-by Peter Santoro-
As I write this, two weeks of summer vacation have come and gone. My wife and I are going through the process of downsizing our home. We will be moving sometime in the next two to three months to a luxury townhouse. Part of the process of downsizing is to go through everything we own and categorize it in one of four ways; these are:
4. Throw it out.
I also spent time over the summer reflecting on the school year that has just ended. In parallel with the downsizing process, I am going through the books that contain my lessons and group space work/activities, mastery checks, quizzes, and tests. I write myself notes to remind me of how things went and some changes I want to make. I can categorize these notes in one of four ways:
1. Keep (it).
2. Make minor revisions/improvements.
3. Find an enhanced group space activity to improve this active learning experience for my students.
4. What made me think this was a good idea? Don’t ever do this again! Totally revise this!
Reflection is an integral part of teaching, and many teachers neglect this important aspect of our professional practice. I’ll admit, that in my first few years of teaching, I was guilty of not properly reflecting on my practice. I was just trying to keep from drowning! As the years passed, I realized that reflecting on teaching was probably the most important thing I did all year. This open-minded reflection is what led me to Flipped Learning, and therefore, Jon Bergmann. I was lucky in that I had the full support of my department chair and my principal as I embarked on my flipped journey. I still enjoy their full support, especially when they see the feedback from my students and parents.
I was fortunate to have attended ISTE this past June in Chicago. There were so many motivating speakers, the resources they offered, as well as the exhibitors and their resources! I came away from that experience with a renewed vigor to improve the active learning that takes place in my classroom every day. I have a wish list of apps I’m going to give the IT Director in my school district!
Besides attending the conference, I was also blessed with the opportunity to present as part of an “Insanely Smart Panel” along with Jon Bergmann (@jonbergmann), Terra Graves (@nvterragraves), and Kathy Swanger (@kathyswanger). Our presentation was on the innovative ways teachers use class time. The audience participation was truly inspiring. The attendees shared with us their creative uses of class time. The session was so interactive, and some discussions even continued to the hallway outside the room where we presented!
Not everyone can attend educational conferences, but do not let that stop you from your pursuit to improve all the great things you already do in your classrooms. That is why it is so important to stay connected with the Flipped Learning Global community here at FLGI. Join the site (it’s free). Engage with other educators. Join some discussions, share, and learn from everyone around the world. Some pretty amazing things are happening in classrooms around the globe. When I started my Flipped Learning journey, I was by myself in my school. It was so vital for me to get and stay connected with other Flipped Learning educators.
Take time this summer to reflect on the past year, throw out what didn’t work, add active learning activities to your group space plans, and improve what worked. The reflection process can and should be invigorating and can breathe new life and focus on your approach to teaching as classes resume.
I urge you to get connected with us and to stay connected with us! Remember, we all need to Reach Every Student, Every Day, in Every Class.