Starting a New School Year …
Starting a new school year is always full of many emotions.
As the new school year approaches (or has just begun) for many of my PLN across the world I think about what makes the start of a school year unique and special.
The weeks and days leading up to the start of a new school year always fills me with many emotions. I am filled with excitement, I feel scared, worried and nervous at the thought of what is to come. I am happy and at the same time I am sad that the summer break is over and the unlimited time with my family is about to change for another school year. At the same time, the most powerful emotion that runs through my body is excitement.
I am a globally connected educator who loves to connect, extend and support student voice in the learning process. The excitement of having a new group of amazing students to work with excites me. Every year over the summer break I engage with my PLN on twitter and learn SO much. This learning gets me buzzing because I can’t wait to share the new information and learning with my staff and students! It is this excitement that keeps me going, keeps me humming, and as a teacher this is what is important.
I am currently in a school running the Australian Curriculum so I am midyear right now. My Summer comes over December and January. Right now I am loving the twitter conversations, edu-chats and engaging blog posts as my Northern Hemisphere PLN are about to start their school year (or just have started in the last few weeks).
Today I thought I would share the 5 resources or finds that I am currently working on in my teaching and if I was starting a new school year right now, I would be excited about introducing, using and integrating across my classroom and across my school:
1. Skype and Google Hangout Connections – Being totally excited about connecting across the globe, this is number 1 on my list. I am working on different ways to connect all classrooms in my school with students and experts from around the world to support their learning. I am using twitter as the tool to gain access.
2. Connect my class with the world via a class Twitter account – something that many schools are trialling (as am I). I believe if you have a supportive school community, it is a must to allow students to reach out for support and collaboration through a teacher controlled class twitter account.
3. Create a coding curriculum – coding is the new literacy in my head. Teaching kids to code, is like teaching them a new language that will potentially be the most important thing they will learn in their lifetime. If you are not registered with code.org – it is a must! I love it. I am currently creating a coding curriculum across my school (K-8) which includes such resources as Scratch Jr, Scratch, Code.org, Khan Academy, Code Academy, Tynker and App Builders.
4. Give students voice – I am passionate about student voice and believe there is always a place for it in education. I am currently working on ways to allow more student voice in my school. This includes: student evaluations of staff, valued leadership roles that are purposeful, student led community groups and initiatives plus much more.
5. Typing skills – You may have read my article recently about Typing as a tool in our schools. I believe that it is an important element. We have introduced Typing Agent from grade 3-6 and in 2015 will be introducing Typing Agent Junior into Grade 1-2. The purpose of this is to make learning time more efficient. If students can type faster and more efficiently, they can produce better quality work as makers and creators. They can also communicate more effectively online. There are so many current benefits to being strong at typing that, in my opinion, it is impossible to ignore.
I would love to hear your top 5 ‘finds of the summer’ and how you plan on incorporating them into your classroom/school as you embark on a new (or current) school year. Every day is a new day for learning. Make today the day that you learn, engage, share and ‘takeaway’ some amazing new learning!