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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Focus, Focus, Focus!

There's a temptation to follow many streams of thought, action, and questions.

Yet, true satisfaction and a job well done demands that individuals study the landscape and choose a focus.

As I've noted before, my focus centers on classroom craft and effort--the job of teaching children well.

What does that mean as I continue down this path?

At this time, that focus means the following initiatives:

  • Continued analysis of the MA Teacher Evaluation Rubric -a document that essentially outlines the attributes of a job well done with regard to teaching children well.  I will analyze standards two and three this week. This is the summary post for Standard One. 
  • Reading Teach Like a Pirate using either a Kindle app or the Kindle.  This will finally be the needed step into ebooks, a practice I'll explore with greater depth with my students in the fall. I find that only when I use a tool myself first that I am able to use that tool well with students. This step has been on my to-do list for a while without result. Just wondering does Chrome have a Kindle app? 
  • I'll engage in the Teach Like a Pirate book group as part of the #educoach chat on Wednesday nights from 10-11 p.m. EST. The chat has wonderful moderators and a committed following of educators. Their Teach Like a Pirate chat began last week so I have some catch-up to do. This post outlines the chat. 
  • On July 23, a colleague and I will attend MassCUE's Beta Teacher Event to explore new tech tools for education.  That will be a good day to connect with a colleague who is similarly interested in apt tech integration in schools.
  • Then on July 31, we're hoping to attend edcamp Steam in New Jersey to explore more ways to integrate science, tech, engineering, art, and math into the classroom program.
  • The first week in August finds me at the wonderful Massachusetts' Teacher Association conference (more like a retreat) in Williamstown, MA--a wonderful location and event for teacher share and professional learning.

Then time for classroom set up and school prep. There's much more I'd like to do as the ed landscape today offers numerous opportunities.  The "if and when I get time list" includes the following inviting learning efforts as well:
  • Learning more about the integration of music into multimedia composition.
  • Exploring virtual models for math.
  • Building the STEAM lab in school with greater intent and effect.
  • Planning our student virtual cross country tour--a project we'll implement using multiple tools including Google maps, Google Earth, spreadsheets, and guided research.
  • Using online audio tools to respond to student work.
  • Creating and/or finding a class social media site (I continue not to be satisfied with the platforms available, but I'm on the look out)
  • Giving more time to learning about Discovery Education's new possibilities and tools. 
  • Exploring Motion Math's apps on the iPad.
  • Signing up for Sum Dog writing, English and math for this year's class.
  • Resigning up for Xtra Math since they archived the lists.
  • Exploring Khan Math with greater depth.
Hence, there's no shortage of education tools and practice to explore, that's why the continued efforts to prioritize and focus are so essential in our world of limitless learning today.

What's your focus as you look ahead? How will you set goals, prep for school, and find time for fun, family, and friends too? If any of the events above interest you, please join my colleagues and me in this regard. In a sense, we're moving in uncharted territory when we consider a professional landscape with so many choices and at the same time so many requirements (new standards for professional practice and teaching too--common core).  

Hence, the need for prepping our priorities, revising as needed, sharing our journey with others, and then acting with intent.