Yearly Reflection


1) 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 my goals centered around integrating blogging into my classroom, expanding the 7th grade Immigrants in Philadelphia Neighborhoods project, and shoring up my extracurricular activities. I believe I did meet these goals, though with varying levels of improvement.

I dug deep into my personal resources and time to make a strong push for incorporating technology into my class. This involved having a long-term plan that ran parallel to my normal curricular goals, creating extra lessons teaching and reflecting on technology use, redesigning units and projects so that I could make blogging an important element in them, considering issues of assessment and access, collaborating with the technology department, and knowing when to back off and strike a balance between my technology goals and the core objectives of the class. I learned how to make screencasts to teach technology, used a wiki for the class web site, attended a podcasting conference, corresponded with other teachers across the country, and reflected on my experience in my personal blog.

Though the 7th grade IPN project had another successful year, I felt I made little headway in re-imagining the project. We made some new contacts with neighborhood liaisons, and I introduced my own classes to more in-depth instruction on internet research, community data, and geographic variables, but the project remained pretty much the same. I’m hoping to renew the conversations I started last year to keep looking for a new path for this project.

I was less satisfied with my goals for my extracurricular obligations. There wasn’t much student interest in the literary magazine, but I did have some fruitful conversations with Carol Sukoneck and Rebecca Tatum about the role of a middle school blog and its overlap with the Video Yearbook. The Robotics Club met regularly throughout the year during most lunch periods and made several robots to address different challenges of sensory input, navigation, and grasping objects. The lunch meeting times were convenient for students, but they presented some logistical issues for me and were too brief for me to go into the instructional depth that I would have liked. I’m excited about the upper school science plans to use Robotics and have talked to Tim Lynch about possibilities of collaboration between our two groups in the spring.

2) Please outline your goals for the 2008-2009 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 Penn Charter do to help you make progress towards your goals?

Add podcasting as part of my classroom practice

Use my hour-blocks as time to podcast weekly discussions

See if I can stick with it throughout the year. Track usage analytics and student feedback to see if it is making an impact on learning.

I’m interested in attending conferences and professional development in this area.

Spearhead a middle school blog useful and informative to the community body

Actively recruiting students and collaborating with other activities and clubs

Track usage analytics and community feedback

Promotion and integration of blog into its current major web site; administrative support in voicing its importance

Integrating service into major 7th and 8th grade initiatives

Renew discussions around the 7th grade IPN project with fellow teachers and Tom Rickards. Suggest a service component to the 8th grade memoirs project.

Whether students engage in meaningful opportunities of service as part of these projects

It’s always difficult to schedule time to talk and make plans, especially across disciplines.

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

It’s fairly obvious that the first of my two goals are fundamentally about technology, and that the last goal addresses the Quaker testimony of service. I’ve been giving some thought, though, on how the two overlap. I’m primarily interested in how technology can facilitate conversation and community: providing forums, allowing expression, bridging distances. In the past those tools of media and reach were skewed to a powerful few; our accelerating technology has lowered those gates to those literate enough to use them.

I’ve been thinking of how service is a kind of vocal ministry in the Quaker tradition. The 8th grade has adopted the “testimonies” as its theme, and it seems to me that they can be asked to think what it is within them that will move them to stand up and speak, to give voice to the voiceless, to use the tools at their disposal to shine a light.


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