2016 OLW – transparency (following 2015 OLW – responsivenenss)

Sally’s 2016 OLW – Transparency

Last year I was bothered by my responses and my OLW became RESPONSIVENESS.
In a January, 2015 blog post, I wrote:
I want to spend time actively learning how to better respond to:
~ 10 year old boys
~ colleagues, thoughtful, arrogant, and/or ignorant
~ the drama of school and family situations
~ the lack of kindness shown by strangers I pass during the day
~ anyone causing me angst

Overall, my OLW served me well. It helped me to look back at how I acted with hopes of acting better the next time. I still want my responses to get better so they are always grounded in kindness and tolerance and openness and I will keep working on this.

To help, my 2016 OLW is TRANSPARENCY.

While responsiveness feels more of a reflection after the fact, transparency feels like a pro-active stance. If I am clear and open and tolerant from the very beginning, my interactions with my students, my colleagues, my family, strangers, anyone, I hope will improve.

Why Transparency?
This year, I have come to realize that much of what happens as I teach is invisible to others – my students’ parents, the administrators, even the students themselves at times. As an example, just before Winter Break, the librarian visited my classroom to show my students an app that allows them to download e-books onto their iPad (each student in grades 2-5 at my school have their own district-issued iPad). He showed us a few steps and then I watched for the next 15 minutes. The classroom was very quiet. All were touching their iPad screen, moving to different screens, trying his steps. All were discovering the nuances of an ebook. When I did hear a voice, it was, “Show me how you did that?” I observed lots of collaboration between peers and with the librarian.

Reflecting on this 30 minute lesson, I realized that SO much happened, yet so much was invisible. I started thinking: Could I / Should I make lessons like this more transparent – clear – for all to see/understand? Could we / Should we capture all the ebook options on an anchor chart? Is it necessary? Is just taking time to talk and collaborate with another enough to remember how to navigate around the app? I am reminded how most electronics no longer come with a manual anymore. Instead, I can google “How do I ____ using ___? to figure out features of my iPhone and macbook air. The knowledge is available but is not clearly displayed first for all to see. Knowing this, maybe instead, I teach lessons on HOW to find my answers to my questions? Maybe the anchor chart becomes all our questions about the e-book app and not the steps to the answer but the steps to how to find the answer. Being CLEAR is definitely a word that may take me the entire year to fully “see clearly”!!

I will admit, that I am drawn to this word, transparency mostly because I have 1:1 iPads in my 3rd grade classroom. We just started using Google Classroom and I’m figuring out how best to use this tool to amplify our learning. I’m also in a brand new school where the district redrew the neighborhood lines and I often hear, “At our old school, we did…At this school, I don’t know what is happening in the classroom.” When I ask parents to say more, they explain they knew what was going on because lots of worksheet packets were sent home. Because our new school has a sustainability focus, we are trying to be paper-light. But I also understand the parents’ wonderings due to the lack of visible work being sent home. Can I help parents to “see” what their child is learning when so much of it seems invisible?

By keeping the word TRANSPARENCY as my OLW, I hope to make my teaching more clear for my students, my parent community, and my administrators.

Another personal goal of mine for 2016 is to keep a clean house. For two years, I have been living temporarily in a rental house so a house could be built based on my architect husband’s amazing modern, energy-efficient design. I will admit that while in the rental, I was a horrible housekeeper. Now that we moved into the new house (just days before Christmas!), I want to keep it clean! I wondered if CLEAN should be my OLW. But then I realized that when an object is transparent, it is so clean that light can go through it.

So my OLW for 2016 is TRANSPARENCY!

* I will work to ensure what happens in my classroom (and in my life) is shared in a clear, transparent manner.
*  I will build on all I learned last year, striving to have positive responses toward others.
* I will work to keep my new house clean!
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