02 January 2016

New Year's Resolutions...

New Year's Resolutions...

I'm not sure that I really believe in making resolutions or not. I know that they are intended for making me a better me and there is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be a better version of yourself but will they end up making me feel bad about myself if I don't attain them? I did a small activity with my students before the Winter Break where we watched two videos of Italian teenagers talking about their resolutions.  I did it as part of a listening comprehension activity followed by a brief writing activity.  I think they enjoyed the videos. I know they could relate to some of the ideas like trying to use your cell phone less.  The video really captured the attachment many of my students (and probably many adults) have to their phones.  Check out the video here.  After they watched the videos, I told them to write a short list of 4-5 buoni propositi per l'anno nuovo, New  Year's resolutions.  Before writing, I told them that they didn't have to necessarily be  "resolutions" but maybe goals, instead.  I also asked them to jot down a few things maybe they thought should be goals of mine as their teacher.  We reiterated some of the ideas from the two videos and I told them my own, which were as follows:

1.  Migliorare il mio insegnamento, Improve my teaching.   This one fits into the category of goals as opposed to resolution.  I am always striving to be the best teacher I can be. I am always open to new ideas and always searching for the best way to get my students engaged. At the start of this school year, I was not using as much technology as I could've been using but I have since implemented many aspects of technology, like Google Classroom and EdPuzzle.  I'm excited that Duolingo and Quizlet now let you set up classrooms for your students so you can monitor their progress and post assignments directly from their site onto your Google Classroom! My students have enjoyed Kahoot! immensely and I have definitely noticed a difference.  But there is always more that can be done, even without technology and it is my goal to search out whatever that more is and bring it into the classroom. 

2.  Fare un gesto di gentilezza ogni mese (anche di più),  Do an act of kindness every month (or more often).  I do believe in "paying it forward" and I do believe in karma. If you want good things to come to you, you know what you need to do. This may seem a little trite but I do think that it's a good goal.  Sometimes, it's too easy to get caught up in negativity.  

3.  Fare più esercizio fisico, Exercise more. Ugh, this one. This is usually a list-topper for many.  It's not a bad idea but so easy to not follow through with.  Food is too good for me to really be on a diet. A life of eating grilled chicken and salad might be ok for others but it's just not a lifestyle I could embrace. It screams of boredom and depravity. So, the only logical alternative is to get moving. I think that this goal might be attainable because the emphasis is on the idea of more as opposed to something so specific like: lose 20 lbs, go to the gym everyday or run 5 miles a day.  Life happens and sometimes, you just can't go to the gym everyday (I'm sure there are plenty of people who will say you need to make the time and it's true but everyday is not feasible for many so I prefer a goal I can meet- just do more than I already do).

4.  Dedicarmi di più al mio blog, Spend more time working on my blog.  Again, here the operative word is more.  If I say, write a post every day, week or even month, I could soon feel like I've failed at my goal.  However, I do enjoy this blog. I don't know how many readers I really have but this experience has been really helpful. I have been able to connect with other teachers and bloggers and it has helped me gain some focus.  Focus on what I do and focus on what I want to do.  If it inspires other readers, that's great too!

5.  Spendere meno, Spend less. This is a tough one but I have to try.  I have always been of the mindset that if I work hard, I deserve to have some of life's rewards.  Don't get me wrong, i am certainly not extravagant and do not need to have expensive things but if I don't want to cook one day (or maybe two), I'll eat out.  If I go into a bookstore to buy a gift for someone, there is almost no way I'm coming out of there without at least one book for me.  Simple, little things.  But these simple, little things all add up and I have to keep my eye on the prize.  If I spend less, I will be able to have the big things, too.  My wife and I dream of having a property in South Carolina and a property in Italy. And we will have them. I just have to spend less to have more. I just read Frances Mayes' book Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life and in one chapter, Frances begins a paragraph with: "ITALY IS ENDLESS." This is so true. I have traveled extensively in Italy and I know I have just grazed the surface.  I want to have my own place in Italy so I can spend the rest of my life exploring endless Italy. 

View of Vico del Gargano in Puglia
Off the beaten path and a great discovery on our family trip in 2014
Well now I am on the road to incorporating these goals into my 2016. This is my first post in the new year. I wish everyone a great year and hope you can reach your goals as well. Now, I'm off to better my teaching - lesson planning awaits. I have so many ideas for the rest of this school year I can't wait to try out. 

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