Over at BYOD,ASAP, Heather posted #10GoodThings. She has an amazing list of great things that she accomplished in 2014. Be sure to check it out!
So, in the spirit of trying to keep up with the "Theijsmeijer", here goes my attempt (in no particular order other than it is the order that I think of them).
#1. In 2014, every student in my class sewed a quilt and entered it in a national contest, the Canadian Quilter Youth Quilt Challenge. Best of all, the class then collaborated on an article that was published in the Canadian Quilter magazine. The excitement on their faces when the magazines arrived at our school was amazing. I have to say it was probably the most rewarding moment of my career when every student realized that they could now call themselves a published author.
#2. I was awarded the Rainbow District School Board's Teacher of the Year Award. To be honest, I was very uncomfortable about the whole situation, but there were several awards for our little school last year, so the recognition for Assiginack Public School was great.
#3. I delved into the world of the virtual learning environment, and became comfortable with the D2L platform. I now have learned to create widgets, embed padlets and Instagrams, and it has become an important tool to use with my students.
#4. Some educators, for whom I have a lot of respect, convinced me to take the Principal's Qualification Course. I have now completed Part 1 and I am waiting for the PQP Part II to run close enough to home that I can manage the driving. I'm not sure that administration is the dream at this point, but I love the learning. My practicum involves spreading the message of effective technology usage in schools, and I am working with students, teachers and the community to develop 21st century skills in our students.
#5. My class last year was chosen as the Runner's Up for the Hudson's Bay Company Name the Canoe contest. We were all jumping up and down in our portable so much that the whole room was shaking!.
#6. In 2014 I had the opportunity to work with an incredible principal and educator, Margaret Stringer, who encouraged me, inspired me, and gave me confidence in my skills as a teacher. She retired at the end of 2014, and will be greatly missed. However, I continue to move forward with the classroom design project that she helped me begin. Her legacy of making things beautiful will continue on.
#7. I attended my first Manitoulin IGNITEd session. It was on Robotics and I was hooked. Santa even brought my own two children a Lego Mindstorm. Together, our family is enjoying the world of robotics and programming.
#8. Last year I had a small class of 18 grade 5/6 students. I was able to share my love of sewing with them, and taught them to use sewing machines and hand stitching to create. The students who took to it the most were a big surprise, and a few of the boys sewed their mothers beautiful fabric bags for Mother's Day. I want to continue with creating and in future hope to create a Maker Space within my classroom or maybe even the school. Maybe that will make next year's #10GoodThings list.
#9. Winning the little battles. There have been moments of crisis, when students and parents have pushed back.The litany of "we want you to tell us the answer", and "why don't you just teach us - we don't want to find out on our own" and "technology is a lot of work" has been tough to take at times. It has gotten me down. But, there have been small victories. By the end of 2014, my students began to ask to use tech tools. Learning through technology has become the norm in my classroom. I think we are going to make it.
#10. My family. My husband is a principal for the Wikwemikong Board of Education, and we get to talk geeky teacherness as much as we want. He helps me through my moments of doubt. My two children, Brooke and Dane, are students at my school and I get to see them grow and learn 24/7. My sister-in-law teaches down the hall from me, and 4 of my nieces and nephews attend my school. And, at family holidays, we all get together along with my sister, my brother-in-law, my other sister-in-law, AND my mother, and we get to share the triumphs and the tribulations of life as educators. It is so great to be able to have an entire family, and extended family, that GETS IT.
Wow. Looking back, 2014 was an incredible year. I hope that 2015 can live up to all THAT.