Yearly Reflection


Reflect on your teaching this past year. Please include the goals you set for yourself in your last reflection or evaluation and comment on how you made measurable progress towards meeting each goal.

Last year I focused my goals in three areas:

  • Becoming more organized and efficient in assessing, tracking, and following through on student performance.
    • I followed through on developing a personal database to support my personal habits of grading and planning — though not without technical hiccups. Nevertheless, I believe I became more prompt in generating grade reports and follow-up for students.
  • Incorporating technology in the classrooom, specifically through blogging.
    • My ambitious plans for 7th grade blogging fell by the wayside as I struggled to juggle side issues of technical instruction with the curricular schedule. Nevertheless, the 8th grade did manage to use blogs meaningfully as a proxy for literature circles in their Book Review unit. Lots of valuable lessons learned.
  • Strengthen my extracurricular obligations: the Literary magazine and the Robotics Club
    • I experimented with a middle school blog for the literary magazine. Once again, there were many valuable lessons learned — including a spam attack that forced the deletion of the site.
    • The Robotics Club did take on a more formal, rigorous structure and followed a set curriculum. What we did not do that I wished we had is visit competitions and proactively plan to move the club to be more ready to engage such activities.
    • I also oversaw the Computer Academy, which was a more free-form, exploratory extracurricular activity that covered a variety of technological topics.

Please outline your goals for the 2007-2008 year.

What are your specific professional goals for the following year? How do you plan to pursue these goals? How will you assess your progress towards these goals? What can the school do to help you make progress towards your goals?
I’d like to focus this year on successfully incorporating blogs as a fundamental part of my English instruction. I’m going to make blogs a more fundamental tool to my English classes throughout the year and gradually improve fluency in the medium in scaffolded stages of instruction. I’d be happy if I stick through using blogs throughout the school year. I’d be happier if students develop fluency in posting and commenting on their blogs. The professional space to work out the kinks in pursuing this kind of instruction. Facilitating the means to attend conferences.
As the leader of the 7th grade English partnership, I’d like to redefine and expand the Immigrants in Philadelphia Neighborhoods Project. I’d like to vigorously pursue conversations and partnerships to clarify the vision and possibilities of the IPN project. The parameters and partnerships of the IPN project should be concretely defined with specific means of further development. The project should also be more organically integrated with the rest of the English curriculum. Time to regularly meet with my 7th grade English partner.
I’d also like to redefine and expand the Robotics Club and the literary magazine. I’d like to decide, and strategically pursue, a competitive direction for the Robotics Club. I’d also like to transform the middle school blog into a web site of citizen journalism that’s relevant and meaningful to the student body. The Robotics Club this year should have visited several competitive events, explored different competitive options, and decided upon an actionable plan to pursue. I’ll consider the literary magazine successful if it draws out the attention and interaction of the middle school student body. A clearer idea of the budgetary parameters of the Robotics Club. Time and transportation for the entire club to visit competitions.

How do you see your own professional development goals intersecting with the institutional goals of Quakerism, diversity, and technology?

Blogging, in particular, addresses all three dimensions:

  • it is a technological medium for communication and community
  • it provides an alternate means of expression and instruction than is normally available in the classroom
  • it can facilitate ecological stewardship (paperless office), reflective practice, and consensual collaboration

2 thoughts on “Yearly Reflection

  1. Hey Tom

    I happened to surf by searching for ‘using blogs to teach language arts’ and read up on your yearly goals.

    Would you be generous enough to share with me how you and it what manner you used it?

    You seem to have some key ideas on grading your kids as well through technology. I think those are awesome.

    I’m not a newbie teacher although I am new to a country’s system of teaching and I really want to incorperate blogging as an avenue for my kids in language arts and literature.

    Would be of great help if you would share!


  2. Sorry about the delayed response! Been real busy.

    I’m using blogs as 1) a publishing tool and 2) a conversation medium.

    By having students publish their work in regular increments, I’m hoping to increase their excitement and seriousness about their writing.

    By having students comment on each other’s writing and enter into a conversation of ideas, I hope to foster the kind of exchange that sharpens their thinking and forces them to consider a diversity of perspectives.

    I suppose I could think of more, but I think that’s the basic gist of it.


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