Thursday, December 30, 2010

Student Voices

Many people have written lately about listening to students and using their feedback to guide instruction and decision making. Recently, a colleague of mine and I created a survey for the students to take in our junior high. One of the questions was what you would tell someone about your experiences at our school. This is a short video with select quotes from the student's responses. We had over 650 of our nearly 800 students take the survey so this is just a small sampling. There certainly were some negative comments, but the overwhelming majority of the comments was positive. I encourage everyone to create a survey and ask their students what they think. If nothing else, it is a good reinforcement that you are doing good work. Kids are honest and their feedback is more valuable than any administrative observation...sorry administrators! :)

Goals for a New Year

As many of us approach the New Year we often reflect on the past year and set goals. We call these New Year’s resolutions but I think they are the same as goals. This is my list of goals for the upcoming year and I feel like posting them might help make me stick to them… and I hope my PLN will keep me honest!


1 – I will get more people on Twitter

I have written about Twitter in past blogs and how powerful of a tool I think it is. In 2011, I want to convince more of my colleagues to be a part of the collaboration and learning that I know is a crucial part in my professional development.

2 – I will unplug more

I am a tech junkie and will be the first to admit that. However, I am going to try to unplug more and actually set times to do so. I want to spend more time reading for pleasure, exercising, playing with my kids, and take time to play some video games…

3 – I will create more tutorials

I am constantly asked how to do things by coworkers and I am happy to help. However, I have started making tutorials on some simple computer tasks that have proven quite useful. It is nice because I can post them on our network drive and teachers/students can access them whenever they need to. I want work on creating a library of tutorials that cover a variety of simply and complex topics.

4 – I will run a half marathon

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I have done a variety of 5K and duathlon races over the past five years. This spring/summer I want to sun a half marathon with my wife…

5 – I will finally become a recognized Jedi

I have undergone a great deal of training but have yet to be recognized by the counsel… I look to make the final step this year.

6 – I will email or call 5 student’s parents a week

Too many of our student’s parents never hear from a teacher unless there is something wrong. As teachers, we only call home when a kid is failing, has a discipline problem, or some other negative purpose. I am going to either call or email five parents for a positive reason on a weekly basis.

7– I will start a book

This is one of those bucket list items for me that I have thought about for a few years now. I used to present at the introduction to education classes at the college I did my undergrad work. When I spoke to the classes I would share my experiences and what to expect in the first years of teaching. I was always encouraged to formulate those thoughts into a book… and this year I want to make the effort to at least get that started…

8 – I will expand my PLN

I have been actively involved on twitter for about the past three months and my PLN grows daily. I want to continue to expand my PLN and tap the invaluable and innumerable resources available at the click of my mouse.

9 – I will write at least five grants

I have been successful over the past years in writing grants and putting more technology into my student’s hands. At this time I have one grant pending for some Flip Cameras and have plans for at least five more over the next year at various grant outlets.

10 – I will read more than I write – listen more than I speak – solve more problems than I complain about

This is probably going to be the hardest one for me but probably my most important on the list. These three items will apply to every facet of my life. The goal of this item is to be more reflective in my life with an eye on making things better.