Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ditch That Textbook

I downloaded Ditch that Teacher last night and I'm already about halfway through.  It's a super fast read with lots of great reminders about changing the teaching mindset.  We have to make sure we are meeting the needs of today's students and preparing them for the future.  Think about the skills your students are going to need to survive in tomorrow's work force.  Are your lessons and strategies going teaching them to problem solve, communicate with others, and take on leadership roles?  A true A-HA moment was this quote from the book, "65% of today's schoolchildren eventually will be employed in jobs that have yet to be created."  Wow!  What a task we have in front of us!!

I also like that Miller stresses the importance of technology in today's classroom, but he also stresses that we have to be choosy with the technology we implement.  Is it purposeful?  Does it enrich the learning?  Or does it simply replace pencil and paper.  It's easy for me to become overwhelmed with all that is out there and try to take on too much at once.  When this happens I usually end up giving up on that technology.  Trends come and go.  I don't have to jump on every trend that someone else on FB or the blogosphere is trying out.  Instead, pick one and learn how to use it well.  I tried Twitter for the second time this last year and now I love it!  It's a great tool for sharing the great things we are doing in class and getting my message out to parents and others.  Feel free to follow me @mrsjohnson4th.  I also created a closed FB group for the parents in my class.  A fellow teacher did this and shared lots and lots of pics that she takes each day.  What a treat for parents to "see" their child learning and exploring and just having fun!  I sometimes take for granted being able to catch a glimpse of my daughter in the hallway at school.  :-)

A third point I want to make about this book is that Miller talks about finding balance and not "cheating" our families by being too involved in our work.  Balance is good!  I have found myself feeling guilty for spending Sunday afternoons at school while my two children are at home.  This year my younger child will be in Kindergarten, so both kids will be with me in my room before and after school.  I won't be able to get much done with a busy 5 year old boy!  I have to make the most of my time during the spare moments of the day.  I'm also trying to do some big time curriculum mapping this summer to make my planning faster during the school year.

Finally, Ditch That Textbook tells teachers that we are better together and not to "be a silo."  Get connected with fellow teachers both in your building and "out there" in the great beyond.  And SHARE your ideas with others.  I don't blog often because I convince myself that I don't have anything new or exciting to share.  I'm not creating things for TpT, although I am a VIP customer.  But I'm going to have to break that mentality.  I do have things to share, and while they may only help one person out there, isn't that worth it?

My goals this year:
1. Be more "present" in my life 
2. Become better connected with other teachers
3. Better utilize my free moments at school to free up more moments at home!

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