Can I be honest for a minute? I hope you're saying yes...because I'm bringing some honesty either way!
I always start the year with loads of goals and intentions to start 100 different "totally amazing" and "super cool" and "most creative" ideas ever. Care to take a guess about how many of those things I actually carry through during the year? If you guessed between one and two, then you're correct.
This year...I want to focus on just ONE thing. One intention. One change .
This year's focus is on adding more digital instruction to my school day.
Now we all know about good goal setting, right? Goals should be SMART.
Here's my plan for making this happen!
Why am I so insistent on getting this whole train rolling anyway? FIRST, my whole school is going 1:1 next year. I am so excited because we will have a SmartBoard, 1:1 Chromebooks and Apple TV. I also own a few iPads of my own to add to the mix. Why would I let this great technology go to waste?
Also, I believe that integrating technology purposefully is the perfect way to boost students' career and college readiness skills. You may not know but I also teach at the local community college. I hate to say it but I feel as though a lot of these students were not prepared to use technology as college-level students. I hope to instill a love of technology for learning in my students and support them in learning HOW to use technology to purposefully.
So what's the big deal? It can be HARD to change the way you do things. And...TIME. Right??
Along with all other things worth doing, it takes WORK to make it happen. Besides modifying my curriculum to be technology-driven, I have to change my routines. My procedures. My current practices in grading, editing, etc. There's so much to think through!
That's why I'm starting with only ONE area. Let's check in on some SMART goals for getting started with using Chromebooks or other technology in your classroom.
If you're anything like me, you're going to try to jump right in and implement technology in all subject areas. I've tried that. I failed. I've now refocused my energy. I will implement my Chromebooks specifically in my independent reading time (or Daily 5). I'm going to rework my current independent work to fit in with technology.
Does your school use a digital reading service (MackinVia)? Ask your librarian if there's a way that students can annotate text in the reader and send it to you via Google Docs or another platform. I found out that we have that capability and my paper/pencil close reads will be decreased. Alternatively, you could use NewsELA for free to work through close reads.
Easy!! Create a template, share it with students, or teach them how to build it themselves. Have students respond and share it to you at the end of the day/week/etc.
Think of how you can use Google Slides to create interactive vocabulary work. Can students add pictures from the internet to define the word? Can they edit colors and manipulate text to demonstrate understanding? What can they do with the words to show that they understand the context?
Writing can be so rich in a digital environment. You can create templates. You can share photos IN COLOR. You can teach digital revising. You can even share text and mark it up together on the screen. Of course, there's always free writes too!
How will I measure my success in achieving this goal? Well...I will set a goal that for the first month, one of my activities is digital. The second month, three of them will be digital. The third month, all 5 of my activities will be digital. The step-by-step increase will help me not feel so overwhelmed. If you picked an activity to implement first, which one would it be? Start there.
Is this achievable? For me, yes. However, it's not for everyone. If you don't feel comfortable creating digital projects yourself, seek out sellers who produce digital products for the classroom. There are some amazing sellers out there who have awesome digital projects. Some of them are linked here for you and you can check out there projects in the link up!
What's realistic for my classroom may not be realistic for you. Maybe the whole Daily 5 block is too much for you. Can you implement something smaller? One read aloud? One read and respond? One math project? Morning quick writes? What makes sense for you?
My time frame here is to be done implementing digital activities in my Daily 5 block by the end of the first trimester. This is going to keep me on track. What would be an appropriate amount of time for you?
So, I hope this helped you figure out ways to think through tackling the technology overwhelm! Do you have plans to integrate more technology next year? I'd love to chat about your plans!