Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wow, can it actually be almost Christmas break already?? It seems like just yesterday I was getting my classroom ready for the school year.

Today we heard our guest speaker, an associate of Robert Marzano (I have forgotten his name.. my apologies...). While much of his stuff is good, real, and easily applicable, none of it is anything we've not all heard before. The comments were typical - ED101 all over again, I already DO this stuff, etc...

Some of the teachers I sat with, yes, I agree it was a waste of time for. However, those were the most engaged among to 150 or so in the room. The naysayers are the ones I wish he had a way to capture, the ones who think they are doing it all already, but in reality, are not reaching students effectively, with the curriculum, on a personal level, or any other way. It is not my place to make judgements, so I shall try not to... I just hear the kids talk about other teachers, other classes, and I listen to the comments those same teachers make about their jobs, the kids, and how it all fits together. And I wonder today... why would you not try to take something positive from a speaker such as this.

Even THE most amazing teacher can improve, learn, and take something away from today. I came with a renewed sense of validation for somethings I do, an impetous to re-evaluate others, and a determination to find ways to reach all learners on a daily basis.

Some ideas I take back... I need to get back on track with Math Starters each day for at least Math 4th and 5th hour and PreAlgebra. These focus students at the begining of the hour, as well as link yesterday's learning with today's. Such sound educational stuff... why have I let it go?? Time.. time.. time... It takes time to think about meaningful writing assignments each day. I MUST make the time!

I also want to think about how to have students do more reflecting on their own efforts. It seems to lend itself easily to projects, but I think perhaps each Friday I can have students truly LOOK at their efforts for the week, and how those efforts have impacted their learning, and ultimately, their grades (the bottom line for 7th graders and their parents).

I feel validated for the relationships I build with students, standing in the hall before class, greeting them by name, asking about their basketball or hockey game, their new haircut, their dog... I think that is my strong suit as a teacher - I relate well to the kids I teach, I truly LIKE them, I truly enjoy being at work. I look forward to coming to school each day.

I want to work more effectively for students to become more responsible for their own learning. I want them to become independent, more able to problem-solve on their own. I want to read the Marzano book more....

All in all.. it was tough to sit and git all day. I am NOT a good student. However, the group of us who sat together were totally on task, even if we were chatty - our conversations were entirely rooted in the speaker's ideas.

I feel confident we can bring some of his enthusiasm back to the middle school to bring about positive change!!