Here’s to the New Year! (A Little Planning Break)


I’ve been spending so much time keeping up with reform talk, political issues, writing a book, and watching my amazing grandson grow that I almost lost track of the time!  It’s already July 19, which means that I will be officially reporting for duties in less than a month and will be setting up a brand new classroom in two weeks.  If you’re new here, you may not have heard that I just transferred from one district in North Carolina to a neighboring district.  Now I work in the district in which I live and where my daughter goes to school.  Good move.  But that’s not all.

Go Eagles!

The best part is that I’ve moved from a huge district that is experiencing some pretty wild growing pains and is going to be adjusting to a new superintendent after not having one for a whole year.  Technology is scattered at best and teachers are having a very hard time adjusting to the increasing amounts of testing that the district is subscribing to.

My new district is considerably smaller, more closely knit, and is in its third year of 1:1 technology implementation.  I’ve spent the past two years planning (dreaming?) of how I would use 1:1, but was always missing one thing: the technology.  This year, it’s coming to fruition and I’m just a little overjoyed about it!  My building administrators are the courageous types that believe that teachers know best how to teach, and will take the risks associated with letting teachers take risks.  It only makes sense–when you roll out a new initiative like 1:1, there’s plenty of PD that can be done (and this district does deliver), but the rest is up to the creative and innovative teaching in the classrooms.

Only one more statement about the comparison between the two districts: the change is refreshing.  It’s like walking out of a dark, smoky room into a wide-open, sunny field.  I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, I love science!  I’m a die-hard STEM teacher who truly believes that our next generation must be scientifically and mathematically literate.  (Don’t worry, ELA and SS teachers, that totally means that they should be able to communicate legibly and deeply in the English language, and that global understanding of history and culture are very important.)  I also love project-based learning, inquiry and discovery, and creativity and innovation.  I’ve taken the buzzwords of the past five years and made them my passion.

So, again, wow!  What a great year this is gearing up to be!  I can’t wait to share my ideas, my successes, my trials, my mistakes, and my reflections.


P.S. Seriously, if you aren’t blogging right now, get started!  This feels great!


About Kris Nielsen
Kris L. Nielsen has been a middle grades educator and instructional leader for ten years in New Mexico, Oregon, and North Carolina. He is a graduate of Western Governors University’s Master of Science Education program, with emphasis on child development and instructional technology. Kris is an activist against corporate education reforms and has had his writing featured in several online magazines and blogs, including those of the Washington Post and Diane Ravitch. Kris currently lives in New Mexico with his young son and beautiful wife.

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