Friday, January 1, 2016

What I Learned in 2015: Thoughts from a Post-Secondary Teacher

The end of a year is a time for reflection. I've linked up with Secondary Sara and many other secondary bloggers to hopefully let you learn from my experiences this year.

One thing that I'm really proud of making progress on is my organization. I've started utilizing my outlook calendar much more (though I could just as easily use google calendar.)  I've color coded all my appointments, classes, office hours etc.  I'm even starting to block out time to work on specific projects/grading and more! I also use the "task list" feature to keep track of emails I need to respond to and items I need to do as well. I just started this in the last month of the semester so I can't wait to see how much it helps me if I use it from the start of the semester through till the end.

I tried several new things with my classes this semester. Two of which were very very popular with my students.  First, I had my students conduct H.O.T. book talks (higher order thinking).  Group leaders were given sheets to come up with 3 questions each of varying levels of difficulty using the concept of Bloom's Taxonomy. During the actual discussions I said nothing. Well, once in awhile I reminded the class as a whole that several people hadn't spoken yet.  But other than that it was entirely student led. It was interesting to see which topics they gravitated towards.

The second activity that students seemed to really like was the last assignment of the semester.  I randomly assigned them controversial topics and had them research them.  Each student had to write a 2 page position paper for AND against their topic.  Then, in class, I told each of them whether they'd be "for" or "against" and had them do mini debates.  Several students liked that they had to consider both sides of the issue.  Especially as the election draws nearer I think it's important to show  students how to look at multiple viewpoints and make educated choices.

As I prepare for spring semester 2016 I plan on improving upon my online course delivery.  I also hope to continue to find innovative lessons that engage my students while helping them master important skills. 

Thanks for reading!


  1. I love that you use Outlook to schedule your to-do list. I know I need all the help I can get to finish some things that I procrastinate doing!

  2. Prioritizing tasks is something I really struggle with. I always want to do what I want to do and not always what needs to get done on a given day. I like your idea of assigning specific times of your day to specific tasks. This could be very helpful to me as I look at the new year!

  3. What great ideas on how to use Outlook! I'd love to learn more about how you use it and what impact it has on your organisation!
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