Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Look Back: GAME-ing

Using a GAME plan for my professional growth has caused me to be more reflective about how I work with teachers and to review my progress in getting to goals I have set. It engaged me in making a concrete plan about areas of growth, required me to review what I am doing to complete the plan and when monitoring, showed me where my plan needed to be adjusted so it is realistic and attainable.  The major objective I included in my plan was to support teachers in understanding and implementing project based learning. Since I wrote my plan, I have co-facilitated a two hour professional development session introducing the concept of project based learning with an hour follow-up with three groups of teachers, elementary, middle school and high school. The major change to the way I will instruct teachers about PBL is that I will provide many more resources that are diverse in content, format and length to teachers and I will slow the whole process down from my original conception. 

When developing the PD session I realized again how complex this subject is. Realizing that teachers will need time to grasp the depth of the content, as well as have time to practice each part of the development of a unit of their own has caused me to adjust how I will present information and the pace I will use to move from lesson to lesson. One adjustment I have made in using technology while working with teachers is to use more of it so that I can model the use of the technology we have in classrooms. Teachers can then learn how it is used in lessons, and not just learn the functions of the hardware and software. We have had this available for a number or years, but teachers have not embraced using it. I believe partly because though they received workshops about how to use the hardware and software, they never saw it used, not were given examples of it being used to actually teach students.

An additional change in my teaching will be to include more ongoing monitoring. Not every assessment has to be written, nor even scored. Assessing students’ understanding of a topic while it is being presented is the most efficient and effective way to alter instruction to meet student needs. I have become more adept at writing rubrics which guide my teaching and student learning. Using social networking sites such as Edmodo has become a way to share information with students and for them to turn in assignments. Using less paper and more electrons makes my life easier and moves my teaching to align more with what students do outside of school.

I will continue to use my GAME plan, and will continue to monitor, adjust and evaluate my progress.