Well, the time has come to really think about how I am going to use everything I learned. In my future classroom I want to have an entire corner dedicated to technology. I think that if technology isn’t physically in the classroom, I won’t be inclined to use it. I would like to have a carousel of computers, TV/DVD player, a projector, and a solid internet connection. A microphone and headphones would also be nice. I would also like to have all of my grades and marking on the computer. When I was in high school, the teachers were just shifting over to using the computer for their marks, and it seemed to be very helpful and handy.
I would really like to have at least one assignment using technology every week. I know that that may prove very hard in math, but if I get lucky enough to teach English or Psych, that is something I would really like to do. As wonderful as questions from the textbook or play are (can you hear the sarcasm?), I would like to expand on this by doing technology literature cirlces, such as going into small groups. Each member would be responsible for a certain “job” each week, such as character charter (using a program such as Smart Draw), plot diagramer, geographer/historian (google earth), and reflecter (thinks of questions that make you think and perhaps creates a podcast for the class to listen to with his/her ideas). I think that doing something like that would be really exciting and way better than reading and answering questions from a fuzzy overhead.
Environment-wise, I would like to have a very bright classroom, as well as a green classroom. I would like to have a semester long project for my students to present how to make the classroom more efficient and greener. For a math class, I would have them present their ideas in terms of cost break down, savings, etc.
I would like my classroom to have lots of lights and a lot of natural light. I know I really can’t control the windows, but I just love having the blinds open and the window open too, if possible. I hate working in dark rooms, so why would I put my students through that. I also hated my classrooms that didn’t have any windows or always had them closed, so if I can help it, I will make sure that natural light is always shining. I also would like to have some plants to help with oxygen and just a generally fresher scent in the classroom. I really am not too fond of stale air or the smell of “just in from minus forty” scent that a herd of small children all have after recess, so plants may help with that.
Instruction-wise, I am practically willing to pay just to get a SMART board in my classroom. I think that would be the most useful teaching tool I could ever have. Using this would make my life and the lives of my students much easier and would provide a lot more interest in the material being covered. Think about it–when your teacher turns on a computer and then puts something on a SMART Board, doesn’t everyone in the classroom immediately pay more attention? Well, I do at least.
I think that because students are growing up in a world (as am I) where technology is very prevalent, they need to learn what they need to know in order to survive the real world. School’s job is prepare students for the real world, and in the real world, there aren’t a whole lot of text books or worksheets filled with factoring problems. There are presentations, group work, public speaking, summary reports, project proposals, and a heck of a lot of technology to do these with. Why wouldn’t I teach my students how to creatively and effectively use these magnificent tools? Why would I give them a 10 page textbook assignment for their “Christmas present” instead of a podcast or proposal about how to reduce power on Christmas Day using actual numbers and rates of change? Why wouldn’t I do that?
I do understand that the basics need to happen, which does mean that I may have to crack open a text book or assign a research paper, and definitely I need to have old fashioned tests, but not everything in my class has to be that way. Variety is what I am aiming for. I really don’t like doing weekly assignments by one month in because they are always the same and with in a month they become monotonous. Why would I give my students something I don’t even really like?
So, in conclusion, I don’t plan on running a paperless classroom, but I do plan on running a technologically dependant classroom with a variety of real life things that students will run into eventually. I don’t want students to even have to ask why they are are learning is important. I grew up with my peers asking “Mrs. Teacher, Why do we have to know this?” with a general response of “Because it’s on your test. Now do your work.” Well, what on earth will that do? Oh, because it is on my test I need to learn it? Well, if it doesn’t matter beyond a test, why am I even teaching it (sorry curriculum, I really do like you)? Even if the students may not run into derivatives ever again, the way I teach them or the way they demonstrate they know them will have some relevance to their lives eventually, if I can help it.
Finally, I really like what Chris Harbeck is doing in his classroom. He has a daily scribe who posts about what they do each day in class, along with the assignment and nice and colourful diagrams. I really want to do this in my classroom. It helps out students and parents to keep on track with what is going in the classroom, as well as for homework.
Finally, I used a classroom arranger tool to create a classroom (below). I really don’t want my desks all in perfect rows of five by five, if I can help it. I want a technology corner, lots of bulletin boards, windows, and board space as well as bookshelves and perhaps a filing cabinet. In my dream classroom, I would have the desks in a semi circle or some cool shape that allows all students to have a front row seat.
If anyone has any suggestions or questions, please feel free to comment back! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
One final thing I have to say: I would like you to watch the video below because I really like what Cathy Kassidy is doing in her classroom. Although she teaches elementry school and I would like to teach high school, I think that I can use similar principles, just adapted for my grade/subject/age/maturity level.