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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GAME PLAN REFLECTION



Once again I am required to take time and reflect on my GAME plan, which is a necessity when trying to accomplish any and all goals, but honestly, sometimes I “think” I don’t have time to do this step.  In order to accomplish my GAME plan and all other goals, this step is vital.

With this said, I am taking a step back and reflecting on my 2 GAME plan goals; the progression towards incorporating more technology into my daily teachings and also conveying information through various digital formats.  As I access my actions, I am able to share that I am making progress towards both of these goals, although I am not running full speed towards the finish line, I am steadily moving towards the finish line.  So far this past week I have created a new blog, a twitter account and an iWeb site.  Concurrently, I have utilized some form of technology or digital format in everything I have done for school, including learning new techie things for my IEPs.  Because of my constant work towards these goals, and the progress I have made this week, I have learned that the more I continue working and exploring new digital tools, equipment, software, and incorporate these into every part of my professional life, it gets easier and easier.  For example, the time it took to activate clickers this week as opposed to the time it took last week.  WOW.  Also, I have added BrainPop to my clicker settings this week, so I can click “activate vote” and my clickers are INSTANTLY set-up, turned on, and programmed. WOW.  

One realization I did encounter when I was reading the reflective questions was that I do need to always learn to continue to stay active in the learning mode and not rely on “that’s the way I’ve always done it” attitude.  Don’t get me wrong, I am always trying to self-improve and grow, but to work this hard in such a short amount of time in order to reach your goals, is hard work, time consuming, and even exhausting mentally and physically.  So, I do work hard, but just not this hard all of the time.  As we approach TCAP and then the end of school, I am beginning to question if all of this work towards my goal of conveying information through various digital formats is going to be launched with enough steam and momentum when it’s so close to the end of the school year.  With only 30-something days, most teachers are trying to first get through TCAP, then will start winding down their school year.

Even though we (my school colleagues) are thinking about how many days/weeks are left and our students’ performance on TCAP, I will continue onward towards my 2 GAME plan goals with as much zest and zeal as I started.  As of now, I will not adjust my current plan at all, because I know I will fully implement both goals to their fullest potential whether it’s this year or next.  Therefore, if both my goals do not attain their level of significance within the next few weeks, that’s ok because both goals will be in full swing starting the first day of school next year and I’ll have all summer to tweak here and there if needed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Revisiting GAME #2

Since my last posting for my 2 GAME goals, I have made some progress. My first goal being more fluent with technology both current and upcoming, I have taken several progressive steps towards this. This past week, I attended a full day of training to learn about the Promethean Board that I have. I learned so much and was so very excited to get back to my students and start playing. I also learned how to use the clickers, which I have wanted to do this for some time now, and I learned how to create my own assessments for the clickers. This is a huge step towards my goal. Additionally, the Internet has provided me with sample rubrics that I can use for assessing my students and myself, and also in finding resources to help me work on improving my electronic communications with my parents. With all the information I have found, I am right now trying to sort through while absorbing it all in order to utilize what I am able to use for my plan.

The only part of my plan, at this point, that I have to think about modifying is sending out a mass email to all of my colleagues throughout my county, which will invite them to join a collaborative yahoo group. A supervisor I contacted about last week said she thought there was something in place for special education teachers to visit, but what she is referring to is a link from an existing commercial site that has to be subscribed to.

One thing I have learned since creating my GAME plan is that it takes time to follow protocol and sometimes you are not able to advance to the next step unless you have completed all the current formalities. Also, some of these formalities are hinged upon human responses/actions, which further means, when they become able or choose to act! In addition, I have become more aware of how technology is really not integrated into the classroom or lessons when it is crunch time in preparation for state testing. Other colleagues do not want to “waste” their time on “fun” activities with our TCAP (state testing) being right around the corner.

Finally, one question that I have started pondering is how do I get my parents involved electronically? Many parents are choosing not to take advantage of the technology that is already in place such as: teacher web pages and our Power School that posts student’s grades.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reviewing my GAME

As I consider my first goal, being fluent in technologies, the more it occurs to me that I do not know. Does this make sense? Technology is like an onion, the more you peel back, BAM! there is another layer underneath. For starters, I would like to make an inventory list of the digital tools and technologies: 1) I utilize often 2) I feel I use effectively 3) Impact on students’ performance. I would also like to review some rubrics used by teachers when evaluating their own teaching and then modify to meet my particular needs. Concurrently, there are several strategies that I have pondered, for instance, locating more professional development classes/sessions, talking with colleagues, and spending more time exploring/creating/experimenting. So far I have signed up for a technology conference in April and have already participated in an iGoogle webinar

For my second goal of conveying relevant information to students, parents, and colleagues through technology, I have spoken to some of my colleagues and inquired about using technology to achieve this goal. I discovered that several used emails or teacher web pages when outreaching to parents, and they also used emails and blogs for colleagues. As I plan to create a centralized location for both students and parents, I have started gathering and organizing links that I want to include. Also, I have emailed my principal and requested time to speak with her about a workshop for parents to help them access teacher/school information via technologies. At the same time, I have already sent a couple of emails to special education coordinators to ask for specific guidelines when contacting/communicating throughout my district.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MY GAME PLAN




Learning a new game can be fun, exciting, challenging or even the opposite; uninteresting. Recently, I have been discovered that I not only must learn a new game, but also be the inventor of this new game. WOW! It took me a minute to wrap my mind around what is being asked of me, especially because this game has such high stakes.



Being the winner of my game is defined as being an effective teacher by utilizing 21st Century Literacy Skills. In order to achieve this, I must have a solid perception of what being effective entails, therefore, I need to understand the National Education Standards for Teachers (2008) in order create my GAME plan. As Dr. Cinnamo (2009) explained, GAME signifies “Setting Goals, taking Action, Monitoring, and Evaluate and Extending” (p.30) therefore my first step is setting my Goals.


The NET Standard I am creating my GAME plan for is “Model Digital-Age Work and Learning.” This first Goal involves me being able to demonstrate fluency in technologies both current and rising, while sharing my information to support students’ learning. The Action is to incorporate many of the skills I have learned from previous and future courses via Walden into my lessons as well as using my classroom technologies to their fullest potential on a daily basis. In terms of Monitoring, this will be more of a trial and error event that will need adjusting, but most importantly, I will need to be very honest when reflecting objectively on my teaching. By monitoring students’ performances through informal and formal assessments in addition to creating a rubric for myself, these day-to-day notations will help me track specific moments while considering either modifying or moving forward. In order to Evaluate and Extend these specific moments, I will test my students’ content knowledge on the lessons that I have incorporated the aforementioned technologies. From here, I will reteach or enrich, which will show me the level of mastery of my students based on my teachings.





The second Goal is conveying relevant information through various digital venues in an effective manner to student, parent, and colleagues (2008). My Action will include a multi-facet approach starting with creating a group account for my colleagues in which to share files, questions, and information. After I create the group account, I will send a mass email to all schools within my county asking each principal to forward the invite for colleagues to join, but will also set the group’s profile for special education teachers around the world. Within my classroom, I will provide ‘show and tell’ with my students showing them my teacher webpage and the various links that are available. For my parents, I will offer times (PTA meetings, parent-teacher conference night, and even during/after school) to demonstrate how to access my webpage and the wiki that I will create for parental use. To eliminate confusion, I will also provide my parents “quick step” guide outlining the steps to take for obtaining different options. Monitoring will be on-going, by providing my contact information, my parents contact me at various times for various reasons. During the times mentioned above, I will be available for monitoring, questions and even conferences. Concurrently, I will be Monitoring the colleague group account on a daily basis via my email. Evaluating and Extending will be based on the volume of response in which is received through the various digital venues. After examining the reactions, I will then continue, adjust or alter for the start of the next school year.


I look forward to doing this project for the remainder of this year, which will enable me to tweak as needed, therefore, starting off next year strong from day 1. GAME ON!!!!



Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

National Education Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) located at http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_T_Standards_Final.pdf.