Monday, August 22, 2011

5 Goals for the New School Year

Students are what it's all about!  Connecting with them, motivating them, helping them learn and hopefully having a positive influence on them in the process.  This is not an easy job.  School starts for me in just a few days, and I find myself asking what I can do better this year.  Here are a few of the goals I have for myself.
  1. Be a model of self-control and patience.  Of course this has always been a goal of mine, but this year I want to focus on doing an even better job in this area specifically :).
  2. Find concrete ways to communicate my care.  I'm thinking of sending a personal note to each of my French I students in the mail, welcoming them to class and letting them know that I'm happy to have them as students. 
  3. Find creative ways to use new technology that will enhance students' learning.  This will be a challenge as all of my students will have the iPad2 this year for the first time.  I will need to resist the urge to try and make the technology fit the learning rather than the other way around.
  4. Organize a French immersion day.  I just attended a workshop on how to do this.  The goal of this event is to increase enrollment in your high school French program.
  5.  Try "flipping" my classroom.  I've learned a lot about this concept from my colleague, John.  He has suggested that teachers begin by trying to "flip" lessons that lend themselves to the concept.  I'm going to begin by having French I complete vocabulary lists at home for homework (rather than during class), which will allow more class time to practice speaking.  I'll see how it goes!

The above photo shows two of my former students who met up in the French city that I lived and studied in.  It's a concrete reminder to me that I have had at least some influence on their lives, as I'm pretty sure they would never have visited this city if they hadn't heard about it from me.  Here's wishing all of you teachers out there a wonderful year!  Teaching is an important job, and you CAN make a difference.  

Have a wonderful year. 

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    iMovie with iPad!

    I'm in the middle of planning a trip to France & Spain for the world language students at my high school!  When school starts again in a few weeks, I want to promote the trip as widely as I can because the registration for the trip will close in September.  Since I only announced the possibility of the trip on the last day of school in June, I really need to advertise as much as possible!  So I decided to make this video.  We took this exact same trip a few years ago, so I used photos from that trip.  This movie was made on my iPad with iMovie, and with photos video clips at all.  It was easy to make!  Really!  Here are the results:

    The video will be shown on the first day of school to the whole student body. 

    I also decided that it would help me spread the news if I created a QR code (Quick Response code) of this video and put it up around the hallways.  If you aren't familiar with QR codes, they're sort of like bar codes that can be scanned with a smart phone or an iPad.  Once scanned, you are automatically taken to another website, or in this case, to my video!  I'm hoping that parents and students will scan the code while walking the halls.  Hopefully this will generate even more interest in the incredible trip that we have planned!

    iPad, iMovie & QR codes.  All three are helping me advertise my trip! :)


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