Friday, January 30, 2015

Positive Thoughts

I love doing this project. In the first few days of the class we take time to put each student against the white board and write positive things about them. Then we take a picture and make a big movie to watch the day of their first speech. They love it and here is why:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Google Drive and Peer Edits

We are peer editing our first essay in English 11 this week. I love the mix of devices for this project. The students use iPads to begin essays on Google Doc and then we move to PC's for format changes and peer editing.

I use a Google Form to collect all links, share the Google Sheet where the links are then collected and assign peer editors. The editors find their partner on the Google Sheet and they open the Google Doc belonging to them. A quick change in editing mode to "Suggesting" and they help each other so much!

Since this is the first essay of the course I provide a proofreading guide and explain how a simple CTRL+F helps find errors! Many students would open the proofreading guide on their iPad while working on the essay on the PC, you can see that in the images below.

We love Google in B08!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More Information = More Fun

After today's lesson in English 11, I had so many questions! They were about society during the current reading. This makes my teacher heart happy. Today we read and discussed Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford and I was blown away by the questions surrounding the narrative.

What are Mariners?
Why didn't they go back to England?
Why didn't the all people treat the Indians like they did?
Why should we believe William Bradford?

We also got side tracked and talked about one of my favorite short stories of all time, "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin. Not sure how that ties into this lesson, but why not?

So here is some more information class:

The Plymouth Colony
The Mayflower an image of the ship
Mayflower Passengers
Pilgrims vs. Puritans

Cool fact about Capt. John Smith and the Pilgrims:
Before leaving England, the Separatist leaders went to talk with Capt. John Smith, who had been to the New World and had made some extensive surveys of the New England area. Capt. Smith would have been willing to sail with them on the Mayflower as an adviser. However, the Pilgrim Fathers did not have the money to pay for his service. Instead, they purchased his book, which included a detailed map of the New England region.
Payment and Mutiny:
Even before Mayflower anchored off the tip of Cape Cod, there was a near mutiny. The passengers had hired themselves out as indentured servants, promising to work for seven years to pay for their passage. Some of these passengers thought they could do as they pleased since they were outside the bounds of English law. So they threatened to take their freedom as soon as they got on land. 
The Pilgrim leaders knew it would take a lot of hard work to survive that first winter. They would have to cut down trees and haul logs and thatch to build houses. They knew they would need all the help they could get. 
To solve the problem, the Pilgrims wrote the Mayflower Compact. The Compact was an agreement signed by all the men on board-including the indentured servants-promising to abide by laws that would be drawn up and agreed upon by all male members of the community. The women were not allowed to participate in the governing process. 
The Compact states that they would choose their own leaders and make their own laws. It also stated there was to be equal justice for all. This Compact became the constitution of the Plymouth Colony. It was the first document of American democracy to establish "government of the people, by the people, for the people."
Indian and Pilgrim Peace
The peaceful relations between the Pilgrims and Indians had lasted 54 years, during the lifetimes of the Massasoit and the original members of Plymouth Colony.

I ♥ Educational Technology

With new courses, and students, I find myself having to introduce, instruct, and organize technology lessons. Not to say that other teachers aren't using technology (because they are) I use different apps and have very different expectations as to where I want my students to be on the educational technology spectrum.

My classes know that we use MAYBE one sheet of paper a week, (Vocabulary Quizzes, I like spell check... just not when I grade spelling!) so they are finding new ways to organize their digital work. We use Google Drive as a digital binder, Google Docs as the word processor, Notability as the pen/pencil for notes and quick assessments, Google Forms as the tests/quizzes, and in some classes Blogger as the journal/portfolio.

I love these tools and how the have helped lessons move beyond recall and completion. I keep hearing, "I just opened Safari and looked it up!" When completing work with a device that can always help, I become more of a guiding light and less of the holder of all knowledge. That is exactly where I want to be as a teacher.

Here is a quick view into how I use Notability. In an effort to get my Speech class more comfortable with each other we do speech interviews and then they have to introduce a student one fact at a time. I want them to jot down facts, or answers to prompted interview questions so the remember and I want to be able to leave my room. This app gives us all that and more.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year Resolutions

Welcome back!

I am excited to have all new student rosters as the new year begins. I have always enjoyed block scheduling so that I can meet and enjoy more students. I have several familiar faces and I can't wait to grow along side my students this year.

I made a few personal and professional resolutions for 2015. My teacher resolutions are as follows:

  • Share my knowledge of technology with students NOT just other teachers

I love educational technology, "duh" right? I found myself almost hiding cool new things I found from my students. So now when I find a cool new application or game or tool, I am going to share and possibly make students use it for projects!
  • Come earlier to school and stay a little later
I blame my beautiful little girl for this one, I just don't want to leave her! I have found though, rushing around in the morning in front of my students creates a terrible tone. I want to have everything ready to go in hopes of my students following suit. 
  • Grade all items within one week
I love collecting things digitally. I can just go home and grade via my iPad or home desktop, BUT without the heavy load of paper, I forget I have things to grade. This past semester was the worst ever. I will be better. I plan to set alarms!
  • Read all assigned novels over again
Have you ever watched a movie and learned something new about a character or plot line? Well same goes with a good book. Trust me our assigned reading is great and I need to re-read all of them and fall in love all over again.
  • Be a more caring teacher
I have a hard time seeing students as people. There is a big separation between the person and the student, just like me. I am a teacher by day and a mommy, blogger, wife, coach, cook, maid, etc. by night. I have more going on outside of these four walls and so do the wonderful people in my room each day. Please note, caring does not mean pushover. You don't do the work, you don't get the points, however if you come in and talk with me, we can figure something out. 

Have you made any resolutions for 2015, do any apply specifically to your student life, home life, professional life?

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