Question 1: During the first face to face we used the language of Urgent vs Important to help frame our discussions and thinking around the use TIME. Reflect on why you joined Cohort 21 and your professional goals for this year. Now that the year has begun and you have met your students what IMPORTANT goal might you like to address and leverage this community to get support with.
I joined Cohort 21 because I want to be a part of this incredible community of passionate and dedicated educators. I hope my experiences in Cohort 21 can help me grow, see things from a different perspective and help pave the way in this new era of education. The last two years have completely transformed the education system, and educators around the world have had to adapt and pivot in response to the global pandemic. Teachers have bravely set the course and navigated uncharted territory for their students. Now as we make our way back to the classroom, educators are dealing with shifting priorities, reestablishing connection and figuring out how to keep moving forward.
For me, there is a sense of urgency in making my students feel safe, supported and cared for as we return to school. Right now, I feel the importance of educating the heart first in order to allow space for the mind to learn. Taking time to know students’ interests, strengths and dreams will help each child feel seen, heard and valued. These principals also extended to our parent community and fellow educators as we all lean on each other for support.
An important goal that I have is how to effectively use technology to help bridge the gap between school and home. I am teaching senior kindergarten this year and parents are not currently able to come into the classroom. I am leaning on technology to help document the students’ learning. My goal is to create a template in Google Slides where the students can insert their pictures, videos and learning reflections. This digital portfolio will also be shared with families throughout the year and during Student Led Conferences.
Another goal I have surrounds assessment. We are reworking our kindergarten reports cards this year. I would love our new kindergarten report card to encompass both social emotional, academic and 21st century learning skills. Kindergarten is such a special and unique time in a child’s life. There are so many magical moments that happen day-to-day that are sometimes difficult to capture. Our aim is to keep our focus on the process and not the product. I would love this report card to reflect the changes that have happened over the last two years and also be relevant in the years to come.
Question 2: Which of the Season 10 Strands did you choose and why? Share what you feel is both urgent and important about it for you and your school at the moment and some of the questions you have around moving forward. Feel free to change strands should you want to.
I chose the Pedagogy and Well-Being (JK-6) strand because my goals surround assessment and learning tools that can support student wellbeing and academic success in my senior kindergarten classroom. What is urgent right now is transitioning the whole community (parents, students and teachers) back to school and holding space for each person’s experiences over the last two years. The urgent focus surrounds developing strong social and emotional learning skills so that our students have strategies to draw from when challenges arise. The other urgent matter is reestablishing connection and forging strong community relationships within the current COVID protocols.
What is important right now, is reflecting on how our teaching methods are best supporting our students. Our school is undergoing a deep reflection on how to best support Gen X and Gen Alpha learners as they progress through the education system. We are discovering the specific traits of these learners and reflecting on how our pedagogy best supports and inspires this new generation.
How do we ensure our education is providing students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the future?
How can we maintain a sense of connection in our current physically distanced world?
How can we build resilience so that students can grow, learn and thrive when faced with challenges?
How can we balance academics with social emotional learning?
How can we use technology to bring our classrooms to life?
How do we accurately capture the process of learning through assessment?
How can we create an inclusive community that celebrates individual and cultural differences?
How can we structure our program to allow for innovation and student agency?
How can we build community partnerships in our young learners?
Our students are our future. How are we supporting our students so that one day they will build a better world? One that is focussed on conservation, inclusion, diversity and connection.