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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Reflecting on TOSAing in the 2016-17 Year & Looking Forward to This Year

Although the 2017-18 school year has already officially started for me, I did want to take a moment to first reflect on my work from last year. As I'm making plans for this school year, it helps to look back at last year's successes as well as areas in which I can improve my work with teachers, staff and students.

So first, the areas of success...

  1. I partnered with eight teachers last year to write project-based digital making & computer science lessons for their classes, in grades TK-5. Working with those teachers exposed both they and their colleagues to a form of making that most had not seen before, and built excitement for bringing more digital making and computer science into their general education classrooms.
  2. The "Math Revolution" as Jo Boaler calls it, has officially made it's way to CambellUSD. I hosted two 3-day long "21st Century Math" PDs early in the year and had unprecedented interest! Nearly 40 teachers signed up for the first workshop series and about 30 for the second...making these the largest math learning circles, by far, that I've ever held! We talked about everything from visual math tasks to inquiry-based learning, blended learning to student choice in math. And with follow-up coaching and co-planning embedded into both learning circles, I was able to watch math lessons evolving first hand last year. Number talks, Which One Doesn't Belong? and Estimation 180 were some of the most popular tasks to make their way into classrooms.
  3. Breakout mania reached my district in the last month and a half of school after I facilitated a
    BreakoutEDU game for our Technology Teacher Leaders. After that game, I helped facilitate 16 Breakout games in classrooms in a matter of just 30 days! (And several of those teachers that I worked with then went on to co-facilitate with others on their staff in those last few weeks of school!). 16 games may not sound like a lot, but when you're resetting locks and prepping Breakout boxes 3x a week, it definitely feels like a lot! I was excited to see so many teachers and students get so excited about their game-based form of learning.
  4. 110 individual teachers-- wow! My colleagues definitely kept me pleasantly busy last school year and I am excited to be able to to say that in just my second year as a TOSA, I was able to learn and collaborate with so many talented teachers in my district.

Next steps for this school year...

As I embark on my 3rd year TOSAing in CampbellUSD, I have a couple of goals for myself this year, based on the last 2 years of work:

  1. I am super passionate about expanding computer science education in my district, and with just 2 more classes to go to complete the Computer Science Authorization for my credential, one of my goals this year is to continue to grow CS instruction in CampbellUSD. I already have one unit in the works with a 4th grade teacher who reached out the first week of school, and I plan to get in touch with a couple more teachers in the coming weeks to see if they're interested in co-planning & demoing for their colleagues a fleshed out CS integrated plan this school year.
  2. Bring CodeClub to at least one of our schools. Unfortunately, bussing schedules tend to rule the world, but I'm hoping to find a way to schedule either a before school or after school CodeClub at one of our sites as a model for others sites. I also want to invite parents and teachers in to join the students at CodeClub so that they can learn more about computer science concepts hands-on and experience the math, science and ela connections in coding that helps some of our students understand those subject areas in ways they may not have before.
  3. Along with my CS goal, I also want to introduce more teachers to in my district to digital making. I've already included a couple of lessons into our new online personalized PD platform (via Alludo Learning) and, along with continuing to demo and co-teach digital making lessons in classrooms, I hope to plan a couple of in-person workshops for teachers to learn more about Raspberry Pi, Scratch, and more!
  4. Focus my support. I was so happy to work with so many amazing educators last year, but
    it's hard to follow up regularly with 110 people. The most impactful work happened during long term projects and collaboration with teachers. There were 2 classrooms last year in which I worked co-planning & co-teaching with teachers over a significant period of time-- those were the classrooms where we saw the most student growth. This year, I'd like to find 2-3 more teachers who want to partake in a similar support model.
I am excited about the possibilities this year brings, and can't wait to get started!

1 comment:

  1. Amanda, let me know if you want to expand into seventh grade. It would be great to have you come to CMS and work with our classes during Genius Hour to pull kids from Alicia's and my cores who have an interest in computer science. There is currently an empty room next to ours.