Firstly, I appreciate the effort and planning in preparation for the upcoming school year and our given circumstances. The structure and guidelines provide direction and give me more confidence to move forward this year. The instructions, procedures and recommendations provided in the modules will be important references, particularly in preparation prior to the commencement of the school year. I have saved the documentation for quick reference guides to use when planning with my grade-level team and instructional partner.
For the year ahead, ISB has clearly communicated the vision and expectations so that I can reflect and grow. In terms of strengths, I believe I have a moderate aptitude with most technologies and enjoy providing assistance to others if needed. I like creating interactive, engaging lessons using technology and have completed a few free self-directed learning courses this summer which I hope will enhance my lessons. In preparation for the school year, I can help HR teachers with SeeSaw setup and organization to ease the workload if that can be of assistance.
I was successful in creating consistent Shared Reading routines last year so that students were familiar with the language, structure and expectations. This was helpful, not only to students but to parents, who communicated that my lessons were easy-to-follow, clear and consistent so that students could, for the most part, work autonomously. This year, I intend to create consistent routines again so that students can expect a consistent learning environment.
When we entered into an online learning environment in February, our kindergartners were at a point in their development where they were more independent and had acquired the necessary skills for some self-directed learning. However, this will not be the case in September. I hope to create a learning environment that is appropriate for the experience level of our students with a healthy balance of joy and academics.
Last year, I spent a considerable amount of time providing timely and personalized feedback to students. This feedback came primarily in written form on SeeSaw. The majority of my lessons were asynchronous screencasts with students working independently. I will therefore focus on ‘Care’ to develop supportive, personalized relationships with students and respond to emotional and academic needs through more synchronous learning experiences with ongoing feedback (both live and through SeeSaw).
Cohn-Vargas & Gogolewski (2020) state, educators can create protocols for structured cooperative activities. In order to setup a respectful and friendly synchronous learning environment it will be key to establish protocols for communication so that all students feel welcome and safe. The importance of promoting inclusion and belonging is more complex in an online setting but can be achieved. That is why I plan to dedicate more time this year to cooperative activities and social inclusion games so that students not only develop academically but also to ensure their social-emotional needs are being met.
I appreciated the video on “Flipped Classrooms” provided in the modules. It helped to clarify my understanding of what exactly a flipped classroom is. There are a number of ways to work with my instructional partner to provide appropriate learning experiences for students, not only in a blended learning environment but even when face-to-face classes resume fulltime. I hope to work with my instructional partner and coaches to determine the models that are best-suited to our circumstances and students’ needs. This will require a clear definition of roles and responsibilities, open communication and flexibility so that we are working effectively and efficiently.
Cohn-Vargas, B. & Gogolewski, K. (2020). Inclusion and belonging can be fostered in academic lessons for all grade levels. Greater Good Magazine.
Here is my Online Weekly Planner: