Monday, July 16, 2018

My Goals for This Upcoming School Year

I feel like if you put your goals down in writing not only does it help you articulate them, but also helps keep you accountable for accomplishing them. :) So that's what I'm going to do this morning.

I started at a new school this past year. It was a crazy year to begin with because we started 2 weeks late because of Hurricane Harvey. Many of our students' homes were affected by the storm so we relaxed a lot of policies last year including the policy about wearing uniforms.

Starting at a new school is interesting. There's a new dynamic you have to learn. I have always worked in Title 1 schools, but over 90% of my current students come from homes suffering from poverty. The students will often come in crying because mom had to go to jail or dad lost his job. These little ones simply do not have access to the same resources that students in schools in other parts of the city have. I was not expecting that. I haven't had to start with teaching the letter A in a long time. Usually kids come into Kinder already knowing at least some of their letters-either they learn them in Pre-K or their families have taught them those skills. I had to adjust my plans constantly based on what they needed.

My Goals:

1) I am going to be better at teaching reading this year. I look at my student data and I am not happy with the lack of progress made. Now I know we made progress-but I didn't even come close to reaching the district goals and I know that is because I wasn't prepared to start at square one. I am prepared for that now.

2) Makerspaces-we were lucky enough to win a grant and received $3,000 in makerspace materials. Our plan is for all the Kinder teachers to take the last 2 hours on Friday afternoon and have a rotation of classes where the kiddos can just "make". We also have a 5th Grade class who may do some cooperative learning with us. I'm excited to see if this makes a difference in their creativity.

3) ESL Collaboration. Last year one of our bilingual teachers had to escape her room because there was a little critter trying to join their whole group instruction. She brought her class to my room while waiting for the custodian and we were in the middle of workstations. Her kiddos just jumped in and did the activities with my students. We decided this year we would make this a weekly thing. ESL practice for her students, cooperative learning practice for mine.

4)  Podcasts-I have no idea how I'm going to do it logistically but I really want to have my students make podcasts. Maybe talking about what they are learning, maybe reviewing their favorite books-I still have a lot to work out but that is a goal this year.

5)  Organization-this is always a goal for me and not something that comes easily. I facilitate for 3 different book clubs after school and I just feel like I never have time to just get organized. I can find what I'm looking for 90% of the time, but my room just doesn't look like it.

6) Photography Club-again, not sure how I'm going to logistically do this. My plan is to learn about famous photographers and then things like light and shadow. Then I can give them assignments to take photos and see what they can come up with. Not sure how that's going to work with the cameras. I think it will be too expensive to do disposable cameras and pay for that processing for all of them. I have a digital camera that I don't use very often (phone is just easier to use) so maybe they can check that out-but that's a big loss if they don't return it. But I'll figure it out-I'm excited to see what they can do!

7) ESL Club-our bilingual students have difficulty transitioning to English. They just haven't had the experiences with vocabulary to make things easy to understand. I want to do an after school club where we can play games like Pictionary and Life and just talk--all in English. I think sometimes it's just a matter of building their confidence in the language and hopefully we can work to do that more.

What are some goals you have for this upcoming school year?

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