Well the school year is off to a great start! It’s hard to believe that we have mid-trimester progress reports coming up here at PRIS. Where does the time go? Even though it’s my second year teaching at the same school and in the same position (I’ve changed either positions or schools each year for the past 6 years) I still feel busier than I did at the beginning of last year. I think it’s because I’m trying to bring so much more to what I do each day. I guess in essence I’m trying to add value to what I do in the classroom.
I’ve often struggled with the need to justify or quantifying how exactly something I do in the classroom affects my students in a positive way. Or in other words, where is the evidence that what I am doing is actually making a difference. One way that I have found to measure this is through media such as pictures, video and other media tools. Both media created by me as well as my students.
One thing I’ve found is that when you involve students in the creation of a media projects it creates a rich learning experience that enhances student ownership and topic retention.
One thing I have read recently that really struck a cord was this quote from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education website and more specifically an article entitled “Visual Literacy and the Classroom“.The quote is as follows: “one could say that its fundamental purpose is to ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public, community, and economic life.” (1996) I feel this quote sums up what we need to have in mind when we are creating projects for students.
What this comes down to is what I feel is summed up by this blog post from the Inspired Classroom: “Importance of the Creative process”
While not all you bring has to involve the students in hands on activities it should in some way add value to what they are working on. Once such resource that I feel could add value in this way would be the recently launched YouTube for teachers.
I also think that Social Media can play a huge role in our classrooms such as outlined in this article entitled: “How Social Media can Enhance Schools as Professional Learning Communities”
Much of what we are doing comes down to our students needing to be visually literate. This is exactly what Brian Kennedy says in his TEDx talk
These are all things I think about when I look at what I’m doing in the classroom and how I can add value.