Monday, August 15, 2016

My Classroom Vision and Mission Statements

At today’s welcome back staff meeting, my administrators asked the staff to think of our own personal vision and mission statement for our classroom.  After being out of the classroom for the past two years, and returning to teaching biology this year, I’ve really been thinking about my role in education and my goals for this year.  I’ve thought about what changes I want to make since I was last in the classroom and this was a great opportunity to really start formulating a plan.   

This is what I’ve come up with so far.  It is a work in progress.  I think the 21st Century Learner idea is getting a little old and overused, but these are skills I really want my students to leave my class with.

My Vision Statement: My students will be 21st Century learners.  They will be able to think critically about the curriculum and how it relates to their lives outside of the classroom. They will be able to communicate effectively with their peers, their teachers, the community, and the world.  They will be able to collaborate and work well with others.  And they will be creative in sharing what they have learned and their passions.

My Mission Statement:The mission of Ms. Hero’s classroom is to provide a learning environment where all students will succeed, are a valued part of the community, are prepared for their futures, and become lifelong learners.

You may have noticed that I didn’t specifically mention technology in my vision or mission. While I am a huge fan of integrating technology in my classroom, and have spent the last two years as an Instructional Technology Specialist, tech isn’t my main focus.  My focus in the classroom is and has always been the students and their learning and growth. Technology will be a big part of my classroom, but technology is just a tool that when used at the right time, can help students become 21st century learners.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Spotlight Apps: Point Students in the Right Direction

When projecting websites or slideshows to students, sometimes you need to make something stand out.  Some of you may have seen me use a spotlight tool to draw attention to specific parts of the screen in my PD Sessions or on screencasts.  I have been using Mouselight for my Mac for a few years and just finally found a PC version of a mouse pointer/spotlight.

Unfortunately, these tools are not free. I have found that spending that little amount out of my pocket has been worth it, for the amount of times I have used it, with students in class, as well as with teachers in PD workshops.  

Here are two different versions of a spotlight for each operating system.  (Sorry, there is nothing that I know of that works with Chromebooks, yet.)

Mac:  Mouselight $0.99  

PC: $9.95  (You'll get a free 10 minute trial to test it out)