Saturday, August 15, 2015

Read Report as of August 15, 2015

For the time being, I'm going to call my round-up of articles and blogs I read recently the "Read Report".  If you have better ideas, let me know.

First up is a post by Heather Wolper-Gawron on how to host a twitter chat with your school community.  This isn't just for the faculty, but for parent's and students.  I found it really interesting, and I might approach my principal about doing one for our school.  I think we would start "easy" with maybe one a grading period.  I may do a few on my own for my students.

Next, Alice in WonderTech discusses creating an environment that discourages plagiarism.  She makes some good points about how getting students started in class lessens the probability that they will try and take the cheating shortcut of copy and paste (not always though).  I found with the 11th-grade research project that I had less plagiarism this time around where we did most of the work in class.

Over at a Meaningful Mess, Andi McNair was talking about the question of "What If?"  As educators, particularly at the beginning of a school year, we often as ourselves that question, but in the negative:  What if I do it wrong?  What if the students make things difficult? 

Well, what if we flipped the script and focused on the positive side of "what if?":  What if I do it right?  What if the students make it the best year?

Tired of standarized style of assessments?  Take a look at John Spencers Ten Alternative Assessments.  It's a pretty straightforward list and won't take you long to check out.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Let's Play Catch Up

Almost 3 months since my last blog post?  I know; I know; I'm not a very consistent blogger.  Feel free to wag your finger at the screen.

So, what's been going down since May?

Well, in March, I said I was going to have students retake a survey to get their feedback on the use of Chromebooks in the classroom.  Well...note to self: set reminders for surveys you want students to take at different points in the year.  Yeah.  I got overwhelmed with end of the year stuff and forgot.

The end of the (school) year was a typical scramble to get things done.  I was not happy with the overall grades of my students, but talking with other teachers on campus, neither were they happy with the results.  Since most of the other teachers did not move to blended-learning like I did,  I'm going to hazard a guess that the apathy from the students didn't have anything to do with my transition into using the technology, but with the change in climate and expectations our school experienced last year.

I'm looking forward to being able to teach the 11th grade two years in a row for the first time in my now 10 year career as a teacher.  I'll actually be able to build on what I did the year before.  Imagine that!

The day after the last teacher duty day, a Saturday (yes, a Saturday), I participated in a summit at one of our district campuses that was put together by the EdTechTeam.  I really enjoyed it and gained a lot of useful information, particularly with Google Forms and branch logic (I'll talk more about that perhaps in another post once I get the hang of it).

That summit also had me contemplating trying out a 20% Time/Genius Hour Project with my students.  I'm not sure exactly what I want to do, but I'm thinking of using the first few Genius Hours (because that's what I'm going to call it because I think we'll skip them when we have short weeks), working with the students to create the criteria and protocols for it.

I spent some time this summer going through the Fundamentals Training at the Google for Education Training Center  to begin getting GAFE certified.

I took the Level 1 test today, and I PASSED!!!

I've gone through all the Chromebook training as well and as soon as I get everything I earned from my Level 1 certification, I might go and take that test as well.  I'm hoping I'll be able to find time to get Advanced Training in this year, but with with the last half of my Masters, I doubt it.

Speaking of my Masters.  I aced the first half of the program. I got an A in all my classes and a 100% in 4 of the 5 taken.

One way I'm going to try and be a better blogger is to start posting interesting articles/blog posts that I come across on the web or my Feedly reader.  A friend of mine outside of the education world does that on her blog each week, and it appears that my friend over at Flipping With Kirch has started to do something similar as well.  I'm not sure I'll be able to do every week.  But, I should be able to do at least once a month.