Monday, May 18, 2015

Final Reflection

I learned so much this year.  I learned from Inspired Writing, having Dana come to my classroom numerous times (even for 5 minutes when I desperately needed help), and the Inspired Learning Conference.  I also learned from my students, who were so eager and proud to show me what they knew about technology in the classroom.  That is important to me, because that shows our students are invested and proud.  I love hearing my students ask if they can try to convert a paper/pencil task into a technology-based format.  That being said, I am also proud of my students who know what works best for them and aren't afraid to stick with paper/pencil.

I can't wait to weave things I have learned this year into my teaching next year.  I wish I could take Inspired Writing again!  

Thursday, May 14, 2015


We have 6 school days left.  We are tired, our students are anxious and some are falling apart. We are trying our best to hold everyone (and everything) together for a few more days ;)

I keep going back and forth between being excited to relax this summer and feeling sad because I will really miss the kids in my class.  We have become a little family at Euclid.  I was thinking about what to write for my final blog post and came across the 9 videos to inspire a teacher at the beginning of the year.   Why not watch these videos to inspire me to give it my all this last week of school?!  

I am glad I did.  What a great reminder of why we do what we do.  Instead of thinking about the last lessons I need to squeeze in, the grading I need to do, and the final assessments I need to give, I think of the growth my students have made…. academically, socially, organizationally, etc. I have witnessed positive changes.  All the work we do throughout the year is definitely worth it. And that is a wonderful feeling!

Empowering my Students

I love the way “The Balance of Screen Time” asked three questions to guide the use of technology in the classroom.  

1. Is it appropriate?
2. Is it meaningful?
3. Is it empowering?

All three are very valid questions, but “is it empowering” really resonated with me as I read through the article.  This is a question I ask myself everyday as a teacher.   I teach in a smaller Core where every student is at risk for something… academically, organizationally, and/or socially.  Some students benefit from our core because they desperately need to make a connection with a teacher and teacher to student ratio helps facilitate that relationship.  Every student needs to feel empowered at school.  This is easier for some than others.  I feel passionate about my students feeling empowered.  I also feel a great responsibility.  That is one reason incorporating technology (when appropriate and meaningful) has been so empowering for me as a teacher!  

I love this quote:
It's not that introverts can't speak up in a group. It just isn't our preferred method. The screen isn't a crutch. It's a way to make minor adaptations to make the interaction one that creates energy, rather than expends it.”
I used to worry that students who weren’t raising their hand and actively participating in class discussions weren’t engaged or learning.  I have changed that way of thinking because, by incorporating technology, students have proved me wrong.  They are able to show their knowledge and participate.  I now know the students who gain energy and thrive off constantly raising their hands and verbally sharing their learning.  I am also comfortable knowing that some of my students cannot do that.  And I am comforted in knowing I have ways to level the playing field and meet my students where they are at.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Exit Slips

Image result for what stuck with you today

I need to use more Exit Slips.  I have a “What Stuck with you Today?” poster in my room.  Students can use sticky notes to answer quick questions at the end of class.  I have used Padlet.  But I don’t use them enough!  I teach, teach, teach until the last minute and by the time I think of an Exit Ticket, it’s time to go.  Exit Ticket ideas become questions on longer assessments.  These days we are often asked about student progress.  And DATA!!!  We know our students, we have so much data in our heads.  But we have to have data that can be analyzed by others.  Exit tickets are perfect!  After reading “The Many Uses of Exit Slips”, I have even more ideas for Exit Slips.  We can use them to gauge understanding of a lesson not by asking a content specific question, but asking “what are you still confused about after this lesson?”.  What a powerful question! I learned a cool trick at CCIRA.  I love it because I always wonder where to keep all this data.  When we are asking questions about specific content we can use a file folder to collect data.  One side is labeled “Got it”, and as students are walking out the door, we can glance at the sticky note to see if they do have it.  Those sticky notes are placed there.   The other side is split into two sections and labeled “Quick re-teach” and “need more support”.  Just a quick way to see where our kids are at!