Archive

Posts Tagged ‘middle school’

1st Quarter….Check

November 9, 2010 4 comments

1st quarter of the school year is on the books and three left to go!  It was a busy quarter in many ways.  I implemented some new policies, introduced students to Edmodo, gutted and redid my school homepage, became more active on Twitter, and managing the middle school yearbook club.

Somethings went smoothly and others were a tad bumpy.  Edmodo has been a interesting twist in my classroom.  Not only has it replaced email, but has actually made me get organized!  I post my lesson plans everyday for students to see, I use it for collecting homework, and sharing files/links.  It has really changed the way I do my class.  Recently I was honored to teach other teachers how to use Edmodo at our last district in-service.  You can see an example of what I taught teachers by following this link: http://bit.ly/bvRvxH.  It was a pretty successful in-service and many teachers are now interested in Edmodo.

On the bumpy side my homepage revisions have not been as smooth.  I am a little happy with some new additions and changes, but I do not stay on-top of it enough.  The time I should be spending on it has been used tweaking Edmodo.  I am sure there is a way I can integrate the two, but there is just not enough time in the day.  One other problem is I do not have a way to monitor page views/visits right now.  Since the page is hosted through the school, I do not have access to the information.  Also, to view my page a person has to go through a complicated process, which I feel hinders parents visiting it.  Sometime in December I will  do a survey and see how much of an impact the website and/or Edmodo has.

Advertisements

Ideas and iPads

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently I gave my 7th and 8th grade students an assignment to come up with ways their local school board could help prepare them for the future.  To get them thinking I: had them watch “Did You Know? v3.0”, they checked out U.S.News’ top high schools in America, and I presented some ideas I recently heard from Yong Zhao (a Michigan State professor and author).  To further help the thought process, I had students brainstorm and share their ideas via Infinote.  Infinote is a iPad app where you basically use sticky notes to record thoughts and they can be saved in a variety of image formats and even PDFs!

The students really enjoyed using the iPad and they found it engaging.  The problem was I only have one iPad, and in a classroom of 25 students it took two class periods for every student to use it.  For most of my students, this was the first time they ever saw an iPad in real life, so it was worth the wait.  The results of their thinking can be found at the bottom of this post.

An interest side-effect of this project though showed up a few days later.  A student came up-to after class and asked if I knew how to create apps for the iPad or Android OS, which I stated, “No, but we can learn!”  So last week I spent every homeroom working with this student to download the necessary software to create Android apps (iPad is next week).  Word has spread and now I am up-to two students wanting to work on this project.  It seems that even with minimal exposure to something (the iPad), students will gather like a moth to a flame.

Below are the students (7th and 8th graders) thoughts via Infinote.  Please note I did not change or edit any students thought.

Changing Gears

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment

This year I challenged myself to use more and new technology.  It was a slow start in the beginning, but I have made some big changes lately.  One large change was switching from email to Edmodo as the means of classroom communication.  This has been a beneficial change and one that the students have embraced.  When I originally stated last year to a tech committee that I decided to stop using email some people did not agree.  It seems now though they would have to reconsider their opposition when looking at comments recently made by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, that only 11% of teens email daily.  Edmodo has also allowed me to stream line my grading and classroom discussion.  Here is an example of a classroom discussion that was held via Edmodo, “Leave it on or Turn it off.”

While using Edmodo I found I needed a better way to get my instructions to students with little interruption from me.  I finally decided to start using my school issued website and got my butt in gear.  I found that I could use a built-in calendar function and PDFs to tell students what they need to do in a fast and productive manner.  So far this has been working pretty well and students seem to be catching on.  You can see what I have so far by clicking this link: Assignment Sheets.

The last thing I have only recently started doing is screen capture videos.  This past summer I found myself doing tech trainings for my school district on how to use Microsoft Office 2010 and our new Microsoft network.  It became apparent I needed to do something more then just printouts of instructions and looked into screen capture software.  I came across a program called Jing from a fellow educator and have found it to be excellent!  The free version (which I have been using) creates video screen captures with audio in 5 minute segments in ShockWave Flash format.  It has worked seamlessly so far and is easy to use.  I only recently created a video for more students on how to create Block Style Letters.  This seemed to make a big difference in class and students seemed to really like it!  I am polling them next week in Edmodo, so numbers to come soon.

Well, that is about all I have achieved so far in the first 3 weeks of school.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything keeps going smoothly.

Computers Lower test scores?

July 15, 2010 1 comment

As I was checking some articles out on Digg the other night I came across this article from the New York Times, http://nyti.ms/aLiYsx. It is an interesting article about the negative effect computers and laptops have had on students. It discusses programs here and in Romania where students were given laptops (or vouchers). It states that after getting the technology their test scores actually went down.

But is that what really happened? This article does not go far enough. Test scores should not be the only evaluation if the program was a success or not. What about their grades, assignments, heck, their creativity! Yes, the technology may have distracted students from their work, but it may have also taught them other ways to think. The real study should be done in 20-30 years to see what the long term affect was on students. But in this age where we think education is always failing our students, the quick unquestioned study is king.