Friday, January 4, 2013

Top 12 Reflections on 2012 - conclusion

And in conclusion... my final 5 of 12 reflections on 2012, some personal, some professional, all combining to make me, well, me!

Write a 2012 year in review about what you've done, where you've been, and the joys of the year. Take time to remember. +Vicki Davis 

8.  Education + Technology = #EdTech: When I decided to become a teacher, my vision was to use what I had learned "in the real world" to help me be a better teacher.  I have worked hard, and spent a lot of my own time and money, to find meaningful ways to bring technology into the classroom to provide my students with authentic learning experiences.  When I had to leave SUSD, I was afraid I'd have to start from zero to re-establish myself as a technology leader with my new district. At my age, (really at any age) starting from zero seems like a grand waste of time.  One of my favorite expressions is that I'd rather ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.  As a manager, I respected the initiative that showed. As a teacher I appreciate the perceived independence, even though I know it can sometimes frustrate my principals.  So, I just did what I do and kept my principal informed.  Through programs like CreaTV and the iPad Academy, I have been able to flex my tech muscles while providing our students with unique learning opportunities. I have also been in a position to help develop other teachers as they learn how to use technology to become more efficient and effective educators. In January, +sheila monger  and I were honored with a Good Apple Award by our school board and recognized for our contribution in the area of educational technology.  I am very proud of the work we have done to help teachers and students use technology in meaningful ways.

9. Walking Compassion: 2012 marked the 11th year of my involvement in endurance fundraising walks to help raise awareness and money to fight breast cancer.  My cousin Sue did the first 3-Day from SJ to SF in 2000. My mother-in-law was battling breast cancer, so in 2001 I decided to do the 3 day.  In May of that year, Alice McConnell lost her battle, but I've kept fighting for her. Since I started walking, my friends, teammates and I have raised well over $50,000 to help fund mammograms, education and research.  Of course, you'll know where to find me September 28-28!  Walk on!

10.  In October of this year I applied to and was accepted into another academy at our district. Cambrian and others use the academy model as a choice method for professional development (see page 32).  This time it is the Digital Media Academy.  I saw this as a great opportunity to merge my work with CreaTV and classroom learning using digital media.  Our students have started out by producing short PSAs  addressing personal concerns such as playground safety, littering, and bullying.  We have been able to use student created content on our monthly television show on CreaTV, Comcast channel 28,  Around Bagby.  Our students are becoming better planners, writers, problem solvers, communicators and collaborators.

11. Friends: I can't name every moment that a friend was there when I needed them this year or I'd use up the internet :^)  My family of choice, those I am related to by blood and those I choose to have in my life, truly do complete me. This year I was fortunate enough to have many opportunities to be with people I love. I walked and golfed and even had a golf-a-pallooza clinic in April. I was overwhelmed by the support I received during my surgery and recuperation, especially from two of my best friends, Linda and my husband, Jim. We shared happy times, including the birth of my newest nephew and cheering on the Giants and we cried together in sad times, saying goodbye to loved ones who died suddenly.  My friendships mean so much to me and none more than the strong bond with my girls.  Kathy, Mary, Linda and I have been friends together since Junior High.  We have seen each other though children and deaths and marriages and divorces and everything in between.  No year would be complete without Girls' Christmas, celebrated in Monterey this year. I am so grateful and blessed!

12. Assessment. As I started this year end review with iPads, I'm ending with them.  While initially I used the iPads for student engagement and learning, I also used student work on the iPads for informal assessment.  However, I wanted to learn more (and still do) about ways I can use the devices to effectively assess student learning.  In August, with the help of +Jill Florant  at Edmodo, I started using Edmodo not only to communicate with my parents and students but also to assess their learning. I started using assessments and quizzes. Parents are able to see their child's progress and it really has improved the home-school connection.  In addition to Edmodo, I also started using Class Dojo for behavior management.  The kids love their avatars and work hard for positive behavior reports.  This fall I used adopt-a-classroom to generate crowd-funding for SpellingCity and our collaborative weather project.  SpellingCity helps administer spelling practice activities and tests, grades the tests and provides useful reports to me and the parents.  In 2013 I plan to further investigate and utilize methods for assessing student learning and engagement on iPads.

So, with number 12, I will put 2012 behind me.  The advice to sit and reflect was good. Now I realize why I am so tired!  It was a great year, but one with lots of pain and sadness, too.  

I don't make resolutions, once you break them - it's like a pass to be bad the rest of the year. Instead, I set goals which I work on throughout the year.  This year's goals? Enjoy life deeper, sweeter, healthier, happier, with gratitude. Specifically:

  1. Live a Healthier life with balance - Spend more quality time with family

  2. Research and implement ways to measure effectiveness of edtech in my classroom

  3. Use and inspire positive language, outlook - in my classroom and my life

  4. Declutter - mentally and physically

  5. Utilize Effective & efficient assessment and demonstration of learning on iPads
Happy New Year!

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