June 10 – 2: “Mrs. H, with all due respect next year can you not talk as much so we can get books”

My students had their last library visit to check out books about a month ago, and on that visit I gave them all a survey about what they liked and didn’t like about the library this year. I’ve been slowly working my way through them (and recording data about my students’ responses in a totally nerdy spreadsheet).

I’ve been really impressed with their responses so far – most of them seem to have taken it seriously, even my 8th graders whose lives it won’t affect directly. And some of them have had really good ideas and suggestions, or really insightful comments. The most common statement, though, is that I talk too much. And it’s not just from my students who want all of their teachers to shut up and just give them time to socialize all day long. A sizeable number of responses look something like this:

Q1: I like it when Mrs. H…

A1: “does small lessons to give extra info”

Q2: It drives me crazy when Mrs. H…

A2: “talks too long”

Or like this:

Q1: I like it when Mrs. H…

A1: “tells us about good books”

Q2: It drives me crazy when Mrs. H…

A2: “takes forever to talk and we don’t have enough time to find books”

So I’m scheming up new plans for next year – ways to figure out how to communicate my rules, expectations, and lesson info to the students without talking so much. Maybe more Prezi videos. Maybe having students do some of the talking for me. Maybe skipping some of my usual reminders if the class has met certain expectations.

Even though these surveys aren’t always positive, I’m really enjoying reading through them. I can’t wait for next year, when I get to start trying out some of my new ideas. Well, I can wait – I do want my summer, after all – but I am super excited about trying new things next year. This is one of my favorite things about being a teacher: every year, you have a chance to start fresh and to change things up as much as you want, a chance to try out new ideas and see if maybe they work better. And every year, some of the things I try are great, and others are a bust, but I get to keep learning and growing, which I love.

May 27 – 2: WordPress

I am one of those people who has always loved to learn. And I’m really excited to learn how to use WordPress. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try since I took a class on using technology in the classroom when I was in grad school. In that class, we set up blogs using Blogger, but we were also briefly introduced to WordPress, and I could see that it was a much stronger tool.

It’s going to be a bit of an adventure, and probably a slow process. I like to jump in to ideas, but I’m not always that dedicated to putting the time and energy into following through on them. Eventually, I’d like to design my own WordPress theme that suits this blog and my style. But it make take a while for me to get there.

Right now, I’ve got two priorities with this blog. The first is to make it a routine to post a list of three good things every day. Some days (like today), I may write several paragraphs about each thing. Some days they may just be links with a brief description. But I’m going to try really hard to post them every day.

Learning WordPress is the second priority. I am really looking forward to it – which is why it’s one of my things for today – but realistically, it’s going to take me a while to get it figured out. So, for anyone who may be reading this from the beginning, be patient with me! I swear I have plans to make this site prettier and more functional and to eventually get my own domain! But it may take me a while to get it actually developed all the way and ready to roll out, and I wanted to start blogging now. So stick with me – it will only get better! Really!