Prospecting For Treasure

Always prospecting for the next treasure of an idea.

Taking Inventory: What’s Next for 2010?

Before we left for winter vacation, our principal asked us to revisit our Individual Career Plan for the year, to determine how we are doing at meeting our goals.  I must say that in most ways I have surpassed anything that I thought I might be doing.  This is because  I never realized that many of the forms of technology that I am currently using even existed.  I am just amazed that I have been able to create wikis, websites, videos, social networking sites, etc.  I never imagined communicating with teachers in other states, countries, and continents.  And it has all been so much fun!

There are still many things that I want to do.  I want to learn more about using Edmodo effectively.  I want to be sure that what I am doing is enhancing student learning, not just entertaining them.  I need to set up some after school activities that will serve as an intervention for my students who are struggling with literacy.  I have in mind using Storybird.com for that. 

There are still many things that I need to learn.  I hear others talking about Google docs and Google wave, and I have yet to explore these areas.  I have just recently begun reading blogs and writing my own.  I would like to expand this and read blogs on a more regular basis.  There are things I don’t quite get, like RSS feeds and abbreviations used by others on Twitter.  Is DH, DS, DD really Dear Husband Darling Son, Darling Daughter?  Is there a blog or website somewhere that provides a key to Twitter lingo?  I would like to understand technology terminology better, so that when I am trying to set up blogs, wikis, etc., I understand the questions they ask me.  Often I don’t understand what I’m getting myself into.

Another door that has been opened to me recently, was attending a seminar on December 8th to hear Dr. Tim Rasinski talk about fluency.  My district has been talking about dividing literacy instruction into four equal components.  We are to spend 25% of our time teaching word study, 25% on fluency, 25% on comprehension, and 25% of our time on writing. While I agree that all four areas are important, I do not agree that they are equal.  By fourth grade, more time needs to be spent on comprehension than on these other areas, because if students are not understanding what they are reading, they are not really reading.  Last year when we were planning professional development for our school, I requested that teacher’s receive more instruction in teaching fluency.  Other than reader’s theater, I did not have many tricks in my bag. Lucky for me, my principal sent some of us to hear Dr. Tim Rasinski.

Not only is Tim Rasinski very entertaining to listen to, but I also found him to be very practical, and he provided us with concrete ideas and materials to utilize.  Walking out of a PD with a place to start, and the enthusiasm to want to begin something new, is what I look for in professional development.  Dr. Rasinski talked about spending 25 to 30 minutes a day on word study (including spelling), 15 to 20 minutes a day on fluency, and 60 minutes a day on comprehension.  This makes sense to me.  The use of poetry, songs, readers theater, word ladders, and other word games are things that my kids will want to do.  I am also excited about teaching children about the meaningful parts of words.  So, along with the new things I am doing with technology, I am also excited to implement these new ideas and make changes in my literacy instruction.

Originally I titled this blog “Discovering Treasure”, to reflect the amazing things I had recently discovered within myself and about my students.   Because of my new introduction to using technology in the classroom this was an unexpected gift.  It had almost happened by accident.  Now it’s time to take these changes in my teaching and in my life to the next level.  It is time to take the initiative and go “Prospecting For Treasure.”

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December 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments