Week 5 Reflection on Maintaining Excellence as we Innovate

This week I enjoyed attending the session with Dave Burgess.  This is the second time I have had the opportunity to share a session with Dave Burgess.  I enjoy hearing his responses to the questions we provided.  Ultimately, you can’t help but leave his sessions feeling empowered to be passionate about teaching!  Being around someone who is passionate is like wildfire; I find myself wanting nothing more than to get into the classroom and share my passion.

Additionally, this week I had the opportunity to lead my first twitter session.  I enjoyed leading the session but found it difficult to keep up with everyone’s answers.  Colin reminded me that one of the nice things about twitter is that I can go back and respond later if I don’t have time during class.  (Thanks, Colin).  I was thankful to work with Sara; I think we made a good team and worked well together.  We had a great twitter session on passion and shared some great lesson plan ideas and strategies.  Finally, we reminded everyone to participate in their wiki pages. 

As we discussed maintaining excellence while we innovate I managed to find some time to post on my classmates pages.  I discussed maintaining family life outside of school with Thomas and Gary (on Thomas’s page).  I enjoyed reading Gary’s post reminding us that it is okay, and we should, put family first.  When we don’t put family first we can’t do a good job in the classroom.  I shared with Thomas my successes and failures at putting family first.  Thomas is also very passionate about integrating new technology.  I reminded him of the website for Donors Choose; this website allows teachers to receive support to fund classroom projects. (www.donorschoose.org). 

I also commented on Scott’s page and shared my experience with PLC’s or Professional Learning Communities.  Scott talked about the willingness to try new things, make mistakes, reflect on those mistakes and try it again.  I mentioned how I had the opportunity to do this as a part of our PLC’s at one of the schools I worked at.  We were able (and required) to observe our fellow teachers at least once each quarter.  This gave me the opportunity to see what great things my colleagues were doing; then I could use these ideas in my own classroom.  Scott also talked about maintaining excellence by making sure our assessments are true, valid assessments and the content we teach is relevant to the subject and to our students.  Scott made some really great points.  I enjoyed reading his post.

I also chatted with Sara H. a bit.  We discussed the makeup of our classrooms; we will never have classrooms where every student learns the same way.  Sara talked about Project Based Learning which I feel like I am only beginning to learn about as well.  I shared a resource for Extended Learning Opportunities and also shared a neat Ted Talk by Ken Robinson on Creativity. 

Finally, I spent time conversing with Verena’s class during the course of the week.   I posted our initial teacher rubric last week Saturday and have referred back to if a few times to check on the progress.  I also updated our wiki page by adding a graphic.  I am still not really comfortable working on these pages, but maybe I will be at some point down the road.

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