My week of inservice training is behind me and the kids come for the first time on Monday. I feel like the week before school has flown by and all of a sudden I’m scrambling to finish off a few last minute things this weekend. All things considered this was by far the best inservice week of my teaching career and the theme of it all would be ‘constructivist’.
Our district’s social studies theme for the year is constructivism and we spent some time looking at what that looks like in a classroom. We worked in groups to define the term and come up with things we’d like to know more about so that our curriculum director can work on some trainings throughout the year to help us out more. In the afternoon of this particular day, two of my co-workers and I got to lead a training on Project Based Learning which is our campus’ focus and has been for a year. We each shared a project that we had run in our classrooms this year as well as provided some ideas and things to think about when planning a PBL unit. We got some great feedback on our presentation and our curriculum director praised us at our campus later in the week.
Later in the week our principal brought in Mark Barnes to speak with the whole staff about his particular brand of constructivist learning. After he presented to our teaching staff as well as a number of district administrators, six of us got the opportunity to spend the rest of the day learning from Mark in a small group in a more in depth way. He shared with us about how he uses his website to be the hub of learning for his class, different technologies he uses, and ways to deal with the different problems we might encounter during our first year. I walked away from this day with a head swimming with ideas and not enough time to adequately plan out how I might implement them. On top of all that, my school issued a few of us an iPad mini to use in the classroom!
I’m really excited to push the envelope a bit this school year…in a good way. I’m ready to take a massive step toward transforming my classroom into a place where my students drive their own learning and create more than intake. I’m ready to think differently about education and I’m so glad that I have some co-workers who will be traveling this road with me.