This has been a fast-paced, challenging but very positive first year at Canadian Academy. I have been fortunate to work with outstanding and supportive colleagues and very capable students. At the start of the year, as a new teacher to CA, I was asked to write professional goals under three categories: Assessment and Reporting (a school-wide focus), 1-1/ Technology and Personal. As this is the end of the year, here are my reflections on these goals.
Assessment & Reporting
To develop best practices in assessment and MYP in my Physics and Chemistry classes, and to reflect on and adjust assessment tools to ensure fitness for purpose in the MYP.
Activities, Procedures, Resources: MYP documentation, Physics education resources
Working with: MYP Chemistry and Physics partner teachers
Target date for completion: Ongoing through the year
This has been successful but continues to develop. Working with colleagues we have clearer methods for assessment, such as MYP-leveled tests based on descriptors. I am using more GRASPS-style assessment tasks to create meaning and am ensuring tasks used are appropriate to the MYP criteria. This continues to be reflected upon in our review of unit plans.
Complete MA Assessment unit assignment to a respectable standard.
Activities, Procedures, Resources: MA Assessment unit readings and resources
Working with: Dr. Sue Martin, University of Bath (help from Malcolm Nicolson and Sean Rankin)
Target date for completion: February 2012
This was submitted and was successful, though the grade is pending. I have posted the complete essay on this blog here. I am now working on Curriculum Studies and am currently thinking about using the H. Lynn Erickson work in my essay, possibly focusing on the challenges of integrating this into backwash-heavy upper high-school MYP classes.
Integrate Powerschool, Google, Turnitin GradeMark to give more transparent feedback.
Activities, Procedures, Resources: Tech help, professional reading
Working with: Principal, Coordinators, tech staff and students
Target date for completion: Ongoing
After a first semester baptism of fire, I am pretty fluent in the use of PowerSchool for reporting to students and parents and have adapted the student and parent view to link out to our resources and provide background and rubrics to all information used. Almost all assignments are being graded on either Turnitin, making use of an extensive tailored comment database, or on the students’ blogs where a wider audience is involved. I have started using drafting stages to teach and facilitate academic honesty and time management.
1-1 / Technology
To develop GoogleSites for IB Biology, MYP Science and the Science Department.
Activities, Procedures, Resources: GoogleSites, MYP and DP docs
Working with: Science teachers
Target date for completion: Ongoing
These have gone very well so far. The first completed was a department site, mainly for the purpose of ordering and budgeting. As the year went on, teachers input their needs for the following year as they thought of them into a GoogleForm. I was able to set up budgeting and ordering, which can be a pain in the sciences, was pretty straightforward. This site is restricted to CA accounts.
For my IB Biology class I set up personal GoogleSites, based on the Assessment Statements, which act as an individual handbook and track record. Each site is shared only between me and the student, as a personal exchange. They reflect on them regularly and are evaluated on their progress. Their feedback has been very positive and they see the value in this resource as preparation for their final exams. Every time they update, I receive an email, so can be quick to respond. I do need to be more disciplined in grading these formally.
Finally I built a GoogleSite to be used to articulate and communicate the MS – HS Sciences. It is arranged by year and unit, includes resources for all HS MYP courses so far and is also being used to create a repository of rubrics and common advice on addressing the criteria (YouTube tutorials etc). I am quite proud of this, students like it and I hope to see it develop further in the MS next year.
To become as confident in Mac as I am in PC.
Activities, Procedures, Resources: Practise, tutorials, colleagues
Working with: Colleagues
Target date for completion: End of year
So Macs look nice, but they are pretty functional, too! I am fully used to using the Office features of the Mac and am happy with the way it works. I have been able to use Crossover to get some functionality in IB software and it is good to have a mostly-common platform among students in the HS. Most of my needs are Office or web-based, so this has been an easy transition. I don’t think I want to go back to PC now, and at times this MacBook Pro needs to be surgically removed from my person.
To choose and evaluate tech-based instructional and assessment tools for fitness for purpose.
Activities, Procedures, Resources: Tech blogs, student feedback
Working with: Colleagues, students and online contacts
Target date for completion: Ongoing – as encountered
This will continue as new tools and ideas appear or are suggested. I’ve had some fun with Socrative this year, and my students generally like the formative assessment power of Quia. With incorporating new technology in class I always now ask the question “how will this improve student learning?” I am more careful now to choose tools that allow students to focus on the learning and the process rather than the endless clicky-clicky of making polished products.
Establish and maintain a positive reputations and relationships as Science HOD and within the school community.
Activities, Procedures, Resources: Inspired teacher rubric, school mission and core values,
Working with: Colleagues and students
Target date for completion: End of year, ongoing
This, I think, has been very successful. I am lucky to have great colleagues who are professionals and yet who are clear on their points of view and reasoning. It makes for good working relationships with some worthwhile challenges. I make an effort to treat students with care and fairness and this seems to be apparent in student feedback. We have felt very welcome here at CA and have made some good friends.
Find and maintain a balance in family life.
Activities, Procedures, Resources: Time management!
Working with: Family and friends
Target date for completion: Ongoing – always!
This is a big difference compared to life before Japan. We loved Bandung and still miss our friends and colleagues there, but I was not available as much as a parent or husband as I’d like to have been and we spent an inordinate amount of free time in traffic. Now we live on campus and have access to excellent public transport in a very family-friendly environment. I feel I can work just as hard but make better use of our quality time as a family. Both Hesty and I have an active social life and there is plenty to do. There are times in the year when things get heavy, but it is great to be just on the doorstep.
Then, of course, was the faculty production of The Black Comedy,which was a lot of work, but a real laugh. I played Brindsley Miller and being on stage for such a lot of the play was a genuine challenge for me. However, it did work a completely different part of my brain and showed my students a different side of me as a person. Roll on next year!
Contribute more to IB Biology and the MYP Sciences in the wider global community.
Activities, Procedures, Resources: Continue to develop i-Biology.net, possibly become workshop leader or examiner.
Working with: IBAP and IB Biology/ MYP Science online community
Target date for completion: Ongoing
This continues to be ongoing. This year was far too busy to take on any examining, though I have thought about joining the IBEN and will complete the application forms for the 2013 groups in the break. At the moment I am undecided of the role to play, though would be interested in MYP or DP site visits or MYP Science or IB Biology workshop leading.
I continue to maintain i-Biology.net, which has now passed 1,450,000 views and GBP1,000 in donations to my charities. With the reduced IB Biology load, I have not been adding resources as quickly as in the past, but I am gradually working through and refining them, as well as adding some MYP Science ideas.
I am still moderately active in the OCC, and am continuing to add teachers to the IB Biology Lab Bank wikispace. I have also become more active on Twitter as a PD and resource-sharing tool and often come across useful and timely resources. I started this personal professional blog as an offshoot of i-Biology, to be a journal of thinking and reflection.
So now we come to the end of the year, I will reflect back on these goals again in time to set new goals for the 2012-13 academic year. With the move into the MYP Coordinator role, I am sure some of the new goals will come from there!
Thanks to everyone, here and online, who has been of support.