Reflecting on your teaching and lessons is a powerful, yet simple, act that can improve your practice. We are hitting the mid year mark and I wanted to reflect back on tools, lessons, activities that I have done this year and share some thoughts that may help you as you reflect or plan new units.
1. Innovate like a turtle – Vicki Davis, Cool Cat Teacher
I want to do everything, try everything, teach everything…but I can’t. At Miami Device Vicki Davis shared that she only tries one or two new things each year. That made me stop and think. I want to do so much, but at what cost to me and my students? So I sat on that thought for a bit. And now I admit that if I do all new units, I will not do them all well. Something will fall to the side and not get done and I am not willing to let that happen. My innovations this year are my digital safety unit and maker unit. The rest of the year we will revisit activities from the past- and they will still be new because I haven’t taught them to this particular group of students.
2. Learn from your mistakes
I have always tried to do this with students, but this year it happened during a teaching unit. I realized I tried to do too much and needed to cut out something or never finish. I admitted it, kids said thank you, and we moved on. No big deal! I will go in and edit that unit for future use and make sure next time it is a better fit. I have a bulletin board up now called Fantastic Failures and it features Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, and JK Rowling to name a few celebrities who failed and fought back harder. During the coding unit we are doing now and the maker unit next, I feel it is important kids know that they ARE going to make mistakes and they have to learn from them.
3. Be Connected
I can not express enough how much Twitter has improved my professional practice and my teaching. The resources, connections, and ideas I find there are phenomenal and FREE! I went from a chat lurker to a participant now! I share my ideas and get excellent tips from others. I have made connections with teachers around the globe! I am the only media/technology person in my school. It makes it hard to bounce ideas off of people, but on Twitter there are tons of others like me! Want to know more about Twitter check out the Tweechme App by Susan Bearden.
4. Share! Share! Share!
Share what you are doing with building colleagues and the world! Don’t hide your light! Someone else wants to do what you are doing but may need a push or a jump off and you can provide that. I blog and present and Tweet because I realized that as much as I am getting from others, it is also my responsibility to share back.
5. Take time for yourself
That is the hardest thing for me. I always want to do this or that and help them…but if I do for everyone else and not myself, I will not be able to continue. Give yourself permission to be selfish on occasion. Say that nastiest of words.. NO. someone else will pick up the slack, and if not, maybe it wasn’t that important.
6. Brand yourself
I have been adding my name to the world! www.nancypenchev.com, www.nancypenchev.edublogs.org, email@example.com, #mrspmedia Put yourself into the world as a business…because you are one!
7. Be happy
Don’t let others steal your joy! There are people who do not want you to get ahead, to flourish, to be joyful…don’t let them do it! Smile, nod, bless their hearts and move on!
As your reflect on the year so far, what have you learned? What will your resolution for the rest of the school year be? Feel free to share in the comments!
In January I will be presenting at FETC about blogging, Girls Building STEAM, and Helping Teachers with Technology. I will post my presentations and what I learn!