It has reached the point in summer when I read my teacher friends' statuses on Facebook and wonder if I also should be waking up at midnight because I'm nervous about the coming school year. For me, things are less daunting, the school year is more exciting. This will be only my fourth year teaching, so maybe I'm naive. But I spent my first couple of summers treading in anxiety and I didn't find it helpful. That being said, the recurring dream about showing up to school on the first day and only having enough planned for the first hour or so has come back again.
Like I said, I am excited about this school year. I am excited about my growing professional network via twitter, various blogs, and facebook. I am excited about some added technologies in my classroom - which will make me even more dependent on this new network of educators. I feel like I started by teaching on an island and the bridge to the mainland is nearing completion. Here are the main things I am looking forward to this year, the things I will reflect on here and I will seek your feedback around here and on twitter:
.Developing proficient student bloggers. I have spent a significant amount of my summer personal development researching the available platforms, applications, and variations of student blogging. I hope this tool will help me toward my goal of growing reflective and collaborative learners.
..Team teaching. I am teaming up with another teacher and we're combining our classes for the entire year. 50 students, 2 teachers, so many possibilities. This one scares and excites me. The majority of my professional goals for this year are contingent on the success of this opportunity.
...Literacy block. The new administration at our school has set apart a 3 hour literacy block within our day. This means we're combining reading, writing, and social studies into one fluid block of time. This extra time will allow me to implement some built in choices as well as various structures that research says will help motivate my students. I hope this time will allow my classroom to develop intrinsically motivated learners.
....iPod Touches. A week ago I learned that I will have access to a 1:1 set of iPods. My research has shifted from student blogging to the uses of the Touches. Fortunately, those two tools overlap. This one does not make me anxious at all, but I do want to minimize the trial and error period that comes with new tools.
.....Connecting with other classes. I plan to use wikis, Google Documents, Edmodo, and student blogs, to facilitate collaboration with other classes. This goal will test my professional network and help me meet my goal of having global learners.
These are my main goals for the 2010-2011 school year. A lot of my reflections on this blog will be centered around my attempts to reach them. One more week until students are in front of me.