TEACHING IS AN ART + A SCIENCE
Knowing the needs, interests, and strengths of my learners, as well as the focus of the learning are essential when creating lessons and assessments. After implementing Backwards Design and project- based learning units in both my instruction and that of other educators, I have seen growth in students. The Common Core State Standards support the inquiry based method of teaching that I believe is at the root of real learning. When I plan for students to ask and answer their own questions while using authentic texts and real problems, they amaze me with their curiosity. Since my units include detailed rubrics themed in a real world issue or scenario, they understand the answer to “why should we learn this?” before they can even ask.
Throughout my practice, I have continued to incorporate new technology and resources into the classroom and workplace. I’ve led teams to learn tools like Google Drive, The Teaching Channel, Khan Academy, Twitter, Edmodo, and iPads in my instruction and mentoring. In addition to playing around with Prezi, I'm eager to create a ShowMe or a podcast to give students or teachers access to the classroom content after hours. I'm also very interested in applying a gaming mindset/framework into my next classroom and have been supporting new teachers around learning about ways to "gamify" instruction to keep students engaged, increase rigor, and differentiate.
After reflecting alone and collaborating with others on methods for maintaining an effective learning environment, I have learned that differentiating, as a method to engage students, is one of the best ways to sustain classroom management and culture. By establishing a community of learners where strong students are able to learn more, and students with special needs are not embarrassed to ask for help, all students begin to learn how to work together. My classroom is a place where students learn how to collaborate and are expected to work together.
In my classroom, I have many roles. I am presenter, question poser, facilitator, coach, and fellow explorer. To know math means to understand the art of problem solving and logic. By the end of the year, I hope that most of my students begin to see math as a tool for survival. Knowing a foreign language, and being able to speak it fluently enough to get by is also an essential asset in this ever expanding global society. French still remains one of the most spoken languages on the globe and can enable and motivate students to travel and learn more about other cultures in college, or later in life.
Working with students and other teachers outside of the classroom has helped me to find unique ways to enhance learning experiences in the classroom. I have learned more about my students as individuals, while forging relationship based in common passions for soccer, robotics, and music. Sharing my expertise for starting and maintaining extra-curricular organizations has also strengthened my belief that learning beyond the classroom walls is powerful.