For the past two years, I have been very lucky. I got the opportunity to teach with some of the best, most creative, teachers ever International School of Morocco. Working in an environment where we would walk into each others' classrooms and get inspired regularly was wonderful. It always seemed that we were spiraling great teaching ideas off of each other. The ideas that other teachers at this school gave me inspired me to do more for my students, to push myself to allow them new and different learning opportunities, and to expand my ideas of teaching.
Before coming to ISM, I was already a strong, project based teacher with ESL experience and a thirst for technology integration. ISM has a lot of technology for it's students - iPads, iMacs, projectors etc. This allowed me to experiment with lots of new technologies and push my students to experiment with different programs and presentation models. This school encouraged my Edmodo use to build community within my students. This has been especially important for my international, English language learner population, with students from more than 8 different countries.
As a candidate for the PYP (Primary Years Program - precursor to International Baccalaureate), ISM has encouraged me to take my standard pre-fabricated projects that I have always done with students and give over the control of research, project development and evaluation to the students, with me taking more and more of the "guide on the side" role. I found out how much I loved watching my students take control over their own learning and how much more they learned when the ideas they were researching inspired and interested them. Inquiry based lessons and student responsibility for learning is often hard to implement, but these two years I have learned exactly how wonderful they are to have in your classroom.
Tomorrow, I will get on a plane for my new adventure - homeschooling my own children with the lessons I learned these past two years, traveling around the world in an RV, and spending time perfecting my resources to help out other teachers. But first, here are some of my favorite moments from the last two years:
Seeing the creative designs my kids came up with when tasked to make a car that would go the furthest distance:
or to keep a water bottle frozen for the day:
Using the kitchen to further our science lessons by making lolipops to experiment with irreversible and reversible change:
or create a real life model of different types of rocks:
Watching students present their online portfolios to their parents:
Watching my students master technologies that I hadn’t yet mastered: Prezi, Powtoon, iMovie etc. :
Getting a chance to participate in my children’s PE during swimming time – you really learn so much more about your kids when you get them in a pool!
Going on some amazing field trips – from a free range beach trip to explore tide pools, to the inside of factories, to ancient Roman ruins:
Good bye ISM! Thank you for the lessons and memories.