Sorry, no technology this time...
I have recently been spending quite a bit of time reflecting on my teaching and especially the balance that I try to manage between exposing student to new web2.0 technologies and making sure the content that I need to cover is learned by the students. I had to, and will continue to examine my use of technology:
Do I use technology for technology sake?
Is content being sacrificed?
Are the students still learning / demonstrating their understanding through the web integrated projects & lessons?
Do I have the students use technology to keep myself interested in the content, is it only for their benefit, or a combination of the both? And if it is both, is there anything wrong with that?
I can't answer these questions. I can only think about them. But I feel confident that in asking myself the questions I will find the balance I am looking for.
I recently had a class of freshman make websites with weebly as a project for a unit of study. As part of the website they had to have a reflection page where they were to address questions around their learning, demonstration of learning, comparison to a traditional paper / test and any final thoughts. Their comments have been revealing, confirming and a pleasure to read.
I have also been trying to visit other classrooms during my prep period as much as possibly lately. In every room I walk into I have been met with a smile and an energetic welcome. I don't write anything down, I just sit and take in what is happening: classroom management, new assignments, managing discussion. I want to find new ideas from the teachers in my building. I was thrilled today, when a teacher I visited last week came and sat in on one of my freshman world studies classes. He participated in the discussion, paid attention to what we were covering and asked the students questions. The atmosphere was...different. The students seemed to treat the class with slightly more regard. Almost as if another adult could find this important / interesting than they should as well. I know we can't visit classrooms that often, but a great climate was created by simply seeing another teacher in the room.