Monday, September 1, 2014

The Thirty Day Challenge... Social Media challenges me to stop and reflect.

"Social Media is a dangerous place."  At least that's what I'm supposed to tell my students in the requisite 9th grade class entitled Information Literacy.  For me, it hasn't proven to be all that dangerous.  I've never been hacked, to my knowledge, and I know that there is no royalty in Africa who will truly fork over the millions of dollars that I have rightfully inherited, if only I give said individuals easy access to my bank account information.  I've connected with high school and college friends that I haven't spoken to for years, and keep in touch with faraway relatives and former students, connected in a way that previous generations could have only imagined with the assistance of the USPS or the Pony Express. 

Last week, my long-time friend, Cindy (aka Cynthia Lee on facebook, but I digress), reposted the challenge offered by the folks at te@chthought.  The gauntlet has been thrown -- Blogging for 30 days as a means of reflective teaching.  If you're a teacher reading this, consider joining.  You can find the details here:  Reflective Teaching 30 Day Blogging Challenge .

Here we go!

September 1st 

Write your goals for the school year.  Be as specific or abstract as you'd like to be.

 It is so easy to set the usual keep my desk organized,  be more diligent in my feedback to my students, don't procrastinate! goals, which will fall by the wayside before the end of September.  Instead, I'm going to be purposeful and specific:

1.  Intentionally infuse the Habits of Mind in my teaching.  I've read Carol Dweck's research, and a LOT of other metacognitive studies while working on my master's in gifted at UCONN.  Habits of Mind is something that I can introduce subtly, and have my students embrace and use as they reflect upon their learning.  (This may not apply to Zach, who titled his journal in silent protest...)

2.  Be more positive!  While I think I am genuinely positive and honest around my students, the same can not be said for my interactions with my colleagues.  It's no secret that the educational profession has been under attack in recent years, and it is very easy to get sucked into the criticism battle as new directives and initiatives are proposed or enforced.

3.  Leave school chores at school.  I am plugged in without needing to carry the old school school bag back and forth.  It's a giant guilt trip for me when I drag it home and don't open it.  Our district has given us the wonderful/horrible gift of web access to our district drives.  I can, and do, write lesson plans at home where I am not interrupted, and upload them to the requisite drive for my principals to review.  My email goes to my phone.  I am "friends" on facebook with many teachers in my district.  I go to school by 6:30 am -- sometimes as early as 6 -- and usually leave close to 5.  If I use my time wisely, I can do this!  (I can access the computer and add those "brilliant activating strategies" that come to me in the middle of the night without carrying the extra mental and physical burden contained in the bag.)  This will allow use of the WOW pedometer after hours.  (And I've already forgotten what WOW stands for, but I'm sure the folks at the Donegal Wellness Committee, Adrianne or Gretchen Michelle will set me straight...)

So, my reflection for day one has an educational goal, a psychological goal and a physical goal. 

29 days to go.   Accept the challenge.


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