Ah, January. The month of fresh starts, and newly created (and often broken) New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I am more determined than ever to achieve both my professional and personal goals (the former will be the focus of this post), and will use a number of different strategies to keep myself motivated over the course of the year. With regard to teaching, I have set 3 main goals for myself as a newly certified professional:
- Earn a spot on a supply list: This one is rather self-explanatory. I have recently done everything in my power to ensure that 2017 is the year that I receive my first-ever teaching job, and I will continue to keep my eyes open to other potential opportunities. I am so eager to enter the classroom as a professional, and feel as though I am well-prepared.
- Expose myself to a wider variety of educational technology: I am always looking for ways to become a more tech-savvy teacher, so I feel as though this is a good choice for my second goal. So far, I have learned about the following technology-related programs in my time spent volunteering:
- Go Noodle: Go Noodle is a website providing interactive, kid-friendly games, songs, and activities, which my supervisor uses with her Grade 4s for their Daily Physical Activity (DPA) time. The kids love the fun, upbeat, interactive nature of all of its video content, and they genuinely enjoy singing and dancing along every DPA period. I think Go Noodle is also an excellent resource for “body breaks”, and can be used throughout the school day as needed.
- Kahoot: Kahoot is a free website providing kids with game-based learning activities. I’ve seen it being used in the Grade 4 classroom several times, primarily as a review tool after a lesson, and/or before a unit test. The students love the interactive nature of Kahoot, and are able to play along on their tablets. I would definitely try it out in my own classroom!
- Dreambox: In Math, my supervisor has recently begun using Dreambox with the Grade 4s. Dreambox is an online Math resource that allows students to independently practice the skills and concepts that they learn in class. I’m very intrigued by this resource for two main reasons. First, Dreambox teaches Math using a variety of games and engaging activities, which I am passionate about incorporating in my Math lessons as often as possible. Second, Dreambox allows teachers to tailor each student’s account to his or her ability and achievement levels (in a very subtle way), allowing each child to work and improve throughout the year at his or her own pace. This makes Dreambox a great opportunity to use independent work and differentiated instruction at the same time.
- PlanBoard: I know that this website is likely very popular with students, but I was unaware of PlanBoard as a lesson planning system until I began volunteering with the Grade 4s last Fall. I love how easy the website is to use, and how organized it will help my day plans to be. I will definitely be using this once I finally begin working full-time!
3. Conduct professional research throughout the year on my free time: As a teacher, I would like to be able to inspire my students to become life-long learners, and I feel as though one of the best ways for me to do this would be to set a positive example, and remain one myself. Some examples of the topics I would like to learn more about this year are play-based learning, teaching strategies for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, mindfulness and meditation in the classroom, and preparing Intermediate students for the transition to high school. I am very passionate and enthusiastic about these areas, and eager to expand my knowledge and understanding of each of them.