throughout the past several weeks, I have thought about and evaluated my own GAME plan for increasing my knowledge and understanding of the technology standards for teachers. These standards are important because they are necessary skills and knowledge for the future success of our students. Students will need these skills in order to be competitive in the future economy.
To that end, I have been working toward my GAME plan: setting goals, taking action, monitoring my work, and extending it. As I consider implementing these standards in my classroom for my students, I see the value in using the GAME plan with them as well.
There are many ways to incorporate this type of plan with students, and as teachers we should be continually setting goals with our students and working through the parts of the GAME plan. In particular, I want my students to be familiar with the technology goals and 21st century skills that will be necessary for their future success.
To begin, I would like to have my students work in groups to evaluate the standards. Over the course of the semester, I would like them to break down each standard into student-friendly language and discuss what they mean and what they look like in the real world. I would also like them to consider the advantages to having these types of skills.
As they work, I would like students to develop their own GAME plan to prioritize the standards and begin to work toward mastery of them. Throughout the semester, I will ask my students to set goals to incorporate these standards into their work in the classroom. As they set their goals, I will have them keep reflective journals to see what their goals are and how they are working toward them. Periodically, we will review their journals together in our conferences. I will ask them to list specific steps they need to take to work toward their goal, and they will reflect in their journals how they are progressing to their goal. Our conferences and their journals will allow them to monitor their progress. Each time we meet, I will ask how they are progressing and if their goals need changed or amended to reflect new skills or information. As they achieve their goals, I will ask them how they can extend the knowledge and skills they have gained.
At the end of the semester, I would like students to blog about their reflections and the achievements they have had due to following their GAME plan to learn and incorporate the standards into their classwork, as well as where they will go from here in regard to their GAME plans.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Week 6

As I continue to work toward meeting the goals of my GAME plan, I have begun collecting reflection tools and inquiring of others how they have students reflect upon their learning. I have continued to add to my portfolio of ideas for reflection. In addition to exit cards, I have found several other ideas I will try within the next semester. One idea is to have students write down goals for learning at the beginning of the unit or lesson. They can list their goals on post-it notes and then we can hang them in the room somewhere. After the lesson, we can verbally reflect whether or not we feel those goals have been met. Another idea is to set students up with accountability pen pals. Students would be paired up with one another and would blog or write back and forth to discuss what they have learned, what they are learning, and what they need to continue to work on. I feel I have discovered some great resources to help with this goal.
I am continuing to work on developing my professional growth and leadership. The first week of blogging with colleagues has been successful. However, I have not had much success in finding other teachers who are willing to hold me accountable within my teaching practices. Another option I am going to try is video taping some of my lessons and asking others to view them to critique my teaching style. I would like to have some feedback on ways to improve. I am also continuing my search for other PLC options.
I am not yet sure I am ready to pursue other goals as of yet. However, I would like to begin to incorporate more problem-based learning in my classroom, which ties in with the NETS standard of engaging students in real-world issues and problems with digital media and resources. In this regard, I will begin by refreshing my knowledge on wikis and planning for several PBL opportunities.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Week 5

I am continuing to adapt my GAME plan as I need to in order to progress. First of all, I have been working on reflection tools for my students. I have found several surveys that students can fill out regarding their work and have asked for fellow staff members to look at them and give me their input. I have also asked other colleagues how they help students reflect upon their growth. One colleague suggesting having students create short recordings. She suggested they record their goals at the beginning of a project, paper, or activity, and then record their thoughts after completion. I like this idea and feel I can incorporate it easily into my classroom, as my students all know how to use Voice Thread and create podcasts. In this case, my actions have led to some success in finding reflection tools that will work in my classroom. I would still like to learn how to help students reflect on smaller tasks within the classroom, such as daily lessons. I want to find resources to help students see what they learn on a daily basis. I have used exit cards in the past and would like to continue to add to that idea.

Secondly, I have been working on being accountable by finding a PLC. To date, I have had 5 staff members inquire about the book I am studying and blogging about. 5 does not seem like a large number, but it has only been about a week, and I work with a staff of about 40, so I am encouraged. I put information in each staff member's mailbox in regard to the PLC, and I think that has helped to spread the word. We begin blogging at the end of this week on the first chapter, and so I think I will find the conversation encouraging and it will help me find new ideas for the classroom. In addition to this online PLC, I would like to find 1-2 staff members who would be willing to hold me accountable in my professional learning. I am going to begin to inquire to see if anyone would be interested in meeting periodically to share ideas and concerns in order to help one another.

I am encouraged by the steps I have taken to meet my GAME plan, and I will continue to work toward its success.