- E-folios. This is a biggie for me. If you read my last entry I reflected on a somewhat failed attempt to record all of my students and start e-folios that would track their performance progress. I am still committed to this goal, but after some reflection and some investigation I think I have a better solution. Students are going to be using Google Drive to create their e-folios. All of our students have gmail accounts through our district, so I think that this will be workable. Our amazing learning center specialist (aka-media center) is going to help me and the students with this by showing the students how to access their accounts, working in Drive and how to share recordings with me. The students first assignment is going to be very simple. They need to pick their favorite song out of their current method book, record it (computer, ipad, phone....) and share it with me. I am anticipating issues such as students who do not have access to these types of technology and they can do this at school during band. But I want a foundation that we can build on. I am hopeful for this goal and I do believe that the rewards of having students record themselves, reflect on their growth as musicians will be worth the bumps in the road that may occur. This will also serve as a large part of the assessment that takes place in my room. I will have solid evidence of whether or not a student is reaching a specific performance learning target or not and from that, we can make adjustments.
- Increase opportunities for students to play outside of band class. I have some stellar musicians in my ensembles and I want to provide them more opportunities to get together and play with their friends. I have some of the best percussionists that I have ever had and I really want to form a percussion ensemble. I have a number of female percussionists and I would love to get them together, mentor each other and form a female percussion ensemble. I have a ridiculous amount of low brass members this year, well, it seems that way to me: 6 tubas and 15 euphoniums?! Hello, Tuba-Euph Christmas! This is already in the planning stages with the other middle school teachers and high school teachers. I have some talented saxophonists who I think would make a great saxophone quartet. Oh, and my 7th grade clarinets who gigged last year. Some of them are already asking about clarinet group this year. I love the fact that the possibilities are endless with groups and that students are eager to participate.
- Focus on the Positive. Many times we get bogged down by the negative stuff going on in our lives and it can really affect how we approach life. I need to remember that I have a pretty awesome job. I get to share my love of learning and my love of music with middle school students. Yes, middle school students. Some of the most emotional, irritable and fun loving kids that I have the ability to connect with five days a week. Yep, days can be rough but in the long run, I would not want to be doing anything different.
Friday, August 30, 2013
Woohooo!!! Another school year is upon us!! I am so excited to meet all my new students and see my 7th and 8th graders. This past week was super intense with workshop and curriculum night butI think I am ready! The room looks great and I have every thing that I need to get through the first few days ready to go. There are a few loose ends, but nothing that will prevent me from getting the year started out right.
Goals are important for us as educators to have. They give us direction and allow us to reflect on our successes and failures as teachers. It is not possible, in my mind, to succeed at every single thing that we do. If we are, then we aren't taking enough risks and trying to improve ourselves as educators. When we set goals for ourselves we are also modeling goal setting for our students-something that is so important. We need tangible goals, just like our students. We need to set a process for how these goals are going to be met and we need to be able to adjust these goals through constant reflection. The journey of the achieving the goal should be just as rewarding as reaching the goal. Through this journey we will be faced with unexpected challenges that may put us back a few steps, but we adjust and carry on. Because this is what we do as teachers. We work through things so that everyone, including ourselves, experiences some sort of success, no matter how big or small.
My personal "work-related" goals for the 2013-2014 year:
With all of these work related goals my personal goals remain the same: focus on being healthy-mind, body and spirit. If those three get out of wack then I am not an effective teacher. I have developed a passion for working out and being fit and I like to use analogies of working out in my classroom. I want to be a role model to my students that being healthy is a good thing.
Additionally, my own musicianship is very important to me. I am fortunate to be able to play in several groups that challenge me as a musician but also remind me of how important music is to me and our society. While I love teaching middle school band, my musical oasis is playing with Encore and Caprice Saxophone Quartet and I use what I learn in those groups with my own students.
Finally, being a good human being. My students are at a very impressionable age. They are constantly being bombarded my social media, good and bad. They are soaking up information at such a fast pace that I'm not sure they have time to process it all. I want to impress upon my students to take a step back, analyze the situation and reflect on the nature of it. Nobody wants to be remembered as a bully or mean and it starts with our students learning from the people that lead them.
So, there it is. Out there for whomever to read. I will check back in with you and let you know how these are going. Have a great year!