I used to teach grade two before moving into my current position as a literacy support teacher. One of the biggest struggles I faced when I began teaching internationally was that the standards my school were using were all over the place. Different grade levels were using different standards, multiple grade levels were teaching very similar units- in short, there was very little to no vertical alignment. As a result, I found myself sticking to what I knew. and I KNOW the Virginia Standards of Learning. Having taught grade 3 (a huge state testing grade) for several years in Virginia before teaching internationally, I became quite comfortable with these standards and used them for the first few years at my international school to fill in the gaps when necessary. This unit focuses on ancient Greece and its many contributions to the Western world today. Once the students study ancient Greece, they move on to ancient Rome, and then finally to ancient Mali. Then, they are expected to compare and contrast the three civilizations and the contributions of each.
I wanted to focus on one civilization at a time. It’s easy for students to read through their interactive notes and then restate what they’ve just read- BORING! and not to mention, where is ANY of Bloom’s Taxonomy?? I wanted to make this unit more authentic and purposeful. As a result, the students will be using Tour Builder to create a virtual museum of ancient Greece. Students will act as tour guides, with voice recordings, so that anyone going on the virtual tour will have the guide to explain items to them, even though they are not physically together. This is an idea that I saw from David Lee. He has created many video tutorials on edtech tools and integration projects.
What can be said about my learning over the past six weeks on this journey with COETAIL? A lot, actually. However, if I could sum up all of the blogging, commenting, video watching, searching for applicable articles, keeping up with my feedly and Flipboard, attempting to expand my PLN, etc. I would use one word: uncomfortable. This past month and a half has been uncomfortable! I’ve come to realize that the biggest and most influential growth occurs in the times of feeling uncomfortable. Rather than resisting the uncomfortableness, I will do my best to embrace it, and go with it. I want to go in whatever direction this feeling takes me. I understand that this journey is not going to be an easy one, but I am committing myself to take the journey with an open mind, knowing it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows. I’m beginning to see how this is [already] making me a better educator and colleague. I’ve attended a local Google for Education as well as Learning2 in Bangkok. I registered for those events at the end of last school year, which is also around the time that I made the decision to become a COETAILer. I don’t think this all happened by coincidence. Something/someone (myself, perhaps) was giving me small nudges over the past couple of years to step outside of my comfort zone, and just GROW. Embrace the fear, embrace the insecurities, embrace the uncomfortableness, and embrace the technology! There has definitely been growth.
My desire for my teaching and my students is that the technology that we are using in the classroom is authentic and purposeful to our learning. Every article I’ve read, every video I’ve watched, every blog I’ve come across has supported the importance of this. I’m anxious, nervous, and excited to see what Course 2 has in store for us, but I’m ready to embrace being uncomfortable. and a little scared.