Reflections by a campfire

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So here we sit by the campfire and you just can’t help but reflect…on the year, on life and on the future.  One thing is for certain, it is nice to have a break.  Here are a few thoughts

On the year…

I returned to work from maternity leave in January this year.  It wasn’t easy to balance work and home now that I have two little ones waiting for me at the end of the day.  I had to find ways to be more efficient in how I ran my classroom so that I wasn’t spending hours at home with school work and basically running myself into the ground.  (I don’t do any work when my own kids are awake, so I end up staying up very late to get things done).

I marked less at home and gave more feedback at school, in the moment, with the students.  It was so much better for me AND the students.  I had students give peer feedback, do more carousel walks and comment on each other’s work -and we did a lot of self reflection.  Not only did I have less to do at midnight, students were thinking about their work.

I still went to the staffroom at lunch.  I think it is so important to talk to colleagues and friends and have down time, so I had student leaders help with the time consuming “busy” work like cutting paper and prepping crafts in the morning before school starts.  They were grateful to get out of the rain, and I was grateful for the help.  And interestingly enough, I really go to know the kids.  We chatted as we worked and built our classroom community.

I was given an iPad and was told to innovate.  I have to say, it has energized my career in more ways that I even know.  One of the best things about having the iPad handy is that discussions in class can travel on their paths so easily with a quick visit to google or youtube.  We can have discussions about all kinds of things and the students can share what they know or are working on at home so easily with the iPad and projector.  We are going to have open wireless in the school very soon, which will make this even easier!  I’m not at the innovate stage yet, but I feel like I am getting to a place where the technology is feeling less about how to use the ipad and more about what can I dream up that also happens to use technology.

Speaking of innovate, I got the class blogging.  We blogged using kidblog.org.  It was so easy to set up the class and to manage the posts.  We blogged about class events, field trips and even published our ongoing journals (which was super cool!)  I wish my students were able to get more comments from outside the school community. I made many pleas on twitter, but to no avail.  I will keep trying now that my network is growing.

For me, the best part of kidblog is that it is safe.  Less risk=more sleep, and that is good!  I do think I have to be much more direct in teaching students how to write a blog post (but that is just good teaching-voice, audience, conventions and the like) and how how to make meaningful comments.  I took a “lets give it a try and see what happens” approach and now I have a few things to work on with the new group in September.

I think that is enough about the year that has closed.  Stay tuned for a post on what the future plans are!


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