As this year draws to a close I begin the think about changes I want to make to my program for next year. These 7 goals are flexible and may change as the summer progresses. These goals also give focus to what I’ll be working on during summer. (Whoever thinks teachers get summers off doesn’t know any committed teachers!)
1. Introduce the Gamification Practice Plan.
Gamification takes the ideology of video games and why people like to play them, and applies it to the educational setting. If we can harness the appeal of video games, we can harness engagement and drive to learn.
My first year teaching was the first year my school even had concerts. A culture of practicing was non-existent. After two years and my current Music Champions program, a few more students were practicing. In the program’s current form students earn points by coming to the music room at lunch to practice or by taking their instrument home and remembering to bring it back. At a certain number of points they get their picture up on the wall, bragging rights, and a pizza party every few months.
The idea of Gamification, which I discovered on Twitter and expanded my knowledge at EdCamp Ventura County, has expanded my idea of my Music Champions program and I’m ready to do a full redesign of the program.
2. Stay connected on Twitter.
I’m setting the bar pretty easy for myself, log into TweetDeck once a week. Once the schedule for next year is finalized, I’ll pick my easiest morning and that will be when I’ll log into TweetDeck. Only once a week to make the goal achievable. The same day every week to turn it into a habit. Oh, it’s Wednesday, time to log into TweetDeck!
3. Create a Maker Space.
This is another idea I found from the Twitterverse and EdCamp that sounds fantastic. Let’s make our own instruments, make our own music, make the learning ours. I’d love to have the students make their own instruments, write their own piece of music, and perform it at the concert!
4. Create a website for the music program.
Parent wants to help their kid put their instrument together, look at this video on the website. A gracious donor want’s to see their donations in action, go to the website. A student wants to practice the accompaniment to a rondalla, go to the website!
5. Gather and arrange short songs for extra music practice.
Admittedly this might be part of the gamification idea, but it is so large a project I gave it its own goal. I’d like to have a binder for each of the five instruments I teach with songs like Happy Birthday or the theme from Harry Potter available. If students want more music, they can go to the binders!
6. Choose literature for the year.
Last year I chose literature very late and flying by the seat of my pants. I’d like to have pieces for both concerts ready to go for each ensemble. I can change my mind along the way, but I’d like to be ready!
7. Create blog content.
Once a week, just like Twitter, that’s the goal. I get so energized writing blog posts that more ideas pop up while I’m writing. The key is to keep writing, even if there was an unintentional break. For me, I see that month I didn’t write anything and feel the weight of that failure. I have to remember that I’m my own hardest critic. When I visit teacher blogs and there wasn’t a new post for a few months I think, “Oh, they must have been busy teaching this month.” I’m sure others will give me the benefit of the doubt too.
What are your 7 goals to improve your teaching practice for next year?