Here We Go! Version 2016

The first day of this school year with 27 fresh-faced grade 4s was great. Clean slate.  New beginnings.  Excitement!  I am hopeful that all of my big plans for this year come to fruition.  These kids deserve “challenging”, “out of the box”, “real-world”, and of course “fun”.  I think that I am in a unique role where I get to take them to new places and open a few doors.  What a gift, right?  Even with the odd technical glitch ; )

I consider myself a co-learner.  That means that I’m also learning with the students. Students and I go along for the ride together – fearlessly trying new things and learning from our mistakes.  We share our successes!  This also means that I’m doing something new, too.  And I am.

I have my first classroom twitter followers!  I’ve never used Twitter as a way to communicate with parents but I’m really intrigued in inviting families into our classroom in an ongoing way.  Daily photos of fantastic work.  Success criteria.  Tips.  Reminders.  Dialogue.   I’m already a fan.

A classroom Instagram account is also something new for me.  I’m starting a little project this year.  It involves bringing students to the curriculum (instead of just bringing curriculum to the students in the classroom).  This means weekly field trips, finding curriculum in the community and capturing it.  21st century education technology then lets us dissect, debate and annotate our learning back in the classroom. Bring the world into room 205.  Big idea – but one I’m really excited about.  Our Instagram account, entitled, community_through_our_eyes, will become a photo-essay documenting our journey in our community-based learning.  All subject areas can be found in the real world.  I want to make this learning meaningful!

What else might be new, as I co-learn?  Well – in a 21st century classroom, student interests and questions help us guide our learning.  I guess this means that there are always fascinating tangents that pop up that simply must be explored.  New technologies become introduced, students learn to ask quality questions that matter, and we all take time to reflect and connect our learning.

My new mantra for this year’s class?

                              EXPLORE – CREATE – DIGITIZE – REFLECT & CONNECT  

Now, I like to keep things fresh, but there is one piece of last year that I simply will not let go of.  It is last year’s quote of the year (from my favourite novel, “Wonder”).  It reads:

          When given the choice of being kind or being right, choose kind.  

It’s perfect.  It addresses all the goodness that can be captured in a room full of young minds trying to do their best.  If we continue to choose kind, everyone wins.

193 days to go.  Just wait to see what these kids can do.