Next week, I'll ask my freshmen students (who will finally get to "do" English next week now that all the setup is complete) to set personal and learning goals for their first semester. I ask my students to do this because this is a practice I engage in so often both personally and professionally. I feel particularly inspired to do some goal setting after attending five conferences over the summer where I truly learned so much. Often, I attend these conferences and forget about those things I learned, so this year, I sat down and looked over my notes, highlighting some inspiring items and using those items to determine how I hope to evolve this year.
Here's what I came up with:
1. Find audiences and experts beyond our classroom walls. I want to connect with people in other countries, in other classes and help my students gain more perspectives and build a bigger learning network. I've started this and will follow up about how this progresses next week.
2. Choose one class to try scribe posting. Alan November professed the value of this practice and, so far, I am loving what it tells me about what my students learned and am also enjoying how if focuses as a permanent resource from another perspective for the kids.
3. Focus on building classroom culture to create a better learning and working environment. Harvey Daniels talked about the concept of membership grids where students craft questions they are curious to know about one another and record those questions in a grid each day to begin group work. I am trying this with all my classes and am loving seeing their relationships cultivate.
4. Share my reading life. I want to model my love for reading by sharing good books I read by bringing those in, doing book talks, and sharing my Goodreads account.
5. Read out loud more in class rather than assigning so much reading homework.
6. Blog once a week. So far, so good, but I'm realizing how tricky this can get sitting here at 4:15 on a Friday afternoon...
7. Differentiate based on readiness, interest, and learning profile.
8. Engage in metacognition and help my students do the same.
9. Explore other ways of giving feedback.
I figure if I tell the world my goals, it will be trickier to reneg. I'll surely follow up as the semester continues...