Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Seeing Summer Ideas Come to Life

   We're fully into the school year now.  It's crazy that the 1st 9 weeks has passed so quickly.  As we are fully into curriculum, I feel that I have more rigor and feel more infused into curriculum better than I ever have.  I think some of that is due to experience and comfort with the curriculum but I also believe I am better connected and comfortable with my classes to jump into our work.  A special, special thanks goes to our ITS at our school who did a wonderful job of getting students their Chromebooks early in the year.  This roll out was so smooth and efficient all teachers were able to get started with using technology in classroom.
   As we've worked this first quarter I've found that a lot of the ideas I wanted to see applied this year are starting to get rolling.  I wanted to get my students into blogging.  [Check]  I wanted to have a running Twitter account of what my class was doing. [Check]  I wanted to chronicle more of my student work through posting pictures and sharing our learning [Check]  Lastly, I wanted students to have presenters come in to our classroom that give students more a real world relevance to learning [Check].  I'm excited to look back at these plans and see that I've gotten them off the ground and we've made them happen.  What is amazing to me is how everything going on professionally for me tugs at my focus.  I enjoy getting to be a part of other committees and presentations on content, leadership, and Common Core but they do take away mental space for how to better engage students.  As I reflect on this first quarter I plan to share posts on the following topics.

- First Across Content Project on the Columbian Exchange with ELA, Science, and Social Studies.
    Students worked to use DISCUS Reference source to research a plant, animal, or disease that was transferred between Old to New World or New to Old World.

- DJJ Store of Hope and Project HOPE to help rehabilitate teenagers who are on probation and need help finding job opportunities.

- Thinking Globally from University of South Carolina.  International Students come to share with our students

- City of Columbia City Planners come and do a presentation and activity tied to our study of River Valley Civilizations

- The use of "soft" data in the classroom to guide instruction.

- Figuring out how to do authentic PBL or Blended Learning.

I'm set a high bar for myself.  Looking forward to sharing.  What are you doing in your classroom that has you excited?  Are you getting your summer time ideas off the idea floor or are they still in a file?  Find partners in learning and get going.  Don't let the normal stresses of the school year hinder you.  I know how tough that is to fight.  Always do your best.