Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Simple Reflective Blog

           This past year was one of the best years of my teaching career. I was privileged to be able to publish an article, present at a conference, and be named as the Media Specialist of Year for my county. However, as wonderful as that was, that is not what made this year so great. It was the connections that I made with the students, teachers, administrators, community, and other educators that made the difference.

Connections within the School Community

          I was able to collaborate with more teachers this year which helped make my lessons relevant to what the students were learning in the classroom. I was also able to help show them new ways to  redesign lessons with technology that ignited a passion for learning.
          My Afternoon Family Reading sessions helped me connect with parents and the public library. Children need to see their parents excited about reading so I designed afternoons where parents and children could come and enjoy a good story and then create, play, and discover the joy of reading through centers.
          My main focus though was of course on the students. Education is about creating connections with students and then guiding them to discover who they are and what excites them about learning. To do this you have to let go of the control and give it back to the students. I discovered this especially the last half of this year with my Makerspaces, STEM projects, and Breakout Sessions. Once I gave the freedom to the students the collaboration, problem solving, creating, and engagement went through the roof.  I am already planning for next year and excited at the potential it holds for the students. I plan to continue to step out of my comfort zone, do what is best for students, and teach to reach each and every student.
Reflections of an Elementary Media Specialist
Connections outside the school
             Through technology tools such as Padlet I was able to help connect students with students around the globe on projects such as Global Reading Day and Read Across America Week. National Poetry Month we celebrated by creating a Padlet where we were able to share poems across the country. The students enjoyed seeing how far our Padlet reached. It was a great way to demonstrate that connections can occur no matter where you are in the world. I am really looking forward to doing some Mystery Skypes, Virtual Field trips, and more Padlets next year.
            Another thing that made this year different than any other was my Professional Learning Community (PLC) increased. Thanks to PLC meetings in my district and Twitter I was able to collaborate and learn from so many talented educators. If I could give advice to any new educator it would be to grow your PLC as much as possible. We are in a field that is constantly changing and reinventing itself. We need to work together so that we can give the students what they need. I wouldn't have been able to accomplish as much as I did without the support of my PLC.

Final thoughts

         The take-away from the year: build connections. There is truth in the saying, "Students may not remember what you taught them but they will remember how you made them feel." Teach them to believe in themselves, provide them with the knowledge and tools they need to reach their potential and watch them soar. 

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