Write your goals for the school year. Be as specific or abstract as you’d like to be!
Okay so I accepted this challenge and it's funny because I was going to try to incorporate blogging into my goals and growth plan anyhow. I mean, the best way to approach using blogs and forums for my students is to model it right? However, once a day? What was I thinking? Well the questions are good and I have what to write about, so this is great training! So let's go...
Goal #1: Less of me, more of them
After reading Mark Barnes' book, Role Reversal, I thought he had some great ideas and since I have a new prep that lends itself to less of me in front of the room and since my AP class has moved to juniors (some of which have never taken an AP class) I need to get students more involved in the learning process rather than just sitting there. I am using blogs and forums to help them help each other and I have re-arranged the seats into "pods" to help them discuss material as a group before we do it as a class.
The district has been awarded a grant to, in part, have more of a blended learning model, students will be receiving a device that will make us a truly 1 to 1 school. So in order to slowly move in that direction, I am putting more and more information on line for students: videos, notes, etc. I just think that spending 48 minutes going over notes (esp in the AP class) is truly a waste of valuable class time. Since everything is related to those notes anyhow, I can concentrate on checking to see if they need help and I can do a better job of differentiating if need be.
Goal #2: Flip and Blend
As previously stated, we will be 1 to 1 via a MacBook pro by the start of next year. I always like to get a head start and would rather have messed around with everything before I truly need to do it. This way, I can practice before the game. First, I had an email to join Google Classroom and was too busy at the end of the year to start it. So I have started to use that, and to be honest, so far, it is exactly what I was looking for: you can make copies of GDocs for students and it organizes your Drive and the Drive accounts of all the students. I love it! I just hope it works with Kaizena so I can see the folders on my Drive to pick them for grading.
I have also started to use on line formative checks like Socrative to check for student understanding. The ultimate goal for this is use the information to help drive instruction and to see who needs help sooner rather than at the end of the unit on the test. Since the AP class got new text material this year, I also want to explore that material too because it has some self grading material for each unit.
With all of this going on, I think it is important to make sure students understand the how and why of the flip and blend. If I do this slowly and remember that the concept of "blend" still has some "traditional" aspects to it, it should be easier for students. This means I should make some paper copies available for everything we do on line and to tell the students that if they would rather have the tangible paper, I can make that happen. But the days of packets upon packets are slowly in the review and if they are going to college, they need to get used to the integration of tech as many colleges have aspects of their class on line.
Goal #3: Less paper
Fitting into the blend and flip, a simple goal is to reduce my paper footprint this year. When we go 1 to 1, paper will be less needed (again, for those that want to hold something, I can still accommodate them) and I need to practice this now. With the integration of tech, this will be a lot easier. But the caution here is to not go overboard and to make sure that the students understand this and if they have concerns or issues, that I can adapt and help them.
Goal #4: Integration of more SBG
While I tried to incorporate standards based grading into my US History last year, I find that trying this in an AP class or a class like Contemporary World Issues that has more PBL aspects to it, makes SBG a little harder to integrate. However, I have kept some aspects of it for the CWI class like keeping the grading quarter open until the end and really no traditional "HW" to speak of so far. I have some ideas for AP like redoing assessments and the like, but I have to do some more thinking about this and to ask my #sblchat friends on Twitter about how to do this for an advanced level class. I am also thinking about how to add more of the Role Reversal's student giving themselves their own grade (with my final say so) I have the student handbook and I want to use the descriptions of the grading scale and the feedback I give on the blog to help with this. Maybe I just do this for a quarter once I get some ideas down.