Remember when you used to have time to just do, well, what-ever? Life feels a lot busier these days and while busy can be good (and it has been good sometimes), there are moments where I wish I could slow down for a little while. With Spring weather slowly taking over, I’m looking forward to getting back outside and maybe have some more of those “slow down” moments.
So what exactly HAS been taking up our time lately? Life has thrown some curve balls this school year in the family health department. We lost a family member last fall and another family member’s health has had a lot of ups and downs over the last five months. Enough so that I’m getting better at recognizing faces at an area hospital. Prayers are continuing with the hope that everything will work itself out for the better.
I have several projects at work that I have kept me busy (beyond my normal work). One involves a grant idea that I will remain quiet on for now. Then there is the ongoing project of organizing materials. This past summer, my wife and I took time to do some “Spring Cleaning” of the Science department space at work. This involved emptying everything out of the cabinets and drawers in my room, the room next to me, and our storage area. Then, as my wife worked on tidying up some spots, I undertook the task of trying to organize everything into groups. We both then developed an idea of how to get everything back in some semblance of a system. Considering my wife’s superior organizational skills, I think we got things arranged rather nicely.
Fast forward to today and I am not only tidying up a bit, but also determining what materials the 8th grade needs to replace or purchase for next year. A few regular supplies and some not-so-regular supplies. I am still trying to go through my file cabinets. I have one whole drawer completely organized. A second drawer, when finished, will get ALL of our 8th grade materials finished. Then a single drawer remains for what appears to be 7th grade material.
One big work project involves planning for next year. Yep, I said next year and it is only March. A few of us have looked at the concept of a Flipped Classroom. It is an interesting idea, but an undertaking to plan. At a base level, it means doing classwork at home and homework in class (hence the term “flipped”). A common method of doing this is the creation of a short video about a topic to be watched at home, with the bulk of class time being devoted to work related to the topic. For example, I could have students watch a video introducing Speed, then spend my class time practicing speed equations and doing a lab. This is where the planning enters the mix. By planning out next year, I can then look at developing the materials for flipping my classroom next year. It is an exciting adventure, one that I hope will create an easier means of study for my students.
With the flipped model, I am also researching how to incorporate some of the principals of Gamification into my class. Gamification is the idea of using the principals of games (of various forms) to enhance the classroom. I have already incorporated earning badges into my class using Edmodo. Ideas such as Quests/Tasks (assignments & projects), Experience Points, and Levels sound odd in education but some teachers have found success with them, improving class involvement. As much as it would be interesting to try, implementing both a flipped classroom and gamification in one year might be tooooooo much.
Last of all is a surprise. I will share later about that one.
Is it any surprise that I have found less than 20 caches this year and it is almost April? We have had a lot more inclement weather this year (DUH! if you follow the news at all) but that has not always been the deterrent. Time has.
While I may remember the days when I had more free time to engage in whatever, I do not always miss them. Sometimes, having a full day can be just as exciting.