I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, especially those on my PLN! @bsoong on twitter. As we recycle our old calendar and open up a new one, there is an inherent sense of renewal and many thoughts about “New Year’s Resolutions.” Below are my eduResolutions for 2011. I have chosen them because I feel they are worthwhile and most importantly, doable.
- Think Globally, Act Globally (or Locally). For the past ten years, I have been involved with the McNair Europe Trip. There is one trip to Western Europe every second year and it has become an institution. It has been life changing for many and so significant that some families have sent all of their children on the trips over the years! For my evolution as a teacher, I feel it is time to pass on my leadership role to the great team I have been working with and move towards service or human centered travel. That is, to create opportunities for students to take part in Global Service Initiatives such as volunteering in developing countries to build or renovate schools, teach English, or to simply make a difference in the lives of others. As this movement may be quite grand and a competitor to the existing Europe Trip institution and other projects, this may take on the form of Service Initiatives that happen in our own back yard. Currently the McNair Mini School program is poised to donate funds raised to purchase, and serve a meal (to ~400 poeple), at the Salvation Harbour Light Facility in the downtown Vancouver east side. This can be expanded to include the entire school community or an entirely new initiative can be adopted. This type of learning experience isn’t just authentic, it is genuine and life changing. Isn’t that what we want for all our students?
- Shortly after the start of the New Year, a semester change will take place. That means new classes and new opportunities! What I plan to implement with all my new classes is a Lesson Series on Learning. I have done this in the past but I want to work to formalize this in to something authentic and meaningful for my students. In the Sciences, we always start the course with a unit on Science Room Safety. With all the tweets and blog entries I have been privileged enough to read and respond to, I have really started to think about Learning differently and more critically, and I would like my students to do the same for themselves. In my mind, it will have two parts: First will be to distinguish between a knowledge base and what I will call “life skills” (or vertical learning as @joe_bower calls it). Second, the importance and usefulness of each (knowledge base and life skills) to each student.
- Power of Positivity: The Friday 5 (By Chris Wejr). Chris (and staff) take on a very simple process to improve student-parent-staff-school relations by making note of five families to call each week, every Friday, and let them know how their son/daughter made a positive contribution at their school. I have done this many times in the past but with all the other responsibilities, contacting parents about the good that their children are doing often falls by the wayside. So I will start a list that is in a consistent place, for a consistent day (Friday), to spread the positivity. It will also be a shift in my attentiveness to the positives! If you haven’t read this blog entry by Chris Wejr, you can see it at: http://www.connectedprincipals.com/archives/2032
As for my personal New Year’s Resolutions, I will exercise more effectively (like I say every year!) and spend more time with my family.
What are your “eduResolutions“? Leave a comment if you like and thanks for reading!