Summer vacation is here!  That mythical “three months of getting paid for nothing” that all teachers allegedly enjoy. 

Well, the three months are actually two, I have training for 3 of those 8 weeks, and a week has already gone by and I’m still not sleeping as well as I should.  Oh well, the enjoy part has proven to be correct! A little gardening, some time spent with daughter #2 at her college orientation, and every morning drinking tea with my wife.  I like it.

What to do this summer?  I guess that revolves around my goals for the upcoming year.  (Ok, I’m going to do a bit of traveling, see my family, do some stuff around the house, and relax–but that’s not really what this blog is about, now is it?)  I have one big goal so far, and one smaller (supporting) goal.  My big goal is to base my entire teaching effort on writing.  Reading (especially), language, mathematics, science, social studies: I want to base all of these things on writing.  The supporting goal: using technology to support the big goal. 

In previous years, I’ve made technology my goal.  I’ve come to realize, though, that making technology a goal in and of itself is like saying your goal is to put one foot in front of the other or to learn how to swim the crawl stroke.  Don’t you really mean that you’d like to hike the Appalacian Trail or swim the English Channel?  Technology is a means to an end, not an end.  That’s probably obvious to everyone but me, but, hey, I’ve got it figured out now too!

Since most of my students will be unable to accomplish even the simplest task (outside of video games) on the computer, I will be teaching a bunch of tech; again, though, it’s a means and not the end. I’m looking at blogs and wikis, PowerPoint (as in, “No, Mr. Gels doesn’t have to help me I can do that myself” PowerPoint), Photostory, Movie Maker, word processing, and a little bit of Logo programming thrown in to help with geometry. Oh, yea, file management too.

Other goals for the upcoming year:

  • 45 minutes of meaningful reading each day in addition to reading during lessons
  • Going outside 3-4 times a week in addition to recess (year-round; you’d better have a coat)
  • Replacing the concept of classroom management with the reality of community
  • Going into testing season (early March around here) without breaking the normal routine
  • More stuff that I can’t think of yet

Writing, writing, writing! First step: learn how to teach writing.  The last few years have been okay, but let it suffice to say that they won’t be models for the upcoming year…