I am big on teaching my students how to be risk-takers. I am trying to do a better job of that myself in the classroom! Usually, I am completely willing to try new ideas or learn about new strategies. But often times it's harder for me to put myself out there and share ideas with colleagues. First of all I can't hide the anxiety when it comes to public speaking-even in front of people I know. (I heard the other day that public speaking is the #1 fear of Americans, #2 is death.) Secondly, I always worry too much about what other people will think of what I am sharing. I am the first one to admit that I don't know what I'm doing half the time and I'm sure there are people I work with who have already figured that out for themselves! :)
So this summer I met with my principal with some ideas of how we can better use technology to collaborate and to challenge the kiddos. One of my new pet peeves is the fact that we have an expensive laptop cart, an ipad cart and all it is ever used for is our reading and math programs. So she picked a few of my suggestions and put me on the schedule to present during our pre-service training weeks. The kids are now expected to read independently every day (kind of a combination of regular workstations and Daily 5) and keep reading logs. So I showed them how the students could use blogs or a restricted group on Goodreads to discuss and evaluate what they are reading. I talked about doing listening stations with mp3 players. I showed them how to do digital portfolios and they had an opportunity to play with that a little bit on those laptops. We also discussed doing a book club reading the Book Whisperer and then moving on to fiction and maybe discussing a new book every 6 weeks or so-being the passionate readers we want our kiddos to be! I've wanted to do that for a long time now and I thought with 15 new teachers being added to our staff this year, maybe there would be some interest.
I was actually very proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit. You always wish you had some kind of feedback. No takers for a book club either. But that's ok. I took the risk. And I know my students would be proud of me too! :)