In my last post, I emphasized how important it is to "be the change" you want to see. I try to live the words I speak. As you may notice, it has been a while since my last post. First of all, I'd like to apologize for the delay. Making a change seems to take a lot of time, effort, and energy. However, it is worth every second.
I believe that learning should be fun, engaging, and interactive. Most of you teachers reading this are thinking, "um, of course, that's the dream!" Well, that dream can be a reality! Technology does not substitute good teaching but it can be an amazing tool for great teachers. I have been piloting a wonderful program called Peardeck for my district and it has been met with nothing but positivity, excitement and wonder by my students. Now, on days when we take notes, and I used to get complaints from students that they had to listen to a PowerPoint or take notes, I get met with a cheer of happiness that they get to do a PearDeck.
On Thursday and Friday of this past week, I invited all of the building administrators into my classes to see this program. They all showed. Now these were really just my typical PowerPoint lessons, beefed up with a new software program. What these administrators were met with was nothing like they had ever seen before while watching students taking "PowerPoint notes". They were laughing, they were drawing, they were figuring out math problems; most importantly they were fully engaged the entire time. I wish I could go back in time and learn using PearDeck!!
There are other programs just like it. Nearpod is used commonly and I mostly went with PearDeck because we are a Google for Education school. Microsoft Office also has a new addon called Office Mix which I use to make almost identical interactive lessons to be able to have these lessons archived on my website for my students who are absent or who want to be able to rewatch the lesson if they didn't understand it the first time.
In the next few months I will be the change I want to see. I will be helping the school to roll this out to the other teachers so that they can gain the many benefits I and my students have been finding to using this software.
As I stated in my last blog post, finding meaning in your work will help you enjoy your every day. I have a smile on my face going to and from work each day. Do things always go my way? Of course not. But I always live with purpose and that gives me happiness. I'm still trying to refine my ability to find balance between my work life and personal life but I find it easier the more I love what I am doing each and every moment; and the more I have great apps for lists like Evernote and Do It Tomorrow. I will go more into those apps in future posts. Make the most of each and every day!
Education, we feel, should be about excitement and engagement. If students are excited and engaged about their learning, they will learn! When the goal at hand is to get a certain amount of questions right on a test, their hearts just aren't in the right place. Life is all about intentions. Students, just like us teachers, want to have fun, want to find meaning, and don't want to be bored!! If we are excited, having fun, finding meaning to our work and are content it will show and our students will enjoy our classes more. If we are bored and jaded, that will show as well and our students will not enjoy our classes, zone out and not succeed as well.
Now, I know a lot of people out there are thinking that their subject is hard to teach, hard to learn and just not fun. I challenge you to alter that believe!!! Many people, when I tell them that I teach Chemistry say, "ugh! I hated that in high school!" Well, what if you had fun coming in to class? What if your teacher very obviously loved what they did, came to work with excitement, love for their students, and was always willing to try new ideas? Maybe you would have liked it more.
Do they have to learn a certain curriculum for a standardized test? Absolutely! Do I get evaluated based on how my students perform on that standardized test? Sure. But if they want to learn they are more likely to perform better and be happier while doing so and in that case, everyone wins.
The change I want to see, is a world with #happyclassrooms yet productive classrooms and it is possible if we lead by example.