Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reflections on this week's #edchat

This week was one of those of those weeks that I carved time out of my schedule to participate in #edchat. I kick myself for not doing this every week because when I do, I always come away energized with great ideas. But the question can I take that energy and channel it into real change and progress in my job. As an Instructional Technology Specialist in my district, I have the ability to touch many classrooms.

So how am I going to take the great ideas from this week's #edchat and bring it to my schools.

1. Encourage my teachers to allow their students to be active goal setters.

By allowing students to set and monitor their own goals, the students become more invested in their learning. You are giving them a say and transferring some ownership to them. Goals can be tracked on paper or on a spreadsheet. I like the spreadsheet because progress can be graphed in an easier to see format for the students.

2. Encourage and demonstrate to my teachers how to integrate students' passions into their curriculum.

Students are passionate about things that may or may not fit into the curriculum. When students are passionate about something, they are going to put more effort into that area. Why not tap into those passions? When students are doing writing assignments, allow them to write on a subject matter that is of interest to them...not a topic that is assigned to them. When students are reading independently, allow them greater choice in books. Even when focusing on a specific genre, students can find subject matter that is more interesting to them.

One item I am working on with a 5th grade teacher this year is to build in "passion time" into each week. During their centers, one of the choices is going to be an independent project that will be ongoing and on the subject matter of their choice. The teacher will embed some 21st century skill mini lessons into this time to help the students be more successful and work on these important skill too. I am excited to see how this goes this year.

3. Encourage my teachers to share their passions with their students.

Opening up to your students about your outside interests helps build connections and community. Students feel more at ease and makes the teacher seem more like them. Students will make connections to you and feel more invested into the classroom. Student investment = greater engagement!

I am going to carry the momentum of #edchat forward this week.

How are you going to do the same?

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