July 14, 2006

Quick Outline of My Summer Planning Homework

I have been doing a little reflecting in the last few weeks, but none of it really materializes here. Lot's of thinking while busily playing happy homemaker this summer. (oy!)

First, I wish I could have/would have done a better job using technology last year. I had the opportunity to use it more than I ever have, and I did. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. It has made learning and teaching just that much more exciting and engaging, but there are times--too many times--where I think a regular pencil/paper/brain combination is actually more effective. These thoughts are not unreasonable. I just have to figure out the correct classroom ratio.

Last year, I had wanted to start a classroom blog or a network of student blogs, but that proved to be more than I personally could handle with so many walls (of the fire kind) in front of me. I think I have some solutions of where to go that I didn't have a year ago--or even 4 months ago--but it is difficult to know for sure until I am in front of a computer on the school's server. (A seriously common problem I have in not being able to access the same places at school as I can at home.) But even more, I am still floundering on how to use blogs in my classroom, that is, for what great purpose would I use blogs to enhance students learning? To that question I have a lot of answers, and I have even more questions. This is the jumble of stuff that goes on in my head all the time. For those of you who can tolerate my long-ass posts, you already know that.

I'm also interested in wikis and I think I have some ideas there, too. I know what they are, but I'm shakier in that area in knowing how to apply them in the classroom. And podcasting? I can definately see some application. Oh! And am the only teacher who doesn't use video streaming? (We apparently have some great resources in the district.) And is there some other great technology any teacher worth her medicore technological ability should be using? Please enlighten me now while I have time to think. A month from now I won't.

Geez, I used to be pretty good at this computer stuff. In 1996. When the Internet was in black and white...

But then addition to the technology...how can I encourage my students to read more? I had an amazing number of students who would actually do their nightly reading, but it was that 10% who were good readers but simply refused. (Oh, I know that 90% mostly doing what they should be is amazing. I am thankful.) I also need a better system for monitoring my 150 students so they don't cheat on their AR quizzes, too.

Will I have to set up any new cheating preventions this year? Last year's teacher had several instances of plagarism with the group of students I'll be receiving. As 7th graders they are already trying it, lying about it, and denying it even with solid proof! Sure, I'm a crafty opponent--I once busted and benched half a baseball team for plagarising book reviews--but I'd rather have prevention in place. Setting up every trap and net to prevent students from failing themselves is just that new millenium bonus to teaching, is it not?

How can I squeeze in more literature? More writing? More speaking? More thinking? Okay, those are the basics, the no-brainers. The great curriculum juggling act.

Think, think, think...

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