Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Reflections on the year

When I look back on the year, I know that I’ve made progress in using technology in my classroom.  Some of my accomplishments:
  • used my website as a method of communication for both parents and students
  • utilized our classroom cart of Triple Es for writing, not just in publishing, but also planning, drafting, revising, and publishing
  • presented at the Inspired Learning Conference (thank you Suzanne and Maria)
  • became more comfortable using Google Docs

Some of my goals for next year include:

  • set up Google Classroom for use with my students
  • improve my website to become an even better means of communication with both students and parents (add spelling lists, vocabulary words, book discussions?)
  • utilize technology to better differentiate for the learners in my classroom

I love books, the “real” kind.  I love curling up in my easy chair with a favorite book, a just released mystery by my favorite author, Louise Penny.  The roughness of the paper as I turn the pages, the weight of the book, the maps on the inside cover, they all combine into a book reading experience.  Did I mention, that I don’t read books on my iPad?  

I love reading picture books to my students.  We all become enthralled by the stories of Patricia Polacco.  My students sit on the carpet, silent, as they wait to see if the illustrations in the book match the pictures they see in their minds.

So when I noticed that one of the suggestions for a blog post was to read and discuss a piece of digital writing resonated with us, I decided to give it a try.  

I read the digital text, “Snow Fall:  The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” by John Branch and I can’t forget it.  Because it was composed as a digital text, it included animations to show the route of the skiers and how the air bags can provide protection during an avalanche.   But most of all, it helped me understand just what happened and how it could be that three gifted skiers were killed in the avalanche.  The videos of the survivors helped me see these individuals not only as skiers, but also as loved friends and family members.

Reading this text in a digital format actually helped me to “be there,” the opposite of what I was envisioning when I started.  It’s an excellent example of the power of digital texts.