It is an exciting time of year as I work to finalize my room, plan for my first few weeks, and transition from a very fast summer to a school year schedule. When I think back to where I was a year ago, I am reminded how much can be accomplished in a year. This time last year I was excited for our rural school to update our internet service and hopeful that this would allow us to effectively use technology. I was just getting the hang of google apps and hoping to receive a grant from local sales tax funds in order to purchase a classroom set of Chromebooks. In fact, I had never heard of EdTechTeam, Peardeck, or BreakoutEDU. Not true this year; I really have grown!
This year, the Chromebooks I had last year will serve as a high school check out cart for the two teachers who do not have their own classroom set and the majority of teachers in our district will have their own classroom sets of Acer Spin 11 Chromebooks. It is very exciting!
This year I will be teaching four math classes and working with two other high school teachers to implement a capstone program. I also have the opportunity to serve as our district’s technology coach part time. I will also be continuing my instructional technology master’s program at Grand Canyon University. This schedule allows for many opportunities to try interesting things, grow and improve. One of my main goals is to write one blog post a week to reflect on something interesting I try in my classroom or with teachers in my district.
In addition to reflecting and blogging weekly, I plan to earn Level 2 Google Certification and hopefully become a Google Certified Trainer. As part of my duties as a technology coach, I will facilitate regular Technology Tuesday or WiFi Wednesday professional development opportunities for our teachers. This is important to help our teachers effectively integrate technology in the classroom and will help with the Google Trainer certification process.
I want to improve my lesson design by creating and using more hyperdocs as well as integrating more relevant activities and discussions in class. We’ve had success using mathalicious and 3-act math lessons in the past and I want to teach with even more relevance in all of my classes. It is so fun to see my students involved with lessons in class. Last year, after teaching my sophomore geometry class about reflections, we used my car to help students understand how this information was applicable to reducing or eliminating blind spots while driving (a lesson inspired by mathalicious). The next day, two of my students shared how excited they had been to teach their parents this geometry. I want more of that in math at Mountain Valley.
The other priority for the 2017-2018 school year is to improve my work-life balance. My husband is our district superintendent and we both love the work we do at Mountain Valley. Since both of our work lives are intertwined at school, it can be easy for us to spend our personal time overly involved with school. To shift my focus at home back to home, I plan on spending a bit more time in the classroom. By getting all of my school work done at school, the time in my house can be focused on my home and family. I’ve spent a lot of time improving the learning space in my classroom; I hope this space is more enjoyable for my work as well.
I’ll keep checking in with these goals throughout the year. I am thrilled to get back to work with my friends and share another year of learning with my students.