26 November 2012

Low-tech Learning at a High-Tech Conference

While attending the 2012 UCET Conference back in March, I had a discussion with a friend about the need to not let technology get in the way of teaching. This is not a new idea, many others have spoken of this same need, but what made it so interesting was the fact that it occurred at a technology conference some 289 miles away from our home district.

We were eating breakfast one morning and talking about how the year had gone up until that point and I mentioned that I was struggling with classroom procedures not being followed. I mentioned that it had been a different year for me because I had a student teacher for the first half of the year and I wondered if that might have been the cause. The student teacher was great! But whenever there is a change in leadership there will be a time of readjustment, which is where I was at when this discussion had occurred.

My friend asked how often I reviewed the classroom procedures and I responded that I took some time after returning from Christmas Break like I always do. Then he said something really profound that I had never thought of. He told me he always took at least one day after any break longer than three days away from school. Meaning, if we had a three- or four-day weekend he would always take that first day back and review the classroom procedures. It had never occurred to me that maybe the kids needed that kind of refresher after a "longer" break than just a regular weekend.

I would love to say that for the rest of the school year I was very rigorous in reviewing classroom procedures each time we were gone more than two days, but I wasn't. I did take time after I returned from the conference and review the procedures as well as after Spring Break (a five-day break in my district), but other than that, I wasn't too good at remembering to review.

So why am I sharing this idea of reviewing classroom procedures after any break more than three-days if I didn't even do it 100% of the time? Because I want to remember to do it and I was always taught that if you write something down you are more likely to actually remember it and I need all the help I can get to remember it. Also, I'm hoping this site can become a teaching/life resource for me to look back on and remember important ideas and techniques I have come across through teaching.

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