Welcome to my Blog!

Hello and welcome to my blog. It is here that I will be working through various discussion topics related to technology, learning, and most importantly the creation of meaningful and relevant student instruction. I openly welcome your comments, and hope that my insights and presented information works to inspire and assist fellow educators in the effective integration of technology.

In Barcelona with my Girls!

In Barcelona with my Girls!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monitoring the GAME Plan

      With each passing week I continue to make strides towards achieving personal goals by strengthening my confidence and proficiency in relation to the seamless integration of technology into my instruction.  In working through the personal goal setting process it is important to continually monitor myprogress towards established goals and make needed adjustments if required.  Failing to do so could result in problems arising or goals being missed because the needed actions were not taken, or were misaligned with my intended finish line.  In considering the actions I have taken thus far towards achieving my established professional development goals it important to reflect on whether I am finding the information and resources I need to reach my goals; whether I need to modify my planned action strategies to ensure success, and then identifying what have I learned thus far and whether any new questions have arisen.

Information and Resources

In examining my use of information and resources in relation to my personal goals I continue to build on the initiatives of my school and the strength of my colleagues in gaining insight into new resources that will benefit my integration of technology into my instruction.  This year my grade four colleagues and I are endeavouring to integrate the use of digital portfolios into our instruction, as such the element of teamwork and active collaboration is undoubtedly crucial to ensuring the resource’s success.  Additionally our school has begun to utilize the Accelerated Reader program which works to incorporate a high degree of technology in terms of active assessment in identifying students’ zones of proximal development.  In utilizing the resource the technological aspects of the program allow for well aligned assessment and the effective communication of learning goals to both students and their parents.

Needing Modification?

In examining my targeted NETS-T goals and the actions and progress I have made thus far I feel there is no reason to modify my current GAME plan.  I have been able to make measurable progress in relation to both goals and thus far I continue to experience success in relation to finding resources, information, and the incorporating of leadership opportunities into my daily practice.

Learning thus Far…any Questions?

In reflecting on my learning and influenced actions since developing and implementing my technology GAME plan, I believe the biggest thing I have learned thus far is the need to be purposefully selective.  There is what seems to be an infinite amount of resources available to teachers; by working to be selective I can ensure that the resources and information I am integrating into my program are well aligned with the instructional strategies and assessment resources I am currently employing.  In targeting my goals I do not want to completely reinvent the wheel but rather fine tune it to better reflect today’s technology-infused learning environment, thus far my actions have supported this plan of action and I have been able to find information and instructional resources that have worked facilitated technology integration and influenced effectiveness in all core subjects.
In terms of questions arising in relation to the GAME process and the support of colleagues, I do wonder about the goal monitoring process.  I have strategies in place but wonder about the frequency with which I reflect upon my progress.  Undoubtedly there will be weeks when I may not experience the same level of progress as it can take time to assess the effectiveness of newly implemented strategies and resources.  Given this fact what are other people’s thoughts in relation to the monitoring process?  How much is too much and how much is too little?


  1. Trevor,

    We have the Accelerated Reader and STAR program at our school as well. I love it. Do you have the web based program? We bit the bullet and spent the extra money this year for the web based program. It is really nice to have a test for just about any book the students pick up. Also, the STAR reports have more detail. They not only indicate the student's grade level and zone of proximal development, etc. but it tells you how they did on key common core standard questions like: Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, and Vocabulary Acquisition and Use. It also gives you a scale to indicate if they are at/above the benchmark, on watch, intervention, or urgent intervention. It is a great program; I think you will find it beneficial.

    In regards to your question, I think it depends on your goals and on the individual person. As you mention some weeks there will be more progress than others. I think you have to monitor according to how often you are implementing new strategies. Every time you implement something new, I feel you should monitor how well it went and if you need to modify or keep moving forward. I am not sure there is too much monitoring but not monitoring your progress enough could result in not modifying or rethinking your strategies that can help you reach your goal.


  2. Hi Daneen,

    Thank you for the comments. We also went with the web-based resources and thus far have definitely found that the combination of the AR and Star programs provides us with a detailed record of our students' performance in relation to literacy skills. Our librarian has been a busy lady and our library resources should be fully labelled by next week, after which everything will really kick into full swing. I am most interest in seeing how the diagnostic reports and such will aid me with instruction development.

    Thanks for the insights into my initial question. In reading your comments they mirror my own ideas in that I too tend to be more reflective right after making adjustments or implementing new materials, I was just curious what people did during the "slower" times once they have their programs fine-tuned and running smoothly. Like you alluded to "not monitoring your progress enough could result in not modifying or rethinking your strategies that can help you reach your goal" (Hanson, 2012)- so this is likely a case where some is better than none.


  3. Our school recently went to the web-based Accelerated Reader program and teachers have been pretty happy with it. I remember there was some initial concern about students testing at home or cheating, but I feel the program is a great way for elementary students to pick books that are on their level since there really isn't a good leveling system already in place at book stores. My husband, however, hates accelerated reader (he's a high school librarian) as he feels students aren't challenging themselves with more advanced books since they are given a specific reading zone. I can see both points of view, but I remember using AR when I was in elementary school and really enjoyed it (especially the AR store!).

    As for your reflection question, I would say every day is too much and once a month is too little. Our weekly selection for class has been sufficient for me, but I agree with Daneen, that you should reflect if you implement something new.

  4. I think although reflection is key to effective instruction, sometimes if we reflect too much we spend all of our time aimlessly spinning our wheels and making very little progress. I think that weekly or biweekly reflection is sufficient. I am sure there are some months in which more frequent and less frequent reflection are needed considering what is going on in class at the present time.

    I would love to know more information about accelerated reader. As a representaive of our media committee, I mentioned to our media specialist what great results people were seeing with accelerated reader and asked about us purchasing it. She seemed very negative at the time about doing this. Her explanation was that in the past years some teachers used accelerated reader assessments for grades in their gradebook. Do you have any suggestions for avoiding such issues? I woud love for our school to purchase it, but I do know his will require our media specialist to get on board with the idea.

  5. Trevor,
    I am new to digital portfolios and I am curious as to how they work. Is this something your students do at school? How frequently do they need access to computers? Is there technology pieces that have to be completed at home? I have a number of students with no internet access and some without computers at home, so I would have to modify if there is any at home work. Are you scanning their work or is it all input by the student? How do students complete reflections on their work? I do not mean to bog you down with so many questions. If you have any resources you particularly like please pass them along! I am very interested in this idea and your blog posts have got me thinking! Thanks!

  6. Hi Jill,

    In relation to the digital portfolios I am still working through the initial learning curve but in answer to your questions the digital portfolios work the same as a regular portfolio in that you can submit as frequently or infrequently as you wish. We know that not everything a student completes needs to be submitted so you can be selective in what you want to submit. With the submission process the students will need access to a computer and portfolio software, and you may/will need to do some prep work in relation to getting hard copy work scanned into digital versions but after that the students can control the submission process. Currently we do all our portfolio work at school as I also have students who lack the needed computer access...plus in completing it at school I can ensure that students are guided through the process and that submissions are being made correctly and on-time.

    Thanks for all the great questions.