The New Year

I’m only a month late, but I wanted to write a few professional reflections about the new year before January is over.  My district has a strong focus on the 4 Cs this year: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.  As I have been thinking about the new year, I’ve been thinking about some of the things I want to accomplish in terms of the 4 Cs.

Communication: I borrowed an idea from a friend and have been promoting the creation of a Twitter network within my school. The idea is that teachers will create a Twitter account for her classroom (separate from her personal one) and will post something daily (or regularly) about her class.  Some teachers are using their morning meeting as a time for the class to decide what to tweet.  Classes are following each other, and it adds to our sense of school community as we interact and share what we are learning. So far we have 6 or 7 teachers participating, and I hope more will join in.  As teachers decide to join, I’m visiting classes and doing a mini-lesson on social networking.
I’m also focusing on another communication tool this year, Edmodo.  Several 3rd and 4th grade classes are using Edmodo as a safe online learning environment, and all of my 5th grade students are now Edmodo users.  It’s exciting to see them engaged in discussions about what they are reading and learning after school hours!

Collaboration: Another district initiative this year is the transformation of our media centers into a more multi-purpose area known as a “learning commons.”  This concept is based on the work of David Loertscher. To that end, I plan to be more intentional about collaborating more frequently with my media specialist.  A learning commons has 3 parts: the open commons, the experimental commons, and the virtual commons. The purpose of the virtual commons is to provide access to learning resources 24/7.  My media specialist and I have begun developing our virtual commons using a Google Site.  I wanted to use a tool that would be consistently available regardless of what changes may be made in the district’s digital delivery system. I am working to develop my Technology Resources page within the Virtual Commons as a collection of websites, tools, and tutorials that will be within easy access for both students and teachers.

Creativity: I really hope to generate more interaction with my kindergarten and first grade classes, especially in the realm of using Web 2.0 tools for the purpose of creating projects to showcase their learning. Now that our 2nd and 5th graders will be taking an annual online technology competency test, I need to encourage more technology engagement with the younger classes.

Critical Thinking: During the next several months, I will be deeply engaged in critical thinking.  I have begun the process of National Board Certification renewal.  My original certification was in the area of Early Adolescent ELA, and even though I am no longer a regular classroom teacher, I still spend a lot of time supporting ELA teachers and the ELA curriculum.  The 5th grade ELA Technology Initiative has been a large focus in my work. By nature I am very personally reflective, and I’m looking forward to focusing my reflections on my professional growth experiences.

It’s going to be a great year!

One thought on “The New Year

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