Friday, January 15, 2016

First Semester Down!

Today marks that last day of the first semester for my students and I.  The midterms exams will be wrapped up in a few hours and students and teacher alike will be off to enjoy a long weekend (please take a moment to remember the great man we are honoring with a day off on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).  I will be enjoying my long weekend in Lake Tahoe with seven of my ski & snowboard club students and my co-advisor.  Most of my students have never been snowboarding and I am really excited to see their faces when they get out on the slopes.  I am also excited that Lake Tahoe (and the West in general) has snow for the first time in years.  For the resorts sake, but more importantly, for the lack of water's sake, keep that snow coming until May or June!

So many great things happened in my classroom and in my professional life during the last half of 2015 and into the first weeks of 2016.  First of all, my classroom has become about 95% digital.  The only thing that is happening on paper in my classroom now is the bellringer, and I am in the process of figuring out how to make the bellringer digital.  My classroom has been mostly digital for many years now, but I finally feel as if paper has become a thing of the past for me.  Youtube has become my best friend, between sharing clips with students about various subjects of United States History to the creation of short videos for projects with students (see some of my previous blog posts for some samples of student Youtube work).  I have furthered my professional skills as an educator, completing my Google Certified Educator Level 2 test and earning acceptance to my district's leadership preparatory academy.  I look to take things even further in the coming weeks and months through coordinating next week's 21st Century Learning Conference (click on the link for tickets, I know it's short notice, but a weekend in Las Vegas to relax, learn, and expand your PLN is never a bad thing!), presenting at the EdTechTeam's Las Vegas GAFE Summit at the end of January  and attending the CUE National Conference in March and the ISTE Conference in Denver in June.  Those are just the planned events, who knows what else will come up!

I look back to when I first starting teaching 11 years ago (which already makes me wonder where the time has gone when I say that I have been in this game for 11 years now) and remember what I did as a teacher then.  I almost feel as if I did a disservice to those students.  Naturally, experience was only going to make me better, but when I think of the activities that I did as a first-year teacher, I was an absolute joke!  I would love to talk to some of my students from that first year (who are all pushing 30 now and have careers, families, and who knows what else on their plate) and ask their thoughts on my abilities, if they remember.  All I know is that I am a completely different teacher now and my students are that much better for it.

Think about your abilities, your accomplishments in the past few months, and what you are planning to do to improve yourself!

Until next time...

Ok, I won't complete your training, but together, through our mutual love for improvement, we will help each other to improve.  

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