Time to Reflect and Look Ahead

As the school year is quickly winding down, I find myself reflecting on the past year and also thinking ahead to next year at the same time.  I had a great year with my 5th graders, but I am always thinking of ways I want to improve for next school year.  Many ideas run through my head as I start thinking about my goals for the upcoming class.  Quite a few of my goals tie to using technology in my classroom.  I will outline a few  goals and hope to revisit them over the summer as they develop.

1.  Blogging.  I really want to get my kids blogging next year.  I started using the Discussion Boards on our class webpage and that was quite a hit.  I want my students to have a place to write down their thoughts and reflect on school and life.  It is a great way to get to know my students and also practice their writing!  Through some help from Twitter friends, I think I will host my students’ blogs at kidblogs.org.  It looks like a safe, kid-friendly site (very important for elementary students).  I am still on the lookout for a parent permission form to inform parents and get their consent for the year-long project.

2.  Typing.  Okay, this has been a back-burner goal for 2 years.  My next batch of students WILL learn to type more efficiently.  I am envisioning students typing out reports and projects with ease (it is a beautiful vision, I tell you).  This is becoming more of a necessity – the 5th grade writing SOL will be going to an online format in the next few years.  I am imagining this being a big problem for LOTS of students (especially schools without as much access to technology).  I could write a whole other post on that though…

3.  Interactive Whiteboard.  Our school just got outfitted with interactive whiteboards (IWB).  I’ve had mine for a few weeks and have used it quite a bit with the students for SOL review.  I am looking forward to incorporating it in regular instruction next year and looking more at the resources at Promethean Planet .  I heard an AWESOME quote about IWBs that was something to the effect of: “If your students are not the main ones using the IWB, then you aren’t using it correctly.”  If I remembered the Twitter user that said that, I would definitely quote you!  But thank you for that powerful statement.  The IWB should be used mostly by the students to make it true to its name “interactive” whiteboard.

4.  Using more SchoolFusion tools.  Many SchoolFusion tools were rolled out this year – discussion boards, wikis, podcasts.  I used the discussion boards (especially during the long blizzard break) and tried out a wiki.  I want to explore more ways to use this resource to get kids thinking outside of the school walls.  Lots of neat opportunities for learning!

5.  Skype.  I want to connect my students with another class in the world by using Skype.  Not sure what to Skype about yet, but a fun goal nonetheless.  It is a free, easy-to-use tool that has the ability to open our students’ eyes to what the world has to offer out there!

Well, those are just 5 of my technology goals.  I have quite a few more swirling around in my head, but I think this is a good start to ruminate on more in-depth.  Thank goodness we have summer break to think over how to make the next school year even better!

What goals do you have for next year?  Any suggestions on my initial ideas?  Any input is greatly appreciated!