So, how did 2013 turn out?
There are plenty of things to be thankful for. It hasn’t been the most uplifting year for me, and at times I really struggled. I decided to take part in the #nurture1314 project to reflect upon the positives. Check our my 13 big highlights and my 14 wishes for the New Year.
Being selected as an e-learning leader at my school – being able to strengthen my passion in IT.
Individual student blogs – a way to watch my blogging journey grow.
Genius Hour – I think the person who learnt the most from Genius Hour was me, not my students.
Having a new year level – Year 4. More independence,more motivation!
Ipads in the Prep-6 classes – and the enthusiasm of colleagues to utilise them!
Gaining experience from others on Twitter – a whole new world I wasn’t part of until May.
Happily using my iPad to read books, using the Kindle App – so many books to choose.
Learning how to record my data in a time-effective, meaningful manner. So much easier!
Independent assessment – students’ assessing their own and others work – timesaver!
Growing as a stronger and more resilient person as a result of many challenges during the year.
Holidays – 3 weeks in Europe was the perfect battery recharger, ready for Term 4.
The 100 Word Challenge – a fantastic writing challenge for students, and mine loved it!
Skype in the classroom – opening up those communication lines to become more connected.
So where will 2014 take me, or where will I take it?
1. I wish to create a more flexible learning environment – reduce desks, encourage students to find their own space and to find the classroom supportive. I’ve started this already by removing my teacher desk. I’m hoping to encourage students to own their learning, but to use me as a resource. The Twitter hashtag #space2learn is helping me with this.
2. I wish to provide more authentic learning opportunities – by using Genius Hour, SOLE, Coding and Project Based Learning. I knew about none of these terms at the start of 2013, so imagine how much I’ll know in 12 months time!
3. I wish to be more of a presence in the classroom – I wish to inspire students to lead – hopefully by helping to run the Primary SRC in 2014. I did this in 2013, but had a few challenges. I’ve come up with some great new ideas and projects that I hope to launch with the support of the students and my colleagues.
4. I wish to share my experiences about disabilities with my students. In 2011, my 23 year old autistic brother visited my classroom, and my students talked about it for weeks. The learning wasn’t maths or literacy, but a real life lesson.
5. I wish to maintain by classroom blog and increase the global connections that it currently has. It is truly one of the most authentic learning opportunities I have already provided and hope to continue. The feedback I can give students, and that other readers can give them via the blog is so powerful.
6. I wish to support parents with better communication through our classroom blog. Using the blog as a communication tool as well as a sharing tool will prompt parents to access it, but I need to find that line between keeping them informed and bombarding them with information. If all of the information is on the blog, will they bother to access it?
7. I wish to ride my bike to work at least one day a week. Small goal, I know, but the introduction of iPads at my school has reduced the amount of work I am taking home each night and subsequently,each morning. Easier to ride my bike with a smaller backpack! As Bike Education is part of Year 4, if I am being a positive role model, I think it will resonate with the students more.
8. I wish to commit to a sport or exercise on a regular basis, in addition to #7! I’m thinking of yoga, Pilates or badminton. I could always fall back into netball maybe, but would like to try something new!
9. I wish to read more. For business and for pleasure. Small goal, but I think one book per term and one book per holidays is achievable. I find that my workload sometimes interferes with my reading time, but 2014 might be different.
10. I wish to be a supportive mentor. I have been assigned a graduate teacher to mentor during 2014. I’m excited to be responsible for helping someone, as I was recently in the same position myself. Hopefully some of what I do will be of use to him!
11. I wish to clear my mind of what other people think. To hold my head high, knowing that I’m doing my best is something I owe myself.
12. I wish to learn about Whole Brain Teaching. My new class has a few students with ADHD, learning difficulties and Aspergers, and I feel that this method of teaching may help me streamline the directions I am giving and may help them better understand tasks.
13. I wish to say no. Often I am asked to organise events, make phone calls, be available for meetings X, Y and Z, which is beyond my teaching load and hours. I’m not opposed to helping others outside of work hours, but as I learned this year, stress and anxiety are serious medical conditions – reducing my workload is one way of combatting this!
14. I wish for regular visits to friends. One of the biggest challenges of living in Mildura is the isolation from friends and family. I’ve never been one to be homesick, however ‘friendsick’ is more common. Visits just mean being organised and financially secure for petrol and airfares. Here’s to changing that in 2014!