The video above is a great resource for teachers when establishing first of the year procedures for using technology. This is a video that I will personally be sharing with my staff considering that we have a new flight of 200 Chromebooks that Woodland students will be using this year.
Harry’s Kindergarten is a wonderful YouTube channel that provides educational videos to teach the basics of kindergarten. Our kindergarten teachers are currently using Mr. Harry’s channel to teach counting to 100. To check out all of his videos click here.
One of our major professional development focuses for our school this year is to increase the amount of cooperative strategies that we use in the classroom. The focus is on increasing student engagement by reducing the amount of teacher talk and replacing it with guided practice that the students perform. We have been focusing on implementing one new strategy a week each time we meet together in our grade level meetings. One strategy that we are currently focusing on is called numbered heads together. In this activity the teacher asks everyone in the group to number off 1-4. After they have numbered off, the teacher then poses a question to the students and everyone spends time thinking and answering the questions independently. After answering time is over, they then can share with each other or the teacher can asks students who have a certain number to share aloud with the whole class. As wed move forward and start to implement more strategies I will try to update my blog with that information. On another note, if you have effective cooperative strategies that you would like to share please feel free to leave us a comment.
In our district that has been an initiative to use more technology in the classroom and lately there has been specific training on how to to flip a classroom. With this in mind, I thought I would chime in with a quick three things on this subject matter.
Students are Connected – So why aren’t we? Students have been raised in a generation where technology is so readily available and often times we in education make the decision to take technology out of their hands. I don’t see technology as an education tool as much as I see it as an engagement tool. We are always preaching about how we want to have students actively engaged in the classroom but often times technology isn’t being utilized the way it should be. Using methods, such as “Flipping the Classroom”, is a great way to differentiate instruction for students and keep them engaged in the lesson. Teachers should be welcoming such ideas and tools with open arms.
Practice – Using this method is a great way to provide instructional practice for students at home. When I was a classroom teacher, I felt like giving homework as a losing battle because I could not explain the work to the parents or the student when they are at home. However, by utilizing YouTube students can not be given that practice and instruction at home as well as in the classroom.
Learning Curve – I don’t like to hear people say that they are “not technological savvy”. The whole point of technology is to make our job/life easier and so many of these tools that we can use in the classroom at very simple. You would never want to hear a student dismiss their abilities before trying a challenge so why do we do it so much? I truly believe that the learning curve is not that drastic and that Flipping the Classroom and other methods of technology integration are easy to understand. You just gotta give yourself a chance.
Education is going through some major changes as we speak and charter schools are an important component of those changes that are currently taking place. In the past few years chartershave become more and more visible in communities and are becoming a poplar choice for parents to send their children.
Today I was presented with some information that really made me curious. I have been aware of charters for quite some time but the idea of a conversion charter school was presented to me for the first time today. Conversion charters operate in the same way normal charters do in the fact that they still use the same process to identify an end goal in mind and create a detailed plan of how their school will accomplish said goal. The school creates a plan and a set time line to accomplish the plan. If they do it’s a success and the school continues, if not the project/charter is done. However, the difference is that a conversion school would be a regular public school district taking on this task rather than a third party proposing the charter school and plan.
I was not quite sure what to make of this entire process, but I do have to admit that the idea of incorporating components of a charter school into the public school system sounds very cool. I like the fact that in this format of a conversion charter, the school has the ability to identify the goal (assessment) and create their own plan or frameworks…meaning that they are not held to the normal requirements of teaching all the state mandated standards. For me I see this as a possibility for my teachers to free up their focus on the tedious standards they normally teach and try to create a more creative manner to accomplish the same thing as the state standards.
I am still very new to this idea and am still doing my homework, but if you have any information or input on what conversion charters look like, please feel free to leave us a comment. Thanks.
Today in class we will be starting a new project in which we will take a look at the stock market and actually hold our own mock stock market in our classroom…in order to accomplish this task we will need to use the CNN Money website to research stock. You will be using the suggested stocks that I give you in class, also listed below, and research the stocks and find 3-5 companies that you are interested in investing in.
Once we have selected 3-5 companies you will be given $1,000 to invest in these companies how every you wish…you may also save some money and choose not to invest all your money with the opportunity to buy or sell in later days to come. So go ahead and start your greed…the Wall Street will be the name of the game for the next 10 days.
Note – students, you can also use the NASDAQ website to view trends of companies as well.
Today in class we will be using an interactive map that is produced by PBS that discusses the banishment of African Americans starting in the post-civil war era and the effect that it has had on our current population today. To visit the website click here.
In class today my students took the 1965 Alabama literacy test for voting. At the time of taking the test my students were not aware that what they were taking was a literacy test for voting but after they found out they were very surprised to find out that people were subjected to such a test to simply vote. The slide show is the 10 question sample test that my students took today…how smart are you?
It’s that time of year again when we begin our conversations in my Arkansas History classes about Jim Crow Laws and their relevance to Arkansas. Jim Crow Laws were laws that were created in the post slavery era as a way to bypass giving African Americans their civil rights granted by amendments 13-15. What we will be doing in class on Monday is taking a look at some specific Jim Crow Laws that were passed in Arkansasand around the US. We will be discussing their purpose and what affects they had race relations in Arkansas.
In my Arkansas History class on Wednesday we decided to change-up our normal style of note taking in class. Usually we use a jigsaw/pair share method to take notes…the rational behind my use of this style is because it helps alleviate the boredom that is associated with PowerPoint presentations and if done correct it engages the students really well. For today though I decided to go with a good ole’ stand-by, Cornell Notes.
First we reviewed the process for taking Cornell Notes and why it is important. One common misconception is that Cornell Notes is used because it is better for organization purposes. The real secret to Cornell Notes is in the review process. If done properly Cornell Notes requires the student to review their notes at least twice after the lecture is over…this is meant to help with retention.
Students then compared notes with one another by doing a gallery activity. Students hung their notes all over the room while everyone went around the room reviewing everyone’s notes looking for structure and content. They would then leave notes and critiques on the board.
At the end of the day I decided to use my sophisticated data collecting method by having everyone leave feedback for me as they left the room. One axis represents how much fun they had doing this entire activity and the other axis represents how much they learned by using this Cornell method. What we found out was that while students did not enjoy it as much, they felt like they learned the material better by taking Cornell notes. Which I found really interesting and now the new challenge that is before me is to figure out how to modify the activity so that we can bridge the gap between fun and learning.
Yesterday in class we took some time to discuss the New Madrid Fault Line that is located in northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri. This fault line is still active and it is thought that back in the early 1800’s the line produced an earthquake of an 8.0 magnitude. In order to show my students the seismic activity in this region I introduced them to the USGS site that measures such activity all over the world. The site is a great tool for anyone that is teaching science, but it also adequately fits the need for this lesson.
For the past few days we have been using an excellent website in class as a resource for our Arkansas City Project. We have been using a site called Encyclopedia of Arkansas, this site offers up a wide variety of information and resources that are useful to any Arkansas history teacher. You can visit the site by clicking here.
On Monday we started our week by reviewing our notes from last week about the Isms. This term refers to the different political ideas and theories that exist in the world. Students were given 7 different pictures that were hung all over the classroom and they were asked to identify the what term the picture was referring to.
After students identified what the image was meant to represent, they were then asked to provide evidence as to support their choice. This provided for some great conversations in class and gave students some good visual representations to attach to the terms that we have already learned.
Yesterday in class we took a look at North Korea’s communist government did so by listening to a podcast from NPR. This is a method that I use in my teaching from time to time, but it was a first for this group of students. After we finished the lesson I decided to gauge how much my students actually enjoyed the lesson.
The graphs above are from my three social studies class and represent their enjoyment and the amount of learning they experienced during class. The vertical axis represents learning and the horizontal axis represents enjoyment. As you can see the charts vary, but this is an awesome way for me as a teacher to gain some quick and easy feedback from my students over the lesson that was just taught.
As apart of our remembrance of the attacks on 9/11/01, today in class we will be using an interactive media site from the History Channel that shows amazing home footage from the attacks that day. The name of the website is 102 Minutes that Changed America, it the site does a wonderful job of capturing what it was like to be apart of the events that took place that day.
Students, today we will begin our 9/11 research project as apart of our school wide remembrance of the attacks on September 11th, 2001. Students will be given a list of 4-5 names of people that died on that day and will be asked to research basic information about those individuals using the Remember website.