Monday, September 14, 2015

My perfect PLC!

#Flipclass chat tonight is about PLC's. The #flashblog assignment is to write about our perfect PLC.  I am stuck. I really don't know what I would want in my perfect PLC. I want to compare it to my #flipclass PLN, or my #flipcon15 voxer group, or possibly my newly found #paedchat group.  Is that fair to do so?

I know that I want it to be a community that fosters risk taking, that encourages each other to think outside the box, to not be afraid to challenge one's thinking, and to have a number one goal of "What is best for the students!" I want it to meet when we are all not-exhausted, and in a comfortable area to work. My ideal PLC probably would happen after school hours, at someone's house or a small cafe, with a coffee or an adult beverage in hand. If not in the same physical space, then maybe in a google hangout or through google or twitter chats. I want it to meet without the requirement of meeting, for the good of the student and teacher. I want it to be cross curricular and cross grade levels. I don't want it to have rules, or mandatory topics. I want to feel connected to the people in the PLC. I want it to be more than one person.

I guess I do know what I want in my ideal PLC.  Is my ideal PLC possible? How can I make it happen?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

I wish my teacher knew...

I finally got to sit down and spend some time reading the "I wish my teacher knew.." responses I had my students complete on the first day.  Some of the posts made me smile, cheer, laugh out loud, and proud to be the students teacher, while others made me sad, angry, and more determined to help my students.  

The very first one I read justified to me why building community and relationships is so key, and why it must start on the FIRST day of school. This students wrote:

Other things I learned about my students:

  • One student's parents divorced this summer forcing her to move in with her brother. She still is unpacked.
  • One student moved here from Illinois this summer and is quiet.
  • One student's dad had a stroke 3 years ago, and still is wheel chair bound.
  • Many of my students are involved in some type of activity after school. Some say they may be tired in class, while others admit that time management is going to be important, with some hopeful that being in a flipped class will help with it all.
  • Some of my students have much younger siblings that add responsibilities to their after school schedules.
  • One of my students only gets to see his dad for 9 hours every other weekend.
  • One student was bullied and picked on in elementary and middle school, and is hoping that things will be different in high school. She is hoping for a fresh start.
  • Some students love math, and others take it because it is necessary.
  • Some students love working with others, while others would rather work alone.
  • One student writes that he wishes his teachers knew that encouragement goes a long way.
  • I have quite a few tennis players and track and field participants.
  • I have some students that love to travel and be adventurous, while I also have a few that would rather stay at home and not travel.
  • One of my students is a farmer, and wanted me to know that his free time is spent with his animals.
  • That I have taught quite a few of my students' siblings.
  • Some of my students are afraid of failure.
  • Many are excited to be in a flipped classroom, and are really excited to learn math this year.
This is the first year I did such an activity, and I will definitely do it again. I may even have them write another at semester break to see if there are new things I need to know.  

I promise my students that:

  • I won't let ANYONE in my presence bully, tease, or pick on another student.
  • I will encourage each and every one of them to do their best, and to take risks. Failures may happen, but failure always leads to learning.
  • I will always listen, give a hug, cry (or laugh) with them, give them a high five, and to celebrate along the way.
  • I will help them fit in, and to find activities that may be of interest to them.
  • I will never let a student be left out that wants to be included. 
  • I will ALWAYS care!
This is going to be an awesome school year! I already love my students.