As the 2020-2021 school year at ISB approaches and I prepare to start my lessons online, I cannot help but wonder how I am going to develop relationships with students that I have never met before. It is a big enough challenge being a new teacher and forging relationships with most of the people in the building – at least for the first half of last year that was happening face-to-face. I like to be open with my students by sharing personal events, successes and failures, and making connections by finding some commonalities that we share. I am spending some time creating icebreakers and questions that I can ask which hopefully will elicit some information I can gather and refer back to with each of my students.
I am also aware that creating a safe virtual space is essential. While I need to determine what my expectations are for this virtual space, it is important that I provide opportunities for the students to have ownership in developing this space, with the goal of increasing their comfort and willingness to freely share their thoughts and ideas. Once norms of expected behaviour are established and we have discussed what they look, sound and feel like, the students can begin to choose one or two to practice each class. This way the students have voice and choice and will have helped to create a safe space. Equally important in this process is developing consequences for students who do not meet these expectations.
As I reflect on my experience as an online educator, I know that I need to spend more time this year to develop lessons that provide more choice and differentiation. Students’ learning styles became very evident throughout our time online last year. I am aware that I need to build in a variety of learning opportunities that students can choose from. Collaboration with peers is valuable; however, it does not work for everyone. I learned very quickly that students appreciate having the choice of working with a partner, in a group or working by themselves. Presenting the week’s work on Day 1 of our 8-Day cycle will provide an opportunity for students to work at their own pace and to choose which activities they would like to tackle first. This increases the control that students have, especially for learners like me, who need more time to process before completing and/or sharing their ideas and thoughts.
I leave you to process my blog post.
Which of the 7Cs will you work on this year? Why?
I will be focusing on Challenge and Consolidation this year. After looking at my results from the Tripod Survey, these are the two areas that my students have recognized as need the greatest amount of attention.
As a new teacher at ISB, I have spent the beginning months of this school year trying to get a grasp of the ebb and flow of Middle School PE and how my philosophies and style of instruction fit in. While I would like to honor the path that has been paved for me, I am eager to blaze my own path within the confines of the chosen curriculum. When the results of the Tripod Survey came out, I was not surprised that Challenge and Consolidation were not among my strongest, according to my students. They were areas that I had personally acknowledged as well. I am ready to infuse my own teaching style and to put a personal touch on the delivery of content, in an attempt to increase my student’s consolidation of concepts we cover in every class.
Specifically, I will introduce a Big Idea at the beginning of a unit and review it every class. Students will become experts in using academic vocabulary they are introduced to throughout a particular unit. In each lesson, a question(s) will be presented for the students to answer at the end of class. The answer to these questions will help the students speak to the Big Idea and more specifically, speak to their progress throughout the unit; How were you successful in this unit? What were some challenges you faced? How did you overcome these challenges? If you weren’t able to overcome your challenges, what work do you still need to do?
I would also like to infuse my lessons with technology. I am mindful that students need to be as active as possible; however, it is essential that they are provided opportunities to consolidate and demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways. Quick exit tickets can be completed at the end of class, while longer more in-depth responses can be created and polished at home. While it is not specifically one of the 7 C’s, I would like to add up-skilling my Office 365 abilities. This is a new system and in order to be able to create meaningful assessments for my students, I need to shift gears away from Google.
With Challenge and Consolidate as my focus for my professional development this year, I expect my students to make deeper connections between concepts, skills and ideas they previously learned. I would like my students to explain why they think what they think using academic vocabulary specific to the unit they are studying.
Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.
- Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
- Self-assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards (Tripod 7Cs)
- Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
- Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
- Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
- Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
- Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
- You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.
If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!