Back in June I was tagged by Jen Wagner to participate in the Professional Development Meme. The challenge was to set three professional development goals and commit to them this summer. The deadline to complete it was September 1st. Let’s see how I did…
GOAL #1: Learn how to work with SQL Queries.
Did pretty well with this one. Our Angel Learning Management System is built on SQL tables and being able to search them and manipulate data directly has been a tremendous time saver as I had to create new courses and enroll students for the new school year. Ryan Sweany from Angel Tech Support was quite helpful with this (and patient with me) as I learned how to pull data from tables, update fields, and batch import class & user data. I now know enough to get myself into all sorts of trouble.
GOAL #2: Take one new idea from both NECC and the Discovery National Institute and make a plan to implement it sometime this school year.
I think I’ve got this one covered as well. At NECC I learned about using Webkins as virtual class pets and already have our three first grades giving it a try. From Hall Davidson I learned about the power of cell phones and shared some ideas with our teachers. I planned to set up and embed my own GCast podcast on my site – one that I could update from my cell phone, but one of my teachers actually beat me to it. Way to go Yvette!
There were so many good ideas shared at the Discovery National Institute. One that I started using right away – and the reason I haven’t been blogging as much – is Plurk! Plurk is like Twitter on steroids. It displays all messages on timeline and keeps responses to each message together so its much easier to follow a particular thread. Individual message threads can be bookmarked for future reference. I’ve already participated in some great discussions and picked up numerous great ideas and resources.
GOAL #3: Keep a positive attitude and “Do everything without grumbling or complaining.” (Philippians 2:14)
This has been difficult. You know how they say “Never pray for patience because if you do, God will put you in situations that force you to be patient”? Well, this goal seems to have opened the door to all sorts of situations that are just ripe for grumbling and complaining. As I write this, we are still waiting for our tablet PC’s to arrive. They are now more than a month late. Our plans for starting the year with 1:1 in 6th grade have been scribbled out and re-written each week as we receive yet another reason for the delay. Currently our tablets are only 36 miles away, but are stuck in some warehouse waiting to clear US Customs.
Originally, our plan was to have students and parents meet in small groups for a tablet orientation where they would go over tablet basics, acceptable use, and care & maintenance. They were also to receive an “About Me” digital story project that would be shared on the first day of school. Seemed like a great plan.
As it turns out, the tablet delay has been a bit of a blessing in disguise. Sixth grade is a big change for these kids and there’s a lot of anxiety at the start of middle school. A new building, new teachers, new procedures, finding where classes are, learning how to open their locker are just a few stresses these kids deal with at the start of the year. Starting the year with new tablets would have added even more anxiety. We’re learning that it may be a better idea to start the year without tablets and get them used to the routine first. So I’ve got nothing to complain about, right?
Like I said, it’s been difficult.