While this school year is quickly coming to an end, I can’t help but think about next year. As I started brainstorming ideas for my grade team planning meeting tomorrow, I formulated some of my own goals for the new school year.
Here are three of my goals:
1. Explore different ways to use gaming in the classroom. The Board recently unblocked Minecraft in my school thanks to a very persuasive letter written by three of my students. This year, my Grade 6’s used Minecraft periodically for math, social studies, and language activities, but next year, I’d like to examine even more structured ways of using the program. I think that coupled with an online tool, such as Scratch, students could problem solve, collaborate, and apply their knowledge in new ways that may also engage reluctant learners.
2. Revisit at my literacy block. While I continued to play with the format of my literacy block this year, I’d still like to tweak it more for next year. Students need lots of opportunities to read, write, speak, and create with each other, and I’d like to look at more ways that I can conference with the students as well as work with them in small guided groups. I want to be able to give students choice while also ensuring that they receive what they need.
3. Explicitly teach the problem solving process in math. While I worked on problem solving all year and shared many tools and strategies, I never actually taught the problem solving process, and I think that students need this. They are struggling with knowing how to approach difficult problems and what a detailed solution should actually include. Reminding the students of strategies such as drawing a diagram, or tools to use, such as various manipulatives, may help make even challenging problems, solvable. After talking to my math facilitator, I’d love to co-create a bookmark with my students that they can use at home and at school to remind them of steps to follow when solving a problem and the tools they can use to help them out. All students would benefit from this, even if it’s highlighting various approaches to solving the same problem.
I’m sure this list will continue to grow next year as I start teaching a fantastic new group of students.
What are your goals for next year? How do you hope to meet them? What advice can you give me as I strive to meet my three goals ?
Aviva Dunsiger taught Junior Kindergarten to Grade 2 for 11 years before moving to Grade 6 this year. She’s passionate about using technology in the classroom to support student learning, and she’s presented on this topic numerous times both online and offline.
She enjoys maintaining her blog, Living Avivaloca: My Many Musings on Life and Learning. Aviva’s reflective writing about her professional practice inspires communication between educators, administrators and parents.