I've said this before but it bears repeating: I really admire Aviva Dunsiger, @avivaloca on Twitter. I read her blog regularly and was delighted to meet her last year in person at the ECOO conference because I discovered that she is just as nice in real life (IRL) as she seems to be online. Aviva takes her ALP very seriously and it guides a lot of her thoughts and actions. Here's just one example of Aviva thinking about her ALP as she switched grad assignments.
I take my ALP pretty seriously as well. In fact, I took to Twitter to try and contemplate how to gather parent feedback that would inform my teaching. These are some of the responses I received.
— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) October 18, 2012
@mzmollytl @dougpete Survey Monkey, but Doug's idea is better
— Patti Walker (@pattimarathon) October 18, 2012
@mzmollytl using rate my teacher screen shots... That's creative thinking :)
— David Hann (@TeacherHann) October 18, 2012
@mzmollytl Ask them to comment on a page set up with your "work" on a public pbworks wiki?
— Martha Martin (@mlbrackmartin) October 20, 2012
These are all pretty good suggestions. In the end, I used www.ratemyteacher.com (I know it may not be an ideal source - there can be a lot of vitriol on the site and it's banned from accessing on my board's computers) but I wasn't convinced I could collect authentic responses from parents in such a short time frame. (The ALPs are due at the end of October.)
Another aspect of the ALP that I thought long and hard about this weekend while writing it was my goal. A comment by one of my students led me to switch gears.
Remember that success inquiry I'm embarking on with my grade 7-8s? In ICT class one day, I had just finished explaining about the concept of a personal bank account and metaphorical withdrawals and deposits, as outlined in the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers. I was feeling pretty content about how the lesson had proceeded, when an ESL student came up to me and asked what exactly they were supposed to do. Ouch! In my enthusiasm for the task, I totally forgot to consider my English language learners. Although I had used the blackboard as well as oral instructions to explain the task, it still wasn't scaffolded enough for the ESL students to comprehend significantly enough to attempt the job.
That interaction made me realize that I need to set a teaching/learning goal for myself that is very practical and will help my students achieve success (and wasn't that part of the unit's goal to begin with?) I realize that I have a lot of goals I want to accomplish this year, but I settled on two major ones. (I base my goals on two of the three primary roles of the teacher-librarian: instruction and leadership.)
Professional Growth Goal #1: Work on a cross-Canada literacy research project (on whether or not student choice awards influence reading engagement in students) and participate in new presentation opportunities; in-school leadership will focus on enhancing communication by students (TLCP) and my own as well as continued personal exploration of Games Based Learning. (Leadership Role)
Professional Growth Goal #2: Focus on accommodating and modifying library, ICT, media, and dance/drama lessons for ELL students, through advanced planning instead of just-in-time alterations. (Instructional Role)
Some of the ways I plan on achieving these goals involve conference attendance. This coming week will be the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) conference. I'll share my insights in next week's blog post.