Although I did not write a post about Teaching Goals for 2012, I do want to take some time to reflect over what worked well and what needs improvement in the classroom so far this year.
What Worked Well
• Attended local educational conferences in the city (technology-based, game-based learning)
• Made more use of the classroom wikispace
• Incorporated more student-centered projects via wikispace and computer lab
• Strengthened my instruction through explicit modeling and use of visual anchors
• Encouraged more collaboration via the Groupwork Procedures and Roles
• Cut down on my paperwork by not collecting and grading everything
• Encouraged more reading for science literacy via classroom sets of science magazines
• Increased think-time and interaction through daily journaling and think-pair-shares
What Needs Improvement
• Maintaining consistency on classroom expectations, routines and procedures
• Finding a way to establish and use formative assessment effectively
• Increasing the rigor of science instruction and making it more engaging for ALL scholars
• Finding time to reflect on lessons and to blog more often
My Teaching Goals 2013
1. Try using layered curriculum to encourage more differentiation for and higher-thinking in scholars for the second semester.
2. Research and incorporate 1 new strategy in my instruction that encourages more inquiry and collaboration among scholars.
3. Maintain consistency with classroom expectations, routines and procedures by actively practicing scripts, non-verbal gestures, and taxonomies for a half hour every day.
4. Incorporate the iPad into teaching routines and instruction by using it at least 2-3x a week.
5. Blog at least once a week about lessons, or respond to a prompt from the 30-day Blog Challenge.
Numbers 1 and 2 are part of my Learning Plan from the New Science Teacher Academy. This year, my classroom management has greatly improved and I have been able to focus a lot more on teaching. In the classroom, I am at the point where my procedures are solid and there is now room to really challenge the scholars. As I start my explorations in January with the Academy, I hope to learn more about creating more rigorous and engaging science instruction for them.
Number 4 is my attempt to keep up with last year’s goal on technology integration. This year, we no longer have the laptop or iPad carts so it was tough trying to use technology without…well, the technology! I was very lucky though to score one of the work iPads. Trying to maneuver around the large laboratory while teaching AND monitoring behavior at the same time was rough. Using the iPad with the Splashtop Whiteboard app helped alleviate the problem for some time, but then the app flaked out on me and it quickly became more trouble than it was worth. I hope to acquire the VGA adapter when I get back from break and use more free apps for visual aids. Many of the biology apps would be great to use in class, especially as we enter our genetics unit soon.
One of the things I have been thankful for is having complete access to the computer lab. I have been trying to incorporate more web-quests and research projects, so being able to reserve the lab without fighting anyone for it has been great! The writing teacher and I have previously created KidBlog accounts to encourage more writing for both our writing and science classes. That fell by the wayside, but eh, sometimes you win some, and sometimes you lose some.
Number 5 is more of a personal professional goal. Earlier in my first year of teaching, I started a 30-day Blog Challenge. It quickly flared and died after the second post because I soon realized I did not yet have the experience to really respond to some of the prompts. I’m going to try it again in 2013 as a way to get myself back in the habit of reflecting and blogging. I’m dubbing it the 30-Post Blog Challenge, because realistically, I know I can’t do one every day!
What are your Teaching Goals for 2013? Ping me back, or share a link to your blog post. I’d love to read what others are setting for themselves.