Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Update on My Goals for Better Teaching

Yesterday, I got to enjoy a lovely "ice day" off from school, thanks to our most recent Arkansas "winter weather event."  I don't think it's been nearly as bad as our trusty weathermen and weatherwomen predicted, but that could also be because they told me I would most likely lose power.  Instead, I've been warm and toasty in my yoga pants, drinking lots of coffee and reading books.  I could have blogged yesterday, but I decided it sounded much more attractive to sleep in and do a whole lot of nothing.

I did do a little bit of work yesterday, actually.  A couple posts ago, I reflected on my NCTE experience and gave myself three goals for how my work would change. My first goal was to Book Talk more often.  I made a strong start this past Monday by Book Talking two books that I read over Thanksgiving break/on my way to and from Boston.  I gave my stamp of approval to Ender's Game, and all six of my classroom copies were checked out that day, as well as Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachman, which I only had on my iPad.  I now have two copies on the way from Amazon after getting multiple requests to check it out.  I have always required my students to Book Talk, but this year I've really dropped the ball on sharing my own reading.  It was so fun to see kids excited about these two books, and I'm looking forward to sharing my Snow Day reading next week.

Another one of my goals was to implement Google Docs into my writing instruction.  That required more people than just me signing on. Since my students are under 13 years of age for most of the school year, I have to carefully consider CIPA and COPA laws when I make my Internet decisions.  However, I received the go-ahead from my principal and our technology director last week to pilot the use of Google Drive with two classes. Yesterday, I spent my morning setting up their classes and playing around with Doctopus and some other scripts, reading blogs, and watching videos about different uses of the Drive.  I'm really excited to get started!  I think it's going to be really interesting to see if moving writing instruction to the Drive has a significant impact on my students' work.  I'm really looking forward to comparing the length and quality of student writing in the Google Drive classes to the length and quality of writing produced in the traditional composition notebooks.  Yay for action research! :)  I'll keep you guys posted on how it goes, promise!

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