Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reflections on my year...

Hi Kathryn,

It's taken me a bit to get back to you, but I'm ready to reflect on the end of my school year.  It was a pretty great year. I implemented a lot of what I learned in Seven Valleys Summer Institute.

Here goes!

I learned… that having kids write about topics that excite them is pretty amazing.  I saw my students actually write without pain.  By the end of the year, some of my students were writing all the time.  They even wrote me letters telling me how they loved to write.  We incorporated writer's workshop in three of my inclusion classes.  It was amazing.  When we asked the students what they liked or did not like about writer's workshop, they ALL said they wanted more time to write!  It was pretty cool.

I was stretched by….figuring out how to fit everything I want to do in my day.  I have a lot of restraints as a special education teacher.  I understand that I need to do certain things as a special education teacher.  I need to be better about assessment and understanding how to use data effectively to guide my instruction.  I am very good at understanding where my students are at any point, but I need to be better about "tracking" or "tweeking" data.  I also still struggle with how to be creative and do things that I love, without my "own" classroom.  I'm still working on navigating the co-teaching relationships.

I am excited about…really digging in this summer and trying to explore how to create a literacy rich inclusion classroom where all the students are highly engaged and producing authentic work in all content areas.  I also want to focus on relationship building in the classroom and find ways to honor students, their work and how to push them to achieve to their potentials.  I am also excited about including WAY more technology in my teaching and my classrooms.  

I’m beginning to realize…that I can be so much more and do so much more.  I'm beginning to realize that everything can be controlled by my attitude.  It just takes a shift of focus and where my focus will go.  I need to stop spreading myself so thin, and dedicate time to the things I'm passionate about.  I also realized a few things this year.  I really want to do more work with teachers, and I want to work "outside" the system.  I think when we work with teachers, and help teachers become the best them they can be, we can affect true education reform.  What a radical idea- putting teachers in a room, asking them to create and think and share with each other.  When we do that, amazing things happen.  Humans are drawn to each other to build relationships.  We need to be doing more of that in education, and start with supporting each other as teachers.  I hope to work on this idea over the summer, and come out with some cool ideas/products and systems.  

We shall see!

1 comment:

  1. I think we're on the same page with the idea of assessment. Somehow the standard way that assessment is being done to kids seems to rob us of that joy that comes from authentic engagement and real work.

    I see the role that small term assessment can play, and even how a push towards more frequent formative assessments, rather than the old standby of weighty summative assessments, can help us to understand our students, but there's still a big piece of this assessment puzzle that I struggle with. I'm not sure what it is about it. Maybe it's just that I understand what it means to be truly intrinsically motivated through the act of writing, and can't get away from how extrinsic assigning (or receiving) a grade to writing feels.