Category Archives: Teacher

Quinn Rollins: Play Like a Pirate: Celebrate Wonder Woman Day!

Source: Quinn Rollins: Play Like a Pirate: Celebrate Wonder Woman Day!

I came home after watching this movie with a sense of wonderment (no pun intended). I think, and I’m not expert, this was a great movie. Mr. Rollins has some really neat ideas to use this movie and other superhero movies for the classroom. Check out some of his ideas about Wonder Woman.

A Challenge… less connectivity and less stress?

This was one of the first challenges I tried to do, so I could create a less stressful summer.

School has just let out, we’ve been out for about two weeks. I took my little vacation and now I’m ready to really start the break. But I don’t want it to end up like last year. Stressing the last minute about all the work I would have to do in the first two weeks. I always feel disorganized and rushed when the year starts.

Well not this year, I decided I needed to do something to help myself out. So, I looked to Angela Watson and her website “The cornerstone for teachers”. When I first got to the site I found a good deal of help and advice on the use of my time. I then signed up for her newsletter and have become more aware of my habits that waste valuable time I could be using completing various tasks.

The first challenge I took part in was Ms. Watson’s 21 Day Challenge for Teachers Intentional Connectivity. Each week I received an e-mail with a weekly habit, these habits were geared towards changing my bad habits with connectivity. Low and behold they worked. This challenge really helped me see how I had to change the way I used my phone and computer. Eventually I developed better habits as I went along with the challenge. I became aware of the distraction these devices and social media could be. This was the beginning of creating a less stressful summer. It allowed me to realize how much time I wasted with my devices and social media. This wasted time could be used for school work and other things.  Of course, there have been times when I fall back into those bad habits, but now I’m aware of them address them.

I would recommend this challenge to anyone and a huge thanks to Angela Watson for sharing this with teachers.  The next post I’ll discuss will be “ 5 Summer Secrets for a Stress-Free Fall,” from Ms. Watson’s website. This I started and I’m finding a bit tough, but I’m hoping it will led to a better start for the school year.

Feedback…Is it important

After reading a blog entry from Random Teacher Thoughts Blog “Feedback Failure”, I started to think of about the two projects going on in class,  Genius Hour and Citizen Science. I agreed with the blog, you can’t just let the students go through a project and not give them something as they complete the assignment. The author of the blog is reading “Hacking Project Based Learning” by Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy. According to him Hack 7 talked about feedback. Side note here I will probably have to read this book. After reading the article I started to think about what I do for my projects. I have always valued students opinions and ideas in class, this has led me to give surveys to find out what needs to be improved. My point here is that the students have always suggested giving feedback. To address this, I had students create a journal in Google Documents. They shared the journal with me and their partner. Students have a rubric to follow when filling out the journal, it specifies exactly what they should have in their journals. Journals are due every couple of weeks. I wasn’t asking them to write a book, but I wanted a summation on what they were doing. I also wanted them to understand how science notebooks and journals are important components of science experimentation.

The project is still ongoing so I can give up to date progress. While keeping an eye on everyone’s progress, I have found that some have fallen behind. I’ve given them a bit of nudge by commenting in their journal. This is the type of feedback I think students need in order succeed in completing their projects. I would also like to point out here that, students find the journal check a great way for them to communicate their questions or research. I think students really do need feedback from teachers, sometimes it may seem to students that Teachers are only worried about the end product. Feedback allows Teachers to convey a sense of caring about the whole process.  So is feedback important? Definitely!

Google Docs makes it really easy for them to keep track of my feedback, and for me to keep track of their project. I do however want to try other forms of digital “journals”. Maybe next year trying OneNote.

10 Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity

Source: 10 Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity

Could be used as a teachable moment in class when working creative projects. Thinking about reading the book too.

Learning from the students

I’m starting my blog challenge by writing a few words about a learning moment I had in class. Yep, I learned something from my students and it was fantastic.

We had been talking about geological history and going over various topics in the chapter. Our discussion began with my sharing my experience I had with the Siemens Program. During my time there I had the opportunity to work at a dig site with mammoth bones. My training also included getting certified as a lab technician with radiation certification. We were working in a lab with radiation materials and working with the  XRF(X-ray Fluorescence) to identify the layer’s elements in the dig site. You can check out my blogs on my PD experience in an earlier blog entry.

Students began to talk about mammoths and elephants. Their size differences. I was honest and admitted I had no idea. I know I should have, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember. Especially because I was an Earth Science teacher I should have, but… So they decided they needed to look it up and show me. I decided to go with the flow, thinking “Let’s see where this takes us”. Yep, learning experience. By the way mammoths stand at about 5 m tall while elephants are about 3.5 m tall, I’m rounding here.

Point to this post is as a teacher to admit you might not know the answer can be an asset to your students. It seems after this we started to discuss various other topics that the students were interested in and wanted to understand that was related to the geological time line. By admitting I didn’t know something this sparked inquiry in my students and made the class one of exploration and inquiry. While having fun. And the students? I think they actually respected me more because I fully admitted to them I did not know all the answers.

Resolutions or Goals?

Its that time of the year when everyone makes their resolutions. To me they are Goals, what do I want accomplish this year. A challenge, because by April, I’m totally lacking the determination I was in January. And my teaching goals are a bit different from my personal goals. I’m not sure everyone agrees, but my personal goals are more geared to me, teaching goals more geared to students and others. I thought this infographic was interesting, these are the top responses for resolutions. More personal, but now look at the teacher resolutions.

Both have some great resolutions, but just a bit different right? So what’s my point? My point is I think why people give up on their “resolutions” or “goals” is because we overwhelm ourselves with too many.  Start simple and work your way through the year, add more when you think you are ready. As a teacher I really think that my goals in the classroom help my personal resolutions. Ms. Cabeen does a good job in summarizing some resolutions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with your own.

So what are my Goals? Again I’m calling them goals. Honestly, I just want to take each day and try to do the best I can in being a positive influence on my students. There are many ways to do that and that is where some of my personal goals meet my teaching goals. Positive is the key word for this year. Bring out the best in myself and my students. And be optimistic, negativity never works. Too much energy spent on the negative thoughts. If teachers are going to be that positive influence on their students they need to show students there is always hope. Optimism and being positive can be that hope.

10 Simple Rules for Learning – A.J. JULIANI

1. Learning starts with attention. It’s almost impossible to learn if you aren’t paying attention. And whatever you are giving attention has the ability to turn into learning. 2. Attention happens for two reasons: Necessity and

Source: 10 Simple Rules for Learning – A.J. JULIANI

Some really good pointers on learning. I like #8.

Far tooooo Long

Time, what’s that? I’ve been really  behind with my blog these days. I haven’t made an entry  in a while so we’re going to start the first entry about the beginning of the school year. I know it’s 4 months into the school year actually more than 4 months for us into the school year because we started really early in August this year.

I decided to change a couple of things, I had to actually make the change. With regrets Zaption went away and I had switch to another site. I now use PlayPostit  for all my videos PlayPostit used to be Educannon. The good thing about PlayPostit was that you had until September 30th to switch over all your zaption videos. Of course I completely forgot and did not switch mine over. However I did start posting on PlayPostit. Here are the some good points and the bad points about PlayPostit. One good thing is that you can place questions in the video, so students will have to answer questions as they are watching the video. I know many of my students have said that they prefer having questions within the video then at the end of the video. Some of the controls in the video allow you to control the rewind and fast forward.

The second thing you can do we play posted as you can keep an eye on what questions students got right, the analytics isn’t bad for a  free version. The pro version  is a little bit different than the free version. I’m still working with the free version. Some of the advantages of having the pro version is the analytics. You can see when students hand in their work late and there are more in depth views of questions. One thing you should tell your students that they have to finish the whole video if they don’t finish the video it will put down incomplete or lock them out. I would say that I’m not happy but I’m not unhappy with the program. I am thinking next year to go back to Screeencast which is part of Camtasia. I do like the interface between Camtasia and Screencast. Once you are ready to produce your video in Camtasia you can upload automatically to Screencast. What’s stopping me from changing? I don’t like making my students change in mid-year, it can complicate things.

If I were flipping my class for the first time I would start with PlayPostit. It’s easy to use and pretty straight forward. You can upload your video to YouTube and then create the vodcast. Once you are comfortable using that tool I would then suggest expanding to Camtasia and Screencast. Just my opinion.

Cybraryman Internet Catalogue

Source: Cybraryman Internet Catalogue

Great resource for summer reading. Already a month into vacation and I still haven’t caught up with my reading.  You can also look at AJ Juliani’s Blog for some interesting suggestions.  Enjoy!

Scaling Flipped Learning: Part 2 – Flipped Learning Simplified

Individual teachers across the world who are flipping their classes, are often working in isolation and small pockets. However, as the movement has grown, there is an increasing need to think syste…

Source: Scaling Flipped Learning: Part 2 – Flipped Learning Simplified

I’m enjoying this series. Even though the series addresses school wide implementation I like the little bits of helpful hints on Best practices.