Saturday, May 9, 2015

5 EPIC FAILS This Year...What I've Learned

Here's a screenshot of our class blog.  Here's a link. There are some beautiful pages, but most of it is blank. It's my

EPIC FAIL #1: Class Blog

Last summer I was inspired by everyone in my PLN to "tell my story", "break down the walls", "invite parents into the classroom via social media", "share everything" and "be transparent". I had good intentions! I liked the way that Weebly has drop down menus that lead to other pages. Even though it was new to me, and I had no idea how to make a website/blog using it, I did it anyway. I spent hours on it! I did have an old blog so I was able to copy/paste but it wasn't a seamless process for me. I'd heard how easy it was to use- just drag-n-drop. Easy, right! Well, apparently, not for me. A lot of parts were easy. But a lot of it wasn't so easy for me. That's when I got stuck! Because starting the year is a hectic time and last summer was even more hectic than the usual, I never did follow through with my intentions. My plan was to blog, have students take turns blogging each day, and to post pictures, videos and projects. I WANTED to do it all! I didn't take into account the fact that much of my time was going to be spent working on my own schooling. I didn't know that a whole new reading/language arts program was going to be dumped on me two days before school started. I didn't expect a lot of the things that happened.

EPIC FAIL #2: This Blog

I don't want to be negative, but my vision for this blog is definitely a fail. I am not a blogger....YET. I may get there some day. But, I haven't been consistent. I'm still fighting the feelings of having nothing to say or offer the world. I don't have a niche or theme to the blog. It's very plain in appearance. I don't consider myself as a writer...YET. I have the settings set to public, but I don't think of my blog as being public. So far, it's just a place to vent. If I'm truly honest, it helps to take away the guilt feelings when everyone talks about the importance of blogging and reflection. I KNOW it's important! I KNOW it helps. I'm inspired every day by the blogs of others. I tell myself that "this time I'll write consistently" even if it's really about nothing at all. Life gets in the way. I haven't made it a top priority. You make time for the things that are truly important to you.

EPIC FAIL #3: The Gamification of my Class

I love it when I gamify my class! I love everything about it! I love using games within the structure for kids to learn. I love giving badges, having leaderboards, and watching the motivation of my students skyrocket. It just didn't happen this year like I've done before. I used games- lots of online games for learning but that's different! I taught history lessons in particular using simulations. But, honestly, it was subpar. I didn't feel like I had the time to devote to the simulations. I've had my class set up to use Classcraft forever. It didn't happen. There's a tiny bit of hope that maybe I could try it (a highly modified shortened version) but the calendar is not being my friend. I didn't even award badges for simple things this year. It was an epic fail!

EPIC FAIL #4: Integrating Tech

This isn't a complete fail. I did integrate a lot of tech based on my abilities and access to devices. I wanted to accomplish so much MORE! I wanted to be at a point where I wouldn't have to think about it. Unfortunately, I do think about tech all the time. Mostly, it's about when and not what. I'm scheduling the computer lab and iPads for every possible minute that I can. It makes a schedule very choppy. I hate it! I envision a paperless classroom where kids are working on all kinds of differentiated and personalized projects. My attempts to FLIP weren't as successful as previous years. I even tried the "in class" flipped idea. I didn't get there this year. It's disappointing to say the least! 

EPIC FAIL #5: More Epic Fails Than I Care To List!

You'd Think I'd Learn By NOW!

It's always recommended that baby steps are better when you're trying new things. I've never been the type of person to do that! I jump in! I jump in and doggy paddle to save my life! It would be better in so many ways if I'd just start small and build from there. I KNOW this! Why don't I do this? Consequently, I'm at the end of the school year falling far below the expectations that I had for myself! I could beat myself up, but I'm proud of so many other accomplishments. 

My Biggest Accomplishment This Year

is putting myself "out there" more. This IS an area where I take baby steps. I know that I have a long road to travel. I don't know why others seem to be effortlessly so public. It seems like it's without much thought or hesitance. I envy their quick wit, ability to think on their feet, their professionalism, and presence. I wish I could have that kind of confidence! I still don't feel comfortable in front of cameras of any type. That's probably related to one of my self-esteem issues. Slowly, I'm finding my way. The "box" for me is a nesting box. I have layers and layers to break down. I've spent my whole life building walls as a form of protection from being hurt. It may take a while to break them back down. As it turns out, one of my biggest accomplishments this year has little to do with teaching. It's  all about connecting with a support team that's helping me to discover more about myself. I know. It's pretty pathetic that I'm as old as I am and talking about discovering more about myself. But, life is a journey and we all learn in different ways and times. 

I have to keep moving forward! Keep learning! Keep trying new things! I don't want to make excuses! I can accept failure, but I don't like it. The important part is to pick myself up and keep going. I'm not happy with the status quo. I have to keep going!


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