Thursday, 31 May 2012

My #30DayChallenge

Here we go!

Developing a PLN has its benefits. It also has its downside. You become more accountable ;) Here I was, quietly passing on some ideas and next minute, I've accepted the #30DayChallenge myself! 

Thanks to @amydawnpark, @candicecshaw and @deirdrebailey. You've all inspired me to take up the challenge too! The only problem I have is that school finishes in less than 30 days so I'm going to have to be creative! However, I do promise to take up the challenge again in the new school year!


This year my focus has been on engagement. As a Learning Leader in my school my job has been to help colleagues engage their students through authentic and exciting learning tasks! I'm also responsible for the implementation and transformation of our Library to Learning Commons. This has been a great way to think of a learning space such as the Learning Commons as a place to engage students in projects they choose to get immersed in.

My first half was a write-off. I was off on a couple of leaves (due to a beautiful baby being born and a trip to my motherland, NZ:) so I felt like I hardly got anything achieved in the first half of the year. When I returned after Christmas, I was on board to tackle the rest of the year as best I could.

In January, along came Galileo. Our Area III office invited all elementary Learning Leaders (LL) to participate in a PD opportunity with Galileo that consisted of 6 full-day workshops. We have had the chance to co-create and collaborate with other LLs from within our Area. It has been a great opportunity to grow and develop my understanding of planning and implementing engaging tasks for a variety of students in our K-6 setting.

The #30daychallenge for me is about culminating what I have learned this year by reflecting on what goes on in the teaching and learning I'm involved within my school. I don't have a homeroom so I have the added benefit of working with kids from Kindergarten up to grade 6. I'll also be watching and learning what other teachers do and reflecting on that too. I plan to visit two other schools to gather some more ideas and feedback. My reflection will be based on the 8 areas of the Galileo Discipline Based Inquiry Rubric:
  • Authenticity
  • Academic Rigor
  • Assessment
  • Beyond the School
  • Appropriate Use of Technology
  • Active Exploration
  • Connecting with Expertise
  • Elaborated Communication

I'm aiming at posting at least once a week and also tweeting articles and reflection from other educators through my PLN on twitter (@stevewclark)


Friday, 25 May 2012

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Since starting this blog (just yesterday), I have been given a few different opinions on blogging. Some good, some not so good. So, it got me thinking.... What is the point of a blog for me? Why bother?

Well, this year has been for sure the biggest, most influential year of learning I have had in my short career as a teacher. I started playing around with Twitter and I quickly found a ton of resources, insights and opinions about teaching and learning. My head begun to spin shortly after. How the heck could I store all this new information? How could I process it and even begin to think about how I might take new these new ideas and use them in the classroom.

One of big goals this year has been to find an effective way to make the learning (and teaching) that happens in my classroom more visible. My blogging venture will help make this more of a reality.

After being involved in a professional development series within our area, I begun to network with people in different schools that are in a similar position to me. Through face-to-face discussion the idea of blogging as a way to reflect on what I learn begun to take shape. My main problem was how I might possibly find the time to blog. After thinking and thinking and having a day to play, I took the chance. Why not!??

My questions for others would be:

  • Why do you blog? 
  • What do you get out of it?
  • What's the point?
  • Is it worth it?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Learning Through Reflection

I used to blog. When blogging first became popular, before the days of Facebook, I tried it. It was a way for to keep in touch with family, to share my news and give my friends and family in New Zealand an idea of what my life looked like in a different country.

Then Facebook showed up and my blogging came to a halt.

Now I turn back to my Blogger account with a different goal in mind. A way for me and others to reflect professionally. Another way for me to collaborate with like-minded educators. I'm hoping this might turn into a way for our staff to reflect on our teaching practise and to move our work forward.

In the past few months, I have begun to discover a prolific amount of new information. Digital media has been a way for me to find new and exciting ways to improve my understanding of my job.  Through Twitter (@stdevo37), I have started to build a PLN (Personal Learning Network). I have started connecting with colleagues from around the globe to help grow my knowledge and ability both in and out of the classroom.

Being enthusiastic about technology as a learning tool, I am always looking for new ways to help engage students in learning tasks. For me, this year has been all about engagement. At my school, we have focused on UDL to help reach all of our students. Our goal has been to personalize learning so that success can be found by all. We have also looked into Inquiry Based Learning (as described by Neil Stephenson - Link). I have been lucky enough to have been involved with a professional development series with Galileo and other CBE Area III Learning Leaders. We have learned so much about learning and how students learn best - Another post to come about this soon!

Through this blog, I hope to be able to document my progress as an educator who is passionate about learning.