Creating a plan is one thing. Implementing it is something entirely different. How many times has the human race made “plans” to do something but never carried through with it? (Too many New Year’s Resolutions come to mind!) As an educator, it is imperative that I work to improve my own skills in order to keep up with the ever-changing world around me. Last week I evaluated where I needed to work to improve how I use technology in the classroom and established two goals to work on. Now that I have examined what I want to be able to do better, I must look closer at how I am going to carry these plans out in my classroom.
In looking over my GAME plan for integrating more technology into my lessons there are a few resources I will use to guide my plan implementation. Our district recently introduced two new programs for teachers to use to enhance the classroom lessons. One of them is the Teacher Toolbox (toolboxfortechers.com). This site allows the teacher to locate lesson plans that can be used to cover specific content standards. In looking at this site the past week, I have located several activities that I have been able to implement in my classroom this week. There have been some interactive Smart Board activities that have helped me cover some of my math content standards this week. I have not allowed my students to work as independent as I feel they should. In order to work on this part of my goal, I need to get up a plethora of interactive and useable sites in one location to allow students to choose which activity they want to complete to enhance their understanding.
Our district has several reading sites that teachers can use to improve reading skills in the classroom. I have used these resources more often and students enjoy reading on the computer. We have a subscription to “Reading A-Z” (readinga-z.com), BookFlix, Teaching Books (teachingbooks.net), and Follett Shelf. I use these sites to locate other stories students can read that address the reading skills for the week. Currently I tend to locate a book for the students to read to ensure that it addresses the skills I am looking for. One way to continue to use these resources effectively while allowing my students more freedom is to create a list of stories that address the weekly skills and then allow the students to choose which story they read. This will allow them to choose books that interest them to help keep them motivated. I have not implemented this yet. In order to effectively carry through with this I need to locate the books that address specific skills.
In looking at the resources available I have enough to effectively improve my teaching skills. What I need to do now is thoroughly evaluate these resources. I need to locate and organize how I can use these resources in specific content areas. By creating organized lists I can then make these resources available to my students to use in the classroom.
Reading about UDL (Universal Design for Learning) this week showed me that there are steps I need to take to make sure my students’ individual needs are being addressed. In evaluating the resources listed above, I can create lists of activities students can complete to help them work on skills they need more practice on. Using the computer will excite and motivate most of them. Others can have various activities to use to enhance classroom instruction. I am learning a lot about new technologies and part of my GAME plan is to learn how to implement them into my instruction. One skill I am currently working on learning more about is podcasting. I have made small podcasts with my students and our weekly spelling tests are podcasts using Power Point. What I want to accomplish by the end of this year is for my students to create their own podcast. I have ordered headsets with microphones so that we can begin practicing with this new technology. I believe some of my students possess the ability to create their own songs or videos. This is a skill they have not had the opportunity to work on in class thus far. Hopefully, by the end of the year, they will have the chance to create a product that includes audio and video to demonstrate what they have learned. This will help me prepare for new ways to integrate this new skill into my lessons sooner next year.
As I look at what I need to do to implement my GAME plan this year, it essential for me to broaden my resources and organize the resources I currently have to know where they fit into instruction. I believe my goals are attainable and student knowledge will be enhanced through the implementation of this plan. Learning how to use technology to meet the diverse needs of my students will help me create a more flexible class. This is going to take time and patience as I am not familiar with “letting go” of my third graders. However, it is a step I need to take and one I am sure they are ready to handle.