Fears for Next Year – EdTech 537

I am starting a new job next year at my district’s Jr. High and I am starting to get a little nervous. Jr. High is a new beast and I am not sure what to expect. The following things are what I am most nervous for:

Classroom

I have not been allowed to get into my classroom to work on getting it all set up yet. I will be given my key and let in on Monday the 14th, but I have A LOT to do! I need to paint and clean and set up my teacher are and my comfy corner. I need to figure out my desk arrangement and how I can get charging stations throughout my room so I can accommodate for my student’s computers. I need to print off posters and organize my cupboards. I have so much I need to do in not that long of time!

Planning

A new school also brings new plans for the school year. I have printed off my standards and item specks for my subjects and organized them in my binder, but that is it. I am planning on sitting down with my new department head and working on a scope and sequence for my year, but I am nervous about creating my own timeline. At my old school we did it all as a team and this school works a little more independently. I want to at least have my first month planned out before school starts.

Students

People keep telling me how difficult Jr. High students can be. I am really good at working with 12 and 13 year olds, but I don’t have a ton of experience with angsty 14 and 15 year olds. I don’t think my classroom management plans will be that different compared to when I was teaching at the middle school, but I do think there will be different things that I have to worry about. I hope it is a smooth transition for both the students and myself.

Grad School

I am really nervous to be taking two classes in the fall while transitioning to a new school. I will also be coaching in the fall so I am will be insanely busy. I am anxious about juggling grad school, planning, coaching, and I am moving into an apartment in September. I have a ton on my plate and I hoping that I don’t let my grades slide  or my teaching slide. I am going to have to really focus on my weekends so I don’t miss anything.

Homework Ideas – EdTech 537

Next year I am moving schools and I want to switch up my normal homework routine. I am staying within my current district, I am just moving from the middle school, 6th and 7th grade, to the jr high, 8th and 9th grade. The math teachers at my new school are notorious for giving a lot of homework, but that is not my style. I like to give 10 problems max and use it more as a reward rather than a punishment. At my last job, I gave 5 points no matter what, even if the students got everything wrong. If an assignment was turned in late then the students would get a 3 out of 5. Now that I am moving up into an older grade, I want to hold the students more responsible for their homework. Here are my ideas, tell me what you think!

Problems

I want to give my students 10 problems on all of their homework next year. I also want to include an answer key with every assignment so students can check their work as they go. I don’t want the answers to be in any particular order, or numbered or anything, I just want it to be along the bottom so students can check and see if the answer they got is one of the options. All of the work will be given to them on my class website so it will always be in the same location and it will have consistency.

Scoring

Since all of the assignments will be 10 problems then I want to score each one out of 10 points and for correctness instead of just for completeness. I feel like now that they are older, it will hold them more accountable for their work. I will have my TA’s walk around at the beginning of the period when the students are working on their entry task and check off the student’s homework for completeness. Then we will grade the homework, with a pen, and they will write their score at the top. Then they will turn it in and my TA’s will record their score in the paper grade book. I will then go through and check the homework myself to see what the commonly missed problems were to use it as a formative assessment.

Late Work

For missing work, the highest grade they can get is an 8 out of 10. So if the students gets all 10 problems correct then their score would be an 8. After that it is the same so if they get 1 wrong then they would get a 7 and 2 wrong would give them a 6 and so on and so on. All late work is due by the test date and if they don’t get it in by the test then it becomes a zero in the grade book.

 

543 Course Reflection

This course was not what I expected it to be. When I heard the title of the course, I assumed that I would be learning how I can incorporate social media tools within my teaching practice. Initially, I was frustrated when that wasn’t the first things we started to learn, but I do think that in a weird backwards way, I did learn ways how to incorporate social media within my teaching. While it wasn’t deliberate (or maybe it was), the activities we did gave me some really good ideas that I plan to use to next year when school starts.

I also am not a huge social media fan. I dislike Facebook quite a bit, even after the course, Twitter seemed dumb to me, and still kind of does, and blogging seemed time consuming. While I don’t see myself changing my mind about Facebook anytime soon, I am starting to see Twitter and blogging as more appealing options thanks to this course. The twitter chats assignment was actually a little fun and I have enjoyed writing my thoughts out on my blog.

Twitter & Class Hashtags

I love this idea! My students are always using Twitter and if I can use it as a way for me to reach them and remind them of things then I am totally going to use it. I plan on creating hashtags for each of my math classes and having them tweet out things that they have learned that day as an exit ticket. I will have a tweet deck and follow each of my class hashtags and then retweet some of the really great exit tickets that my students post. I hope that all my parents are on board with allowing their kids to have twitters!

Professional Learning Networks

Next year I am teaching one Geometry class and I have heard that students HATE Geo even though it is my favorite math. I want to work with the other teachers that are teaching Geo and have us create PLNs that bring students together from different classes so they can all share the different techniques we use to teach Geometry. I have already talked to one of my math team members and she is on board so now I only need two more to say yes!

Classroom Blog

This is my favorite plan for next year! I am really excited to start incorporating blogging for communication instead of parent emails all the time. I am not a huge fan of sending out parent emails to EVERY parent on my roster list. I always get back a ton of, “Thanks!” emails that fill up my inbox and aren’t relevant. I am hoping that by using classroom blogging that I only get emails from parents who really have a question. I also think that it will be easier for both parents and students to have all of the information in one place where it won’t disappear! It will be there all year long so when I have a student who says, “You never told me that!” all I have to do is to show it to them on my blog and say, “Yes I did!”

Blog Self Assessment

I feel as if I tried my hardest to be creative when blogging in this course. While I was looking through all my past blog posts I noticed one thing, they’re very positive posts. I really focused on maintaining myself as a positive presence on my learning log and showing people who I really am. I can hear and see myself in my posts and I am proud of that. I also am really proud of some of the projects that I have posted on here. My creative expression was my favorite project I did all semester. The stop-motion video took forever but I think it represents me and my thoughts on the topic.

I also really enjoyed my post on my PLE Diagram. I worked really hard on that project and in my blog post I even talked about how hard I pushed myself to create something using only digital tools. I am usually a more hands on creative soul so this project really put me out of my comfort zone.

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The one thing I think I could work on with my blog, and it’s really important, would be to cite my sources better when I find images online. I either need to place the URL of the image somewhere in my blog post or use Creative Commons or my own images more so I don’t get in trouble down the road for using copyrighted things. This isn’t a huge change, but I think it will benefit me greatly in my future blogging practices.

I think I would deserve a grade of 70/75 for my blogging practices. I think I lose the five points because of my lack of citing my sources, but I think my content, images, and work is excellent and shows who I am as a writer and student.

Schools Poll – EdTech 537

My district has a lot of school transitions. We are a small district, but over the past ten years we have been steadily growing. We have been running out of room so in order to make up for it we have built schools on what little land we have. Right now our students start at a primary school (pre-2), move to one of two elementary schools (3-5), move to one middle school (6-7), then a jr high (8-9), and then finally our high school (10-12). The middle school building is quite literally falling apart with leaking ceilings and moldy rooms. This is inspiring my district to reconsider how many transitions our students have to go through. Right now we have two options that the administration is discussing.

Option #1

  • Tear down and build new middle school and make it grades 6-8.
  • Turn jr high into a second middle school.
  • Students from elementary #1 go to new middle school.
  • Remodel high school to fit grades 9-12.
  • Both middle schools transfer to the one high school.

Option #2

  • Remodel old middle school and turn it into a new district office.
  • Remodel jr high, which is a newer building, making it twice as large and turning it into a middle school grades 6-8.
  • Take old district office, located on high school property, and turn it into more classrooms to fit the 9th graders.
  • Have both elementary students transfer into the one new, larger middle school.

Emma Watson & Malala Interview – EdTech 537

These two woman are some of the most impressive women that the world has seen. This interview of Malala, conducted by Emma Watson, is during a the Into Film Festival where Malala’s movie was being shown. Malala is one of my favorite inspirational women to discuss in my classroom to show the desire of children around the world to get an education.

Emma Watson Interview – EdTech 537

Emma Watson is someone who I look up to very much. She is not only an incredible actress, but she is a powerful woman who speaks her mind. The sound bite above is her speech that she delivered to the United Nations about gender equality. I admire her drive for education and her strong voice for women and people all around the world.

 

 

Perspective – EdTech 537

paris photoI am sure we have all seen photos like the one to the left. They have been made famous at locations like the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This is called perspective photography and it makes an optical illusion where one does not exist. This little girl is not actually reaching to the top of the point, but it looks like she does because of her distance from the Tower. Using given information, is there a way for us to figure out just how tall the little girl is?

What if I were to tell you that the Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet from bottom to tip and that the little girl was standing 1/2 mile away. (2,640 ft) With this information, you would be able to give a fairly solid estimate about her height.

What if I also told you that the photographer was 8 feet away from the little girl and that the two triangles made by the photographer and the little girl and the girl and the Tower are similar right triangles. Would you be able to then find her exact height?

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Eiffel Tower Image: https://digital-photography-school.com/forced-perspective/

Response: Examining Generational Differences

To use Prensky’s descriptor, I would consider myself a Digital Native. While I was still born before the iPod and I have nightmares of the dialup internet sound, I still had technology available to me almost my whole life. We owned a computer growing up, I had a Gameboy, and I received my first cell phone when I was 16 years old. Now, if you were to compare my childhood filled with Tamagotchis, Walkmans, and the internet, to my parents, it would be different. My mother and father both came from middle class families and had loving and exciting childhoods that were not full of digital tools at all. Their experiences were different then me, but not better or worse, and both have many similarities. We all played outside with our friends, we all talked on the phone, watched TV, and went to school. The only real difference is that I had computers and wifi and they did not. Now that we are all adults, all of us, mom and dad included, are all technology literate. Both my parents use technology extensively in their work and are often teaching me things. (Thank you for Google help mom!) My parents would fall under the Digital Immigrant category however I never hear their accent. They have learned, as have I, how to incorporate the ever changing digital technology that is available to us and I honestly have never thought about it as us being different at all.

Now, when I think about this with my students, I do see some changes between my childhood and theirs. They all carry computers in their pockets now instead of them being posted up in the family-room with your parents hovering over your shoulder watching what you’re searching. All of my students are in constant contact with each other via text, call, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and the thousands of other apps they use. I was only in contact from my parents house phone and even when I got a cell phone I only had texting available to me with limited messages. There are differences, but are these bad or good or neither?

When it comes to teaching our digital literate students I do think that we should take some changes into consideration. I think this is a beautiful time to link past techniques with present and see what creative learning opportunities teachers can create. Teaching needs to be dynamic and adapt to current trends and models, but that does not mean that it needs to turn into something unrecognizable. Some of the teachers that I work with are scared of the new 1-1 initiative my district is adopting in the fall. They are telling me that they don’t want to have to change all of the things that they have done for the last 20 years that work! So I keep telling them, don’t! If you truly believe that what you are using to teach your students is the best thing for them and that adding digital technology is not going to improve it then don’t change it. This usually comes with some surprise, but then a really great discussion afterward about how using the new computers might actually improve a few lessons or we might come up with some creative new ideas that hadn’t been thought of before. Teachers do not need to reinvent the wheel, they can use the methods of the past with the tools of the present to teach to an exciting group of young students who already have abilities the world needs.

Guest Blog Entry

IMG_7882My guest blogger today is Colleen Phillips. She has been my best friend since the first grade and I love how we both ended up in the teaching profession. We are also both moving up to older grades this year so we are having similar apprehensions. She is a kind and patient soul and does amazing work with her little kiddos. Enjoy her take on moving to the 4th grade!

Hello! My name is Colleen and I will be guest blog posting for Ryann this week! Ryann and I grew up together and have known each other since the impressionable age of six. We did everything together growing up; from playing Barbie dolls to playing soccer and graduating high school. I am honored to be able to share a little bit about myself and my teaching experience on her blog this week.

I am currently a teacher in an elementary school and have taught 2nd grade for the last two years. I also student taught in 2nd grade at the same school, so sliding into the same grade level when I was done with my program made the transition to being on my own go really smoothly. I loved teaching 2nd grade. However, my original sights were aimed on the intermediate grades. So, this year, I am moving to 4th grade. I am so excited to get the opportunity to teach slightly older kids while still staying at the same school. I will have another great team to work with like I did before, and I will already know some of the kids from when I had them two years ago. However, as excited as I am, I am also a little nervous because with a new grade level comes new content, standards, and procedures that I will need to teach my kids.

The math standards are what will change the most between 2nd and 4th grade. English language arts standards get more challenging and demanding, but the concepts are generally the same: story elements, author’s purpose, cause and effect, compare and contrast, expository writing, informational writing, etc. However, instead of teaching content such as adding, subtracting, and place value to my students, I will now be teaching them concepts such as division, decimals, and converting fractions to decimals. My hope is that I can still make these more challenging concepts engaging and fun to learn for my students through games, group work, exploration projects, and technology. My class will have their own set chrome books, so I would like to incorporate them into my math lessons as much as possible. I know I will definitely be asking Ryann for ideas about how to do this at multiple points throughout the year! All in all, I am very excited for this coming school year – it is going to be a great new challenge. Thank you for letting me guest post today and share a little bit about myself. Cheers!