Goals for 2014

I have a hard time condensing my posts to a couple paragraphs so I’m really going to try to keep this one short and to the point.

  • I want Edcamp Parkersburg to become a reality.  I know it can happen.  I’ve got some hurdles in the road but I think some people have stepped forward that can help me knock those hurdles down.  I’ve connected with individuals that have hosted successful Edcamps and I’ve got an appointment to speak with Edcamp foundation chair Kristen Swanson January 7.  I think this could become an annual event showcasing the best learning experiences for teachers.  There is a tremendous need and tremendous potential for this event.  It could be a game-changer for classrooms in this region.  
  • I have developed a passion for giving my students unique learning experiences that are often neglected in my traditional classrooms.  Activities of higher-quality are more difficult to measure and activities of low-quality are often easy to measure, thus low-quality learning activities are what our students get 99% of the time.  I suspect that teachers are used to these low-quality learning experiences because they are easy to measure and I’ve found that a lot of teachers only invest time into things that can be measured.  I personally feel that the things which aren’t easily measured are probably more important in life.  I would like to invest more time and energy into activities that improve communication, problem-solving, perseverance, and self-directed learning.  Maybe this will come through more meaningful projects chosen by the students.  Maybe it will occur through more communication and discussion from problems like these.  I’ve not arrived at a definite solution here, but I’ll keep trying.
  • I want to continue to refine my grading practices.  For example, since I started SBG, I have realized that I actually need to assess more often and reduce the number of standards present in my official tests.  I had started doing this, but I think I need to go even further.  I need to not be concerned with the number of grades in my grade book but rather the quality and validity of what those grades represent.  Organization is not my strength, but I need to be more organized with my tests, retakes, etc.  I need to incorporate more writing and communicating into my tests somehow.  This is a big part of my classroom, but is nearly absent from my assessments.
  • Entertain the idea of having a radical type of parent-teacher conference.  I’d like to engage parents in a what’s coming up learning experience for Mr. Oldfield’s math class.  I’d like parents to know how they can help their student and what to look for from my class.  I learned from our last student-lead conferences that there are still a number of parents who want to be actively involved in their child’s learning, they just don’t know how.  I’d like to show them some ways they can be active and carry some weight in this partnership.
  • Reach more homes during school orientation, August of 2014.  I always reach the homes of my homebase students and they get a full dose of how to communicate with me.  I always miss out on the other homes from other homebases.  Since I still have those students as part of my classes, it’s imperative that they get a more worthy dose of my communication lines.  I actively employ several lines of communication and I’d like to have more homes on board.  I just have to find a way to reach them first.
  • Reach every student and home with a positive note at least once during the second half of the school year.  I’ve also got to do a better job of documenting this somehow
  • Last, I want to continue doing the things I’ve started in 2013.  I know if I can just continue engaging in the learning experiences I started this year, I’ll continue to grow as an educator and a leader.

*I reserve the right to add to this list as I see fit.  For now, these are my goals heading into 2014.

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