In the song that is the title of this post there is a line that says "Do one thing everyday that scares you". It was a one hit wonder(you may remember the song) and that line has stuck with me. Over the next little while posting on the this blog is going to be that"one thing" that scares me.
At the beginning of the year I was lucky enough to go to the International Conference on Thinking in Wellington, New Zealand. I'm coming up 7 years teaching at my current school and the conference was the breath of fresh air that I needed. Over the year ahead I'll share some of my ideas and understanding from my teaching practice.
As an Art teacher I felt very empowered at ICOT2013. A lot of the philosophies on thinking/teaching/learning were connected to the creative processes used in the Arts. I was taken by how many primary schools were there. We, High School teachers, had better get our acts together! We have a wonderful assessment tool in NCEA that can be used to create unique and relevant learning experiences for the young people of New Zealand. We need to shake off the shackles of last centuries education system and get creative. Here are a couple of tools I'm starting to use.
Evernote: I discovered Evernote at the beginning of last year and quickly saw it as a way to document my students artworks as they progress through the year levels in my Art room. The ease at which I can photograph and upload to a students notebook and then share with parents and other staff is fast making it an invaluable tool in my teaching practice. At ICOT2013 Ewan McIntosh ran a workshop on using Evernote as a formative assessment tool. He used a free Evernote account that the whole class used. Students had a notebook each and made reflection notes on what they had learned that day. I'm doing something similar in my classes this year and basing my reflection questions from a blog post by Hadley Ferguson on "Ungrading Students"
Twitter: I must confess that I spent a good chunk of my first workshop at ICOT signing up to twitter. Before the conference I saw twitter as a waste of time, a place where you stalked your favourite celebrity. How wrong I was! The ideas that educators are sharing and discussing on twitter is amence. One post talked about Formal and Informal PD. Most of us yawn at the thought of formal PD. "If I can just get one little thing to use I'll be happy" we say. For me informal PD is where the real learning for my teaching practice takes place. I find out and learn about what is relevant to me and my teaching. Hhmmm that sounds familiar! Sounds like what the students want. If your still reading check out this blog post by Luke Dyer on "How twitter made me a new teacher".
When you come back from a conference like ICOT2013 you have so many things buzzing around in your head. How do I give back to my school for such an investment? I'm still working on that, seeing what sticks in my head and practice, waiting for the dust to settle. I share most of my favourite tweets with staff. I don't want to do one of those boring Powerpoints that formal PD can be full of. Maybe this blog is the start of something.
Speaking of all that. My class first class has just turned up and I promised I would post this today as it has been sitting in my drafts for a week already. Time to jump off the end of
Some of the best PD discussions are had in the staffroom over a coffee. My posts are intended to be like one of those conversations. Feel free to join the conversation, we just might help each other out. My opinions are my own.