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Back for another year

I know it’s been awhile since my last post.  My family has been having the time of our lives this past summer with all sorts of activities.  Now that school has started, I’ll be coming back here much more often.

This is my 19th year teaching, and I’ve had another great start.  I’m teaching exactly what I love to teach (grade 11 and grade 12 chemistry), I don’t seem to have any obviously serious discipline problems, the students seem to be getting used to my style fairly quickly and the staff that I work with is still top notch.

Although last year was a very good year, I felt that I had stretched myself a bit too thin with extra curricular activities.  It has caused me to rethink how I conduct my life at school and at home so that I have more time at home and for myself.

As a result, I have set a few new long term goals:

A) Streamline my involvement in extracurricular activities to those that mean the most to me.  As a result, I’ve dropped about 4 or 5 from my list (when I wrote them all down on paper, I found myself thinking “how did I find time to do all this??”).  In this particular year, the ones that I chose to keep are: (1) Student blood drives; (2) Chaperone the trip to France this coming March 2010; (3) Our School’s Forth Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life.  (This one is my favourite, and the activity I am most passionate about [and it doesn’t hurt that I have _the_ most awesome partner, and one of my best friends, to work with to plan and execute this monumental event].  If all goes well, we should pass the $100,000 mark for total pledges collected so far!); (4) Participate in my school’s PLC (professional learning community)

B) Include more interesting demonstrations in my chemistry classes and move a little bit further away from some traditional ‘chalk and talk’ lessons.

C) Do more experiments with the students that are just for fun.  I guess I want the students to come to like and appreciate science more than they do now, chemistry in particular (since I’m so passionate about it myself).  I’ve come to realize that it’s not necessary for every experiment to be followed by some written lab report or evaluation instrument.  Science just for the fun of it is important too.

D) Find some ways of incorporating Twitter into my classroom.

E) Expand on the use of a WIKI in my grade 12 chemistry class.

F) Get more of my staff interested in collaborating online with tools such as Twitter, a blog site or a wiki site.  In the process, I hope to get some new ideas for myself.

G) Read more blogs from other teachers to help stretch my mind and get me to think ‘outside of my little box’.

This is my third year participating in my school’s PLC.  This time around, we plan on focusing on increased staff collaboration and using ‘differentiated instruction’ techniques in the classroom.  I’m hoping to make some useful contributions on the ‘collaboration’ part, while the ‘differentiated instruction’ part is still an area of learning for me.

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