Six weeks ago I shared that I was going to start thinking about what I was going to do differently in the next school year, and I invited readers to also share their answers to the question: “What are you going to do differently next year?”

The thoughtful responses were overwhelming — fifty teachers and administrators shared their reflections.  Because of that number, I’m writing this post in two parts, and should have Part Two ready in the next day or so.  I’m publishing them in the order they were contributed.

I’ll be writing my answers to the question in an upcoming “Teacher Magazine” article, and will be linking to, and sharing excerpts from this blog post and Part Two. These answers are  inspirational and educational!

If you haven’t already shared your response, please feel free to do so in the comments section of this post.

Here are readers’ answers to the question: “What Are You Going To Do Differently Next Year?”

Gregory Hill:

I teach Spanish, grades K-12 at a school in St. Louis, Mo. Next year I am prioritizing four things:

1.) Clearer scaffolding of student understanding on both technical and language knowledge/skills.

2.) Video documentation of steps required to do a task with computer, ipod, flip cam, etc.

3.) More appropriate utilization of different teaching styles for tasks. This involves a more nuanced understanding of what contexts or modalities better facilitate specific sorts of learning.

4.) Increased communication with students at other schools via social networks or skype (only was able to try skype once this year and it was a fantastic experience.

I also want to become a better leader at my school, which includes helping craft a positive behavior plan and professional development committees for technology.

Gayla Thompson:

We will have a new principal next year – sixth one in five years! I plan to get certain websites approved for use before school starts so we can incorportate more Web 2.0 activities in the classroom without being blocked, and frustrated.


As the Director of Instructional Technology I will customize technology training sessions to help our faculty and administrators reach the goals that they selected in their Individual Plans for 21st Century (IP21), our new PD model for 2010/2011. This is a 180 degree shift from ‘one size fits all’ PD model.

Harold Shaw:

I am a 7th/8th grade Special Education Teacher and Resource Room English Language Arts in a rural school in Maine.

1. Next year I plan to integrate both UDL and technology more into the 7th grade RR ELA curriculum than I was able in my first year back to teaching.

2. Learn how to use Google Sites to help increase communications within my classroom and to home.

3. Volunteer to participate in the Technology, RTI and ELA curriculum committees and help coach the Cross Country team.

4. Remember that teaching is what I do, not who I am and make sure that I make time for me too. In other words loose that extra 30 pounds and keep it off.
Basically, take myself out of my comfort zone and push myself to not retreat to my shell as often.

Debra Baker:

I want to use more short videos as writing prompts. If anyone has any ideas of great ones, let me know.


I’m a Teacher mentor and technology integrator k-12

My goals for next year:

-continue to realize that everyone is at different stages of technology integration

-make individual goals to bump every teacher I support up by one stage

I picked these goals because I’m typically a positive person but sometimes the lack of true technology integration just gets me down. I need to meet everyone where they are and move them up

Ian Byrd:

I plan on incorporating higher level reading into my gifted classroom. I also want to work on grouping my writers to provide more relevant teaching for each student.


I want to try to do 2 things next year:

1st I want to make homework tasks more meaningful and more likely for students to participate using things like BrainPop, our school learning forum and ideas like blogging.

2nd as a Professional Development leader in my school, I want to encourage networked learning between teachers and other staff in school.


We are looking at doing blogfolios with students next year and since this will be my second year as school principal and I have become more settled, I would like to spend a lot of time in the classroom facilitating and supporting staff and students in this endeavour.

I have spent a lot of time in the classroom this year, but the focus has been on building relationships. I really want to be able to really focus on the support side as an administrator so we can really help our kids take off.

Brandi Martin:

My Photo 2’s create a movie portfolio at the end of the semester that’s always rushed. The light bulb went on, finally, I realized we should start it after the very first project, and add a little every time we do another project. Periodic showings of films in progress might also remind the poky ones that if their movie is only half as long as the others, perhaps they’ve only done half the work, and that’s why they’re earning approximately half the grade. The end of the year always seems to keep these well meaning time-impaired ones by surprise.

Patrick Larkin:

In an effort to improve visibility and communication, I will be moving out of my principal’s office next year. I will be moving my desks to different parts of the building (hallways, lobby, etc). I think we need to break down some of our old misconceptions about the way we structure schools physically, so I will be doing a little experiment and seeing what I learn from it.

Sue Densmore:

I plan to explore ways to integrate more web 2.0 tools into my music classes – perhaps somehow utilizing blogging.

I’d also like to convince more of my fellow professionals of the worth of the many tools available. This will require me to advocate for a general wi-fi setup and allowing kids to use electronics in school.

Kelly Alford:

I want to focus on vocabulary more. After taking a training using Marzano’s ideas on vocabulary instruction, I felt I could make instruction better by using some of these strategies. I want my students to create “visual dictionaries” by using digital cameras to take pictures of anything that would describe the words.We use Blabberize and Animoto a lot for other projects, and I think I am going to use these as a way to put the project together. I am sure between now and September a member of my PLN will send me another source to use!


I’m a Pre-K through 5 instructional supervisor. My goals for next year are to:

-Differentiate professional development opportunities for teachers

-Provide teachers with the opportunity to share their areas of expertise with other teachers

-Do a better job of modeling technology use in addition to providing resources


I am a Grade 1 teacher in Ancaster, Ontario, and I just started using Web 2.0 tools in my classroom this year. I want to continue to use these tools next year, but maybe even introduce some of them earlier (such as group blogs right away and individual blogs right after Christmas). I just started doing small group Skype calls with my students, and I would like to do more of these next year. I would also like to use the iPod Touch and the Livescribe pen in my class next year. We just purchased these to use in the classroom, and I’m excited to implement something new.

Isabel Pessoa:

I would like to explore using more Web 2.0 Tools to enhance classroom lessons. I have worked a bit with the following: Google Docs, Skype, Wordle and some others. I would like to use these tools more regularly and begin using other tools. I would also like to work Globally with other classes. I worked with a class in Virginia this year and the students found this to be very valuable. I would like to do things like this more frequently next year.

Melody Watson:

I entered the 21st C at the end of January this year. I am very excited about next year with my grade 2/3’s. Next year I want to:

1. Have the students use their individual blogs ( we had a class blog this year and only added individual blogs in the last two weeks) for web-based portfolios.

2. Get involved in collaborative projects with other classes around the world.

3. Have my students use podcasting to create a news type show for our blog.


As a middle school principal, this will be my fourth year in my current assignment. We have worked diligently to re-culture the school environment and build a collaborative culture. The whole process has been largely facilitated by me. It is time for me to “back off,” and allow others in the building to take on important leadership roles. It is time for me trust others to see through our most important initiatives. If anyone has any related thoughts, please share.

Roderick Vesper:

I teach High School Studio Arts (Photography, computer based, AP.)

I have 2 goals that I have targeted so far this “off season.”

1) I need to have a system for having one on one meetings with every one of my students to give direct feedback and encouragement, as well as challenges. I have noticed that the students really respond well to this kind of interaction, and I haven’t been giving it to everyone consistently.

2) I want the class website to become a more social space for my students. This past year it wasn’t any different from my desk. A place to give hand outs and turn things in. I want to implement strategies that get my students thinking about their art making and talking about their processes with one another.


Within my classroom, I have a couple of goals next year. First of all, I hope to use twitter more in my planning and instruction. Second, I want to encourage more collaboration among the students. I want them to collaborate among students in their class, students in their own school, and students outside our school walls.

I also have a few more “simple” administrative goals that I did a blog post about.

Jo-Anne Jackson:

Current Middle School Art Teacher, Leadership Team Member, and Doctoral Student–Past 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher,

1) Find ways for students to be more actively engaged in their own assessment (self-evaluations)

2) Find ways to operate classroom with less use of paper and more use of digital methods (online testing, incorporate use of cell phones to text and/or test, written reports/presentations delivered to drop boxes) etc.

3) I want to strive to always come across with a positive, happy attitude and be very attentive to my students. I do this now, but I want to do it more. I was inspired yesterday by the attitude I was greeted with by a server at a local restaurant and I thought: This is how a good teacher should be.

Ronna Cochran:

Current high school biology teacher, technology director and part-time administrator (special program director)

My plan for next year includes the following:

1) Adding incorporation of more Web 2.0 tools plus new standards into my biology curriculum. I would aspire to becoming “completely paperless”.

2) We have been 1:to:1 computing for the past two years. I’m exploring the idea of netbooks versus tablet notebooks and cloud computing.

3) Increasing the collaboration via web 2.0 tools between teachers and teachers and teachers and students and teachers and administration.


I teach 10th grade American Literature & 11th grade British Literature. Next year I plan to spend less time in my course anthology and more time allowing my students to absorb and appreciate the period pieces. We have been sort of forced into a survey course system, but moving to block scheduling will give me more time to read, write, and roll around with the authors. More integrated projects, more student led discovery. Listening more and talking less. More Socratic seminar and less lecture.

Louise Maine:

1. I plan to really revise as much of the whole curriculum as I can. I have tinkered here and there since becoming a wikicentric classroom, but have to look even deeper. It helps that this is the revision year for science and that the state of PA is going to exit exams instead of an 11th grade test on all subjects. I want to align to standards though I don’t advocate teaching to a test. The goal to create a variety of assessments (mostly formative) that can help us and also lead to a local assessment that could be adopted by the state. Lofty, I know. I will be attending state level conferences as part of a leadership team to make data driven decisions. I am planning to show how data influenced is a better use and how to use technology/collaboration/different strategies for effective teaching.

2. I have used blogging rarely in class and this will be the year to increase it in all classes.

Mel Buendia:

This year I am moving to a new city, new job, new everything. I teach English for secondary school, and I will start with Geography.
Basicallly, I want to try more School 2.0 tools, and remember that the lesson must be attractive and engaging for my students, which I dont know yet!!!!!! aaaggh!!

It´s a great opportunity to make things new, from the very beginning!!

Stay tuned for Part Two and, remember, if you haven’t responded yet,  you can always leave your answer in the comments section of this post!