“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” -Taylor Swift
I’ve been away from my blog for a couple of weeks…in fact, I’ve been away from almost everything. My father passed away this past week after an extended battle with cancer and I was soaking up every minute with him that I could. Bits of reality intruded as we started back to school last week with professional development days. I went to some, not all. Some things are just more important.
This past summer has been a time of both personal and professional metamorphosis for me. Maybe you’ve noticed a shift in my blog posts. I’ve spent a lot of time questioning what I really believe about teaching and learning. I’ve spent time reflecting on what true leadership is. I’ve read excellent blog posts from fellow educators and had conversations with colleagues. I’ve made decisions and I’ve made some changes. There are endings and beginnings.
As I pursue a student-centered classroom this year, I will be building on some of the things put in place last year. There will also be an ending to some things that have previously been part of my class. Missing from my classroom this year, will be a formal calendar time, formal homework , a stoplight behavior management system, and stated classroom rules. The links provided explain why beautifully. My students and I will create together and deploy a shared classroom vision. From that, we will build our classroom Code of Cooperation. I will be sharing these with you as we build them. We are also going to build behavior rubrics so that students can rate themselves on how they felt they did that day.
I worked a lot last year on building in student voice and choice by having my students choose which app they wanted to demonstrate learning. I will be continuing that this year and my students will be building digital portfolios using the Showbie app. I am excited that one of our favorite apps, Book Creator, is able to be uploaded to Showbie and easily shared with parents. The iPad and the creation apps we use, have been essential to creating a student-centered classroom.
My work and reflection this summer, in addition to spending an amazing week with my fellow Apple Distinguished Educators, were the threads to the chrysalis spun around me the past 9 weeks. Woven in, were many quality moments with my ailing father. As I begin to emerge from this cocoon this week and meet my new students, I bring with me the collective wisdom of many wise people. I am certain of my path and am excited about new possibilities. I’m also aware of just how very short this life is and it is too short to waste time using outdated, inefficient methods for educating children simply because change is too hard. The butterfly is a great reminder of the beauty of change. We should be more afraid of the effects of not changing!
My students arrive this Wednesday. A new journey begins…
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!