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My New (School)
Years Resolutions


We asked the Education World Tech and Teacher Teams: What are your New (School) Year's resolutions for 2010-2011 -- professionally speaking? What will you do this year to become a better employee... colleague... educator... supervisor... mentor...? This is what they said

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"My goal for the coming year," said Grade 4 teacher Mary Kreul, "is to build more student choice into the school day -- choice of books to read, themes to write about, ways to demonstrate learning, and topics to study. The challenge for me will be in integrating the grade level curriculum goals into those more student-centered activities."

"Re-reading Carol Dweck's book Mindset reminds me that I need to maintain a growth -- not fixed -- mindset myself, and encourage a growth mindsets in others," said media and technology director Doug Johnson. "One's native intelligence isnt nearly as important as the willingness to learn, experiment, and grow from failure. Mindfulness about that is my new year's resolution."

"My new year's resolution," English teacher Shelly Whitman told Education World, "is to make sure I plan well in advance; that always makes me feel better about each day, and cuts down on work-related stress. Also, I would really like to try and meet with my mentees more, and allow them to observe my classroom more often -- opening up communication so they know they can rely on me to be there."

"This year, my resolution is to work to keep our middle school cohesive," math and social studies teacher Cossondra George vowed. "Due to declining enrollment, many staff cuts have been made in my district, leaving the middle school disjointed. I want to make it a place where students feel confident and comfortable during those crucial middle level years."

"I work with all grades in K-5," said tech integration specialist Janice Friesen, "and in the past, Ive struggled with the fact that there are just so many teachers, so much curriculum, and so much. technology thats constantly changing. Ive tried to put out lots of new ideas, but I think teachers feel so overwhelmed that those ideas dont help them as much as make them feel guilty. Im going to work at taking small steps, and focusing on one new idea for each grade level. Ill consider the year successful if I help teachers at each grade level try one thing thats new to them."

"My goal," said middle school teacher Amy Davis, "is to upgrade my record keeping strategies and reduce the amount of paper/assignment overflow on my desk!"

Great minds, it appears, think alike, because according to tech integration specialist Steve Katz, his "big goal for the year is to have a paperless classroom."

Technology instructor Shawn McGirr, on the other hand, is completely focused on the technology. "One of the things I want to do this next year is integrate into my classes more technology to provide students better feedback on assessments," McGirr told Education World. "I plan on using the CPS Pulse pads to check what kids know along the way, as well as what they know at the end of the unit. The software also will let me compose a question while I'm teaching the lesson, if I see the class is struggling.

"I also want to use Glogster better this year. I gave it a spin second semester last year with mixed results. I see the potential for the tool, but as with the first time for many things, I need to refine how I use it with students.

"Besides the CPS Pulse pads," McGirr added, "I'm going to try a document camera this year. I can take student examples and slide them under the camera, and I can point the camera at myself or a student and record the video for later use or for the student's project use. I think its a tool that can add immediacy and relevance."

"My answer to this question," said education consultant Nik Peachey, "is that Id like to try to do a little less, but do it a little better. More focus on quality over quantity."

Finally, tech resource teacher Midge Liggans resolution is one we should all probably consider. Liggan told Education World, "Ive decided that in order to be a better colleague, educator, and mentor this school year, I need to make more time for myself. I want to delve into some topics and tasks of personal interest that are not necessarily related to school curriculum or the many presentations I am asked to do. Thus, I enrich my spirit, which will carry over into all my school relationships."

Who Are They?

The Education World Tech Team includes more than 30 dedicated and knowledgeable educational-technology professionals who have volunteered to contribute to occasional articles that draw on their varied expertise and experience. The following Tech Team members contributed to this article:
* Amy Davis, middle-school teacher, Howard Gardner School for Discovery, Scranton, Pennsylvania
* Janice Friesen, technology instructional partner, Barton Creek Elementary School, Eanes ISD, Austin, Texas
* Cossondra George, grade 7 math and social studies teacher, Newberry Middle School, Newberry, Michigan
* Doug Johnson, director of media and technology, Mankato Area Public Schools, Mankato Minnesota
* Steve Katz, technology integration specialist, Korea International School, South Korea
* Mary Kreul, grade 4 teacher, Richards Elementary School, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
* Midge Liggan, instructional technology resource teacher, John Marshall High School, Richmond, Virginia
* Shawn McGirr, technology instructor, J.O. Strong Middle School, Melvindale, Michigan
* Nik Peachey, freelance learning technology consultant, writer, teacher trainer, based in Morocco
* Shelly Whitman, grade 8 English teacher, Fremont Middle School, Fremont, Nebraska

Article by Linda Starr
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