Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beginning the Journey

I took the plunge – I sent off my initial fee for National Board Certification (NBC). I am excited about the prospect of the process. I've read through the 200+ page instructions for certification in English/Language Arts - Adolescence and Young Adult. I believe that I can complete the process, however, I'm nervous of the organization that is needed to get each and every part correct – from the bar codes, each form, to the style of writing and length of reflection. I waver from confident knowledge of my strengths as a teacher to the panic of the overwhelming requirements.

I've done several things to help me in this journey. First, I purchased The National Board Certification Workbook: How to Develop Your Portfolio and Prepare for the Assessment Exams by Adrienne Mack-Kirschner. I have found this a good guide in reading the huge document of the instructions. She has helped me with the initial organization and read-through of the instructions, down to how to divide, highlight and sticky note the important stuff in the instructions. I also signed up in Yahoo groups for the support of other ELA-AYA candidates and successful applicants. In addition, I put a notice out to the MiddleTalk listserv and received several private emails of encouragement and support. Finally, I have talked about the process with my husband, who will be my major supporter, encourager, and video taper. He very blasely stated, “Of course you can do it” - like there was no question of success or failure.

The one area I need to work on immediately is documenting my reflection of teaching. After 11 years of teaching, in some very challenging environments, I automatically and constantly reflect on what is working and what needs to be changed. I have long term plans, but the concrete plan for the next class isn't finalized until the end of class – recognizing that I may need to reteach, modify or accelerate my plans. For the needs of NBC, I need to be more consistent in documenting this process that naturally goes on in my head. Though, in retrospect, this blog is my reflective teaching made visible.

However, recently on the MiddleTalk listserv, there was a discussion about the use of blogs for teachers. Some teachers stated that they have been asked, by their school/district, to take down their blogs, In some cases is was a simple classroom blog, though others had blogs for the non-teaching part of their lives. I am usually cognizant that whatever I type can be read by the world, however, I'm not always on the look-out for how it can be misconstrued. As one teacher stated, whatever you say can be used against you.

I found a couple of interesting websites on journal writing or reflective practitioning.

Writing and Keeping a Journal - by InFed
Reflective Writing for Better Teaching
NCPublic School - Self-Assessment: The Reflective Practitioner
The Reflective Practitioner - through model buidling
Keeping a Reflective Journal

My brother gave me a journal years ago, which would be a good starting place for a novice journaler - by Journals Unlimited, it is a "Teacher's Journal" with specific prompts.
Teacher's Journal

national board certification


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cool Links

Math Solutions - lessons in math for grades K-8

Michigan Curriculum Integration 2006 Work Groups - tech lessons from a summer workshop

The Ron Clark Story - author of The Essential 55, and subject of a TNT movie with Matthew Perry

Syber-Silverstein - a poetry site of animation created by middle schoolers