Reflective Teaching Day 23- Community

Day 23 – @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge  

Write about one way that you “meaningfully” involve the community in the learning in your classroom. If you don’t yet do so, discuss one way you could get started.

I currently don’t meaningfully involve my community in my classroom. I think it is something I need to put more effort in to accomplishing. Currently, I do tweet and post pictures about the learning in our classroom. I connect to my students homes by using Remind, sharing assignments and classroom information.

Working in Southeastern Michigan, I feel I should be bringing in auto engineers to explain how science is used in their jobs. Being near the Great Lakes, Boat Captains that navigate the lakes should be coming in to share about their experiences. My students should have an invention week where they are allowed to be “makers’ and create solutions to problems, culminating in a community sharing day where we invite the community in to see the wondrous learning. I hope to add these elements, to connect us to the community.

School districts need to have community managers that help the teachers reach out into the community and make these connections happen. I have tried in the past and often it seems all the work is for just a few.

Reflective Teaching Day #22 – PLN

Day 22- @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge  

What does your PLN look like, and what does it do for your teaching?

My Personal/profession learning network is diverse and broad. It contains students, teachers, administrators, college professors, authors and parents. Members come from all over the world. Most of my PLN has some passion towards teaching. Some are technology experts, grading experts, middle level experts and pedagogy experts. All of them are learning experts. It is my belief that smart people surround themselves with people smarter than themselves. My PLN sure surrounds me with intelligence that can answer any question in regards to teaching.

What does my PLN do for my teaching? My PLN helps me be a better teacher!

It inspires me. Challenges me. Gives me advice. Suggests tools. When I struggle they offer suggestions. When I have a bad day in the classroom they pick me up. Having a PLN re-energizes me. Reassures me when I lack the confidence to try something new. A PLN helps us grow with failures instead of seeing them as a destination. My PLN helps me grow as a teacher passing the growth on to my students.

Reflective Teaching Day #21- Hobbies

Day 21- @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge  

Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain.

Hobbies other than teaching and technology? Of course! Sports, outdoor activities and my passion for history are very visible in my teaching. Sports make for a great connection for many science topics. When talking about force and motion, the conversation almost always ventures into sports. These connections hook students’ interests into the topic. Students need to see that the learning happening in the classroom is not just for the classroom. Seeing and hearing the connections makes them realize they need to learn about the topic.

When talking about simple machines, I like to share how I use many of them when sailing a sail boat. When talking about plants, I talk about my enjoyment of hiking in the woods and share many experiences with nature. Students relate to many of teachers hobbies. They or their parents share hobbies. By sharing your personal stories students connect to teachers and are more likely to be motivated to learn.

I try to bring my entire life into my teaching. I share stories from my youth till now. Students want to know their teachers not just the topics they teach. It is vital for teachers to foster this connection.

Reflective Teaching Day 20 – Curating work

Day 20 – @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge  

How do you curate student work–or help them do it themselves?

 This is a great question, that I have just begun to think about seriously and how it fits into my instruction. Students should have a learning portfolio of artifacts that show their learning. This can be done digitally or in folders. Ideally I would have students create a blog to keep their BEST work on. I currently don’t have access to technology enough to be effective in this manner. I currently have students keep their projects in folders through out the school year. We have this resource at the end of year to look back at our learning. Now I am beginning to realize that these learning artifacts need to move on with students. Students need to have a record of learning from K-12 that is more than the grades and comments found in the CA60 folders. I need to do a better job curating my students work.

Reflective Teaching Day #19 – Student Reflection

Day 19:  @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge  

Name three powerful ways students can reflect on their learning, then discuss closely the one you use most often.

Student reflection is a key part of learning, maybe one of the most important parts of the process. Ways students can reflect:

1. Student Blogging or learning journals where students reflect on what and how they learned.

2, Learning Portfolios- Showing student growth from start of year to end of year. Year to year

3. Learning dialogues – Class discussions about how and what is learned.

ALL three are very powerful!

I use learning dialogues most in my classroom right now. After learning, we dedicate class time to discuss how we learn the content. What was easy, what was hard, how we connected to the content, how we can use the knowledge moving forward and why it is important to know. This is valuable for students for they see others strengths and struggles. Often the discussions leads to sharing about how the most recently learning process was different or similar to the last. This has helped promote a growth mindset in my classroom. Students realize that they all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Reflective Teaching Day 18 – Philosophy

Day 18- @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge  

Create a metaphor/simile/analogy that describes your teaching philosophy. For example, a “teacher is a ________…”

Similes for teaching are running rampant in book tiles these days. Teach like a pirate, teach like you hair is on fire, teach like a champion. (All great reads)

My philosophy of teaching is like sailing a boat. You never know how the winds will be blowing or which direction will be the best tack. Keeping one eye on the sails and the other on the wind, constantly monitoring both. Making sure you are heading in the right direction to make it to port on time. Keep you boat level in the water moving ahead, make sure you don’t turn into the wind and in up stuck in irons.

Pirates are champion sailors with their hair on fire.

Reflective Teaching Day 17- Challenge

Day 17- @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge 

What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?

There are countless issues challenging education today. From attracting high quality teachers to evaluating teaching ,public perception of school and poverty one could argue that any one of these issues is the MOST challenging. For me the most challenging is EQUITY!

How can teachers, schools and society create equitable environments where everyone can succeed? How can we fund schools with equity? This is a huge challenge! If equity can be achieved, all students will have equal chances to succeed in life. Right now many students have limited paths to success. From poverty to home environment students often have many strikes against them before they walk into a school. How can we create equity and give each child what they need? This is my daily struggle.

We currently have a lack of equity in schools. Some schools have beautiful campuses with 1:1 technology (Often where students have own devices and other schools with aging infrastructure and limited technology tools (mostly lower social economic districts). Many students walk into a poorer district feeling that the world is against them.

How can we get them EQUITY? They need to feel that they can see over the fence even if the fence is a mile high!