Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GAME Plan: Progress

Setting goals and trying to accomplish them is a major part of teaching.  I only have been teaching for 3 and a half years now, but I have accomplished a lot.  A GAME plan is not something that we should have just created for our master’s class, but something, which we should have to go by in our everyday teaching.  The game plan that I created for this class are the goals that I am currently working on.  Teaching technology gives me an advantage over other teachers because the students I have are surrounded by technology almost every minute of every day.  They were born into a technological world and as part of my job; I need to show them the “educational” way to incorporate these technologies into their lives.  Discussing and interfacing with current technologies is what I have been doing, but I need to incorporate more real life situations.  I have found that my students connect on a deeper level with matching something to what they are interested in.  I deal with more of the machinery technology then with the computer technology because my school district is a low-income community.  I am teaching my students a life long skill they will help them greatly.  In my 8th grad technology class, I spent a couple weeks teaching the tools so that I knew my students could use them.  We then made a mini project so that the students could get the feel for what we are doing and how each machine works.  Now we are in the middle of a major project and about 85 percent of my students are working right along with no problems.

I have been putting a bunch of different mini projects and will start implementing them throughout my classes.  These are more for skill builder than anything.  I have a hard time getting my students to be creative and the only way I can see getting them to think “outside” the box is to make them practice.  I cannot just tell them to be more creative, I must show them.

As a young teacher, I know I still have a lot to learn.  I want to offer my students the best education they can get with the resources that I have available to me.  To accomplish this, I attend at least one conference every year, which is only on technology.  I do a ton of research online looking for new things that I can incorporate into my classroom, and most importantly, I am making community connections.  My first couple of years were a bit intimidating and I kind of kept to myself.  Now that I have some years under my belt and have been granted tenure, I have been working on many things.  I have developed a few community connections, which have benefited my classes greatly.  I have developed a website and have been keeping the community updated with what is going on in my class.  The outpouring of support for my classes has been amazing.  By keeping my community updated, they are in full support of what I am doing and teaching my students.


  1. Ben,

    I agree that having a GAME plan should take place on a regular basis. I think that many educators go through this process in one form or another, or at least I would hope so.

    I also struggle with my students’ lack of creativity. I also recently taught my students the proper use and technique involved with using scroll saws, band saws, and drill presses. Students were very intimidated at first, but most ended up enjoying the experience. I wanted them to practice using each machine by making something out of a block of wood. Most students planned random cuts and holes without making a cohesive product. One student, however, made a number cube (die). The other students saw how he had an actual product which was recognizable and were jealous. I allowed them to practice an additional day, and the result was very positive. Being flexible paid off big time in this situation. My students ended up with a product of which they could be proud. This also got them excited to make the dragster cars we have been designing for a month now.

    It’s great to hear that you have community support and interest. I have found this to be a great motivational tool for the students. The final project in my pre-engineering class involves the students planning and building boats made out of cardboard. This takes approximately a month to complete and at the end, we take a field trip to a local park where students actually get into the boat and have to row. The school as a whole gets involved in donating cardboard and classroom space to “house” the boats as they are being completed. When the other teachers are involved and interested in their projects, the students are more motivated to do well.


  2. Ben,
    I can definitely relate to you when you say “I cannot tell them to be more creative, I must show them.” I too have found that students are so used to try to “find the right answer” that they struggle thinking outside of the box. I teach 7th grade students and most of their previous experiences in the classroom have been “playing the game of school,” where they find out exactly what the teacher wants and tell them the “right answer.” I find that my students are frustrated with me when I won’t tell the “how many sentences” their paragraphs have to be or how many details they have to use from the text to support their thinking. I try to challenge my students to think outside the box, and provide them with real world lessons/activities that don’t have a right or wrong answer. When students do work with text, I often reword the questions to ensure that they use higher level thinking skills rather than simply regurgitate what was read.

    I also applaud your efforts for making community connections. I found myself hunkering down my first few years, but have found that now I have more confidence in what I am doing, I am reaching out more often. How has your school embraced technology? Are you one of the teachers on the fore front or do you have a support group within your school?


  3. Being that our students were born into all these technologies, they expect to use some sort of technology. Like you said, we do need to show them the “educational” way to implement them. It sounds like you have a good handle on our plan and you really understand your students. Understanding your students and what works best for them will be very beneficial in the long run. Teaching your students and showing them how to be critical thinkers can be a difficult task but they cannot do it on their own. They must develop these skills over time. I too, have a lot to learn and I gain more experience every day. Attending conferences is a great way to improve. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Research is very time consuming but there are so many resources available if you know where to look. Creating community connections is a great way to connect and learn about your students. The website is a great way to keep in contact with parents and let them know what is going on. It is easy to keep to yourself starting out. I have done the same thing at times, especially since there is often so much negativity with some of the older teachers. Keeping the lines of communication open is important for being successful and growing as a professional.

  4. Ben,
    Like you, I have only been teaching for a couple of years. To be exact, this is my second year. You are right when you mention how important it is to set goals constantly throughout the school year. This is something that I have also learned in the past few years.
    I agree that you need to incorporate more real life situations into your lesson plans. Your students will benefit so much from true life experiences, and they will definitely remember these lessons. What types of projects are you doing with your students?
    It is neat that you are attending conferences each year to learn about different types of technology. I bet this is truly a rewarding experience; however, reaching out to your community and learning from others is the absolute best way to learn about new things. Good luck with all of your endeavors.