This year's ending blog post is a very special one. As I have already told you, I am leaving the classroom to go work with other teachers helping them to integrate technology into their classrooms. It was a very hard decision, because I genuinely like being in the classroom with students and watching them grow and succeed over the year just like I watched you this year. I am so proud of all of you. You have exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Even those of you who have struggled, have achieved so much. I still recall talking with some of you who had never been on a computer in school before you came here. There were even students who had never been on the internet or a computer anywhere at all! Now look at all that you have accomplished: you have created websites, blogs, presentations, multimedia projects, you collaborate in Google Docs, give reflective feedback, and publish your work. What an amazing accomplishment! Be proud! As I have said many times before, self-esteem does not come from a teacher telling you that you did a great job or giving you a grade, self-esteem comes from working hard, doing your very best, and producing great work. When you have done your very best, no one ever needs to tell you what a great job you've done, you know it already. But really, when you do this, people can't help but notice - and I have noticed and am proud of you!
I have tried to teach you many things this year, and the most important of them are not about computers at all. In case you didn't notice, let me remind you:
Be Good Citizens: The things you learned in My Digital Life apply to real life as well. Protect yourself, don't be mean to others. don't believe everything you read or are told, and keep your reputation.
It's never too late to fix a mistake: The reason why I let you correct your work without penalty was to inspire you care about your work. Too often student work is turned in and never thought about again, mostly because you feel you can't do anything about it. The same holds true for life, when you make a mistake, go back to it and fix it.
Believe that you can do great things: I have held high standards and asked you to do some very complicated and demanding tasks, mostly because I knew you could do them, but also to show you just how much you can accomplish. Believe me when I say, I am amazed at what you have accomplished.
Examine yourself: I have asked you to look over your own work and grade it with rubrics to teach you how to assess your own work. When you do this, you don't need the teacher to tell you whether you did good or bad, you already know. It works the same with your character. You know what's right and wrong. Look at yourself honestly and, like I said earlier, fix your mistakes.
Help others: We collaborated on many projects, you commented on each others blogs and digital portfolios, you gave feedback and assessed each others projects - in other words, you helped each other. Do the same in real life.
Teach yourself: We live in amazing times. Information on just about anything is just a Google away. You don't have to rely on your teachers to tell you everything. Look it up. Figure it out. Remember, struggle is good! It means you are learning.
Find something you are passionate about: We instituted 20% time this year as an effort to motivate you to finish your work and work on a passion project. When you care about what you do, you do a better job at it. So find something to care about in everything you do.
I wish you all the best as you move on to 8th grade. I am sad that I won't be be here next year and see you around campus, but excited as well for my new opportunity. I hope that you are excited for your new opportunity. You have learned so much this year, and come so far. Next year, you will have the opportunity to do even greater things, building on the skills you have developed this year. Go for it! Make me proud, more importantly, make yourself proud!
Well, its time to go. Its the last day of school, and summertime beckons. I don't like saying goodbye. It seems so final, so I will say Fare Well.