State of My Classroom

Parents, Students, School Board Members, distinguished PLN and my fellow teachers:

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating all of the 6th graders for successfully making it through their first semester of Junior High. That can be a daunting challenge and you have all met this challenge with enthusiasm and passion.

It is no secret that not everyone has enjoyed or agreed with every single decision I have made, assignment I have given, or disciplinary intervention I have written. However, I believe that the open and honest conversations we have had are what sets our classroom apart.

Students have stepped forward on behalf of their learning and spoke their mind. This is encouraged and will continue to be encouraged as we move forward into the second half of the school year. In addition, parents have been given and will always be given opportunities and freedom to express concerns and ideas. We need all parties on board collaborating to keep this classroom moving into the future of learning.

We are poised for progress. This week alone we will be connecting via skype to a classroom on the other side of the country. Plans are in the works to connect with classrooms in Canada, California, and China all with goals of collaborating and pushing our learning beyond the boundaries of our classroom walls. I will not stand by with technology idly sitting, when it can be used to further student learning and connect us with unlimited potential.

My classroom will continue to knock down barriers placed on us by school policies written prior to existing technologies. We will continue to model responsible use and digital citizenship as we already have and work within the system to push the boundaries. Technology in this class will not be used for the sake of technology but to further student learning.

We need to be innovative in our work. I promise that I will continue to find numerous ways to engage and teach students so that all children have access to success. In return I will ask that students not settle for mediocrity in their education and advocate when they are being short changed. Also, I will ask parents to pull their children away from video games and ipods and talk to them. Engage your children in conversations about their learning and ask questions. And if you as a parent have a concern I implore you to seek me out and talk to me. It is your right as a parent to be involved and connected to my classroom and your child’s learning.

We do great things.

From the book trailers and talking heads, this classroom has produced quality work beyond comparison. We will continue to serve as beacons of self-directed learning and collaborative workers. Mediocrity is not and will not be in our vocabulary or in our actions.

We do great things.

Students in this class are given choice on how they will provide evidence of learning. Standardization will not become the norm and will be avoided at all cost. Students will learn and achieve at their own pace and in their own manner.

We are a great classroom that will continue to evolve and become even greater.

Thank you and may Dr. Seuss bless you and our classroom.

8 comments:

kwaussie said...

Congratulations to all of you on completing a 'connected' semester. It sounds like your classroom is very like mine, a place where students and teachers are allowed to have great 'thinks'and to share them with others.
We are just about to start our school year here in Aus. We don't have a class blog yet, but we will soon. If you are keen we'd love to share some ideas with you guys.

Anonymous said...

Justin,
I wish my child could be in your classroom! You have once again displayed your love for students and their learning. If only all schools were filled with your caliber of teaching. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Obviously, your name is Josh and not Justin. Wow! It's been a long long day. Sorry, Josh!

Noriko Nakada said...

Keep fighting the good fight, Mr. Stump. I'm over here in Los Angeles fighting along side you for students and their families. The state of your classroom, despite all the chaos outside, sounds excellent!

Catlin Tucker said...

I love this! Writing a state of my classroom address is genius. I just finished listening to President Obama; I felt hopeful, inspired and more confident in the direction our country is heading. It would be so nice to provide students with those same feelings about my class in a State of My Classroom address.

It also requires the instructor to take a step back. To think of where they have been and what they have accomplished. Then to think ahead to the goals still left to pursue. It is a great exercise in reflection- the piece of teaching so often neglected.

You mentioned connecting with other countries, which sounds exciting. How are you facilitating that?

I teach high school English and also feel a need to embrace technology and the potential it has to transform traditional classrooms into learning communities. My online discussion site- Collaborize Classroom- has allowed me to truly engage all students in dialogue about our class and curriculum. I am almost embarrassed that it took me so long to find a learning platform that was the right fit. Now that I have found it, I realize I can be so much more effective, efficient and innovative. Plus students benefit from hearing each others' perspectives, opinions and ideas.

Thank you again for an inspiring post!

Ian Kelly said...

Josh,

Loved reading your state of the classroom. It was really inspiring and I can really sense your commitment to innovation in the name of what is best for students.

I hope that other teachers will read your writing and be inspired.

Thanks for sharing!

Ian

Mrs. Tenkely said...

*like*. Carry on!

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Thanks for the great feedback. I enjoyed writing the post because it helps keep me grounded in why I do this job. kwaussie, I would love to get in contact with your classroom...