I plan to try and improve communication between our classroom, parents, and students. I'm not sure whether students or parents read my emails or get our classroom news. At times, they do not respond to the posts on Google Classroom. The silence from that side of the wall has been baffling, frustrating and a big challenge for me.
I just may have found the solution.
The App Remind is an excellent way to overcome this problem. It is a great tool which ensures everyone receives the message instantly on their phones, and it need not be an iPhone or an android!
Last year, being new to Japan, I was unable to take advantage of the resources around me.This country's unique culture and history have much to offer. After reading Ron Berger's "An Ethic of Excellence", and seeing the powerful learning that can take place with the help of the community, I plan to actively learn more about and reach out in order to seek expert help from the community. For example, the students do not have to just learn about famous people and write their biographies . They can seek out local citizens in their community, who have contributed to the society and make them the focus of their studies. Creating information booklets about these unsung heroes and inviting them to school in order to formally recognize them, is a far more powerful way of tackling the unit on role models.
Culture of Critique
...Or assessment for learning. Of course, as a PYP educator, this is our primary focus; yet I realize the enormous scope for improvement. Setting high standards, and encouraging students to persevere and come up with multiple* drafts will require that I give them more time than I normally do. I will NOT rush to cover the curriculum. Being a teacher for prospective MYP students does put a bit of pressure on us.
* Berger refers to one of his students creating over 10 drafts to achieve the set standards. What I liked about his attitude towards formative assessment was the fact that student either achieved the standard or the work was considered NOT DONE.
My students have been keeping a record of their learning journey in portfolios. Next year, our school will encourage students to create E-portfolios; however, I still intend to keep a binder and will encourage the students to use it more often than once a week. Just like college graduates who create job portfolios, I am excited at the prospect of reinventing, re-energizing this area of assessment. Our portfolios next year will be a living, breathing testimony to the hard work we put in as a community of learners.
Based on how much my students relished and enjoyed meditating every morning, (even the reluctant, fidgety ones sought it out in the end), I intend to start our day by switching on the diffuser (I have a choice of bergamot, rosemary, and lemongrass and cinnamon aroma oils), draw the blinds, bathe the classroom in the mellow light of a few lampshades and meditate for 10 minutes... every single day for the rest of the year. If nothing achieved by this, we will have at least set a routine and created a signature classroom culture. Unless , of course ,anyone else wants to emulate!
These are my goals for next year.
What are yours?