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The teachers at school are really into pinterest.com. At first the things they were sharing were cute craft type projects. I nodded and said they were cute, but wasn’t really interested in doing any of the projects. I’ve said before I don’t do cute.
I was never that type of creative. My cousins on Dad’s side are. The oldest makes some of the most fantastic clothes, the middle cousin used to make little figures from rocks, and the youngest did a bunch of different type things – the one that impressed me the most was making her own paints. I admired their projects, but never was interested in doing my own.
In the last few weeks the other teachers started sharing some lessons they had found on pinterest. Those were pretty cool. I got on and found some cool lessons. I also found a whole different side to teachers and “sharing”. I’ve always enjoyed my PLC and the ideas we shared. Some just put things out there. Others put Creative Commons Licences on things, more to say go share this than to protect their copyright. All of us gave away ideas.
What a ran into on pinterest was a horse of a different color. Teachers were selling ideas. Seems a bit mercenary to me. Also made me think. I haven’t been sharing as much as I should. I’m going to put out at least a couple of lesson plans a week with any print outs, flipbooks, and other resources. I hope people find them useful.
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Today I want to get several things done
I think I’m the only one enjoying the Balanced Literacy class. Several to the techniques are helping do what I’ve always wanted to do in my ELA classes.
This group lesson plan thing isn’t going very well. I’ve given up on getting science in a timely fashion. But since I’m using TAKScopes, I can handle that. Not getting writing or lesson plans is more difficult.
I’m looking forward to using ideas from this lesson http://techhappy.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/the-child-driven-education-in-practice/ in my class next week.
I have changed my lesson plans for tomorrow to include http://www.wallwisher.com/ that Kelly Hines spotlighted in her Little Kids, Big Possibilities presentation at the K-12 Online Conference. We are studying matter and the states of matter in science. I am going to divide the kids into groups of three and give each group a computer. I have 4 laptops and 3 desktops. I will appoint a computer driver for each one and that child will input the information. For my students doing this with a random draw works best because they feel it is fair. Once a student’s name is drawn it can’t go back in the draw until all students have a turn.
First I will challenge them to reflect over the hands on activities we completed last week, and write up their observations on the sticky notes. Next we will organize that information into a tree graph. Then students will be reorganized into hands on groups with our computer people evenly distributed. Over the week the students will complete different activities and answer research questions about states of matter. They will post their findings to the wall adding to the tree map.
I am worried as my class racks up hits on the site, it might come to the attention of networking and be blocked just based on traffic. I have an e-mail started and saved that shows how wall wisher meets our educational goals. I will add screen shots of the process to make my argument stronger.
Wall Wisher can make two methodologies our staff development department advocates much easier to use in a classroom. The first is thinking maps. The whole class can create an online thinking map using the post it notes. Since thinking maps are the main graphic organizers we use this is important. Another technique our staff development department wants us to use jigsaw. Well Wisher can make jigsawing much easier. Each group can post their information to Wall Wisher, and the whole group can organize it into a thinking map.
Well the first week is over. In the spirit of start as you are to go – I started with technology. The first day I had my homeroom class clean the writer pads, idle all last year, and put new batteries in them. Then they created their accounts and started their typing lessons. The second day my partner teacher was actually scheduled to use the writers, but she asked me to get the kids set up so I did. I know there are people that maintain we don’t need to teach keyboarding because the kids just get it. My kids don’t have computers at home. They need some formal practice or they won’t be able to keep up at the Middle school, JH, or HS.
We are scheduled to have the cart of laptops every 6 days and the cart of writers every 6 days. Also I’m assigning each table to a computer each day, rotating so no one group gets stuck with the silver laptop that is as slow as all get out every day.
We haven’t used the laptops, yet. We will be using them Monday. I also had my kids that have oral administration of their tests use the iPods while taking the 4th grade placement test today. One child has sound issues and didn’t like using them. So aide took her to resource. The other two seemed to like the autonomy of working at their own pace. They did take the ear buds out between questions. I find ear buds to be very uncomfortable, so I expected that. I look forward to integrating more technology into the classroom each week.
I need to borrow the cameras from the Tech department, to have the kids photograph experiments and other lessons in class. I plan to start that in the next week or so.
We also had some tech fails. The on line grade is still a mess with the wrong people assigned to classes as teachers meaning I can’t take care of my grades for the Leos because their homeroom teacher is the teacher of record for math and science.
A couple of weeks ago we had a red drill (lock down). 10 minutes after it was over, I had a lab full of kids from 15 in my class and 20 from 3 grades and 7 classrooms. I realized that if they had been there during the drill there was no easy way to account for them. We started a sign in sheet the next day. It is very simple
||List of teachers
||List of Teachers
||List of teachers
The kids sign in circle their teacher’s name, get on a computer and take care of what they need to do. It paid off today. 2nd period I have 15 1st graders in for Tech, and several 3rd graders working on Successmaker. The fire alarm went off. I grabbed the clipboard and my Fire Drill folder and we walked out. On the black top, I handed the AP my sign in sheet – those students had already been reported out of the room by their teacher. They were quickly accounted for. The AP was very happy.
I think Wikipedia should not be a major source in a student’s work, because it’s not a primary source. Like any encyclopedia it is a good place to get background information. Some articles have extensive citation and those citations can help students find good primary material for reports.
Fifth grade science teacher and I plan on setting up a science wiki for the fifth graders this year. I see no problem with having a login system that tracks changes and do not understand why purists would have a problem with it. Wikipedia after all track its changes and who has made them. We have consequences in place already for students who choose to vandalize another person’s work on or off line. Because our expectations are firmly in place I predict will have very little problems of the sort. Each class a students will be adding information to articles about topics mastered in science. They’ll also write a lab reports including both pictures and video of actual experiments. Science teacher will add review questions for tests, and students will add their answers for others to use. I’m also hoping that that fourth grade and maybe even third grade science teachers will be willing to do a similar project. Then each year the wiki to move up with the students. I’m not share if we will use the wiki in Moodle or if we will use www.wikispaces.com. I need to talk to the people in tech training about which would be better for a multiyear subject wiki.
I would love set up a curriculum wiki for my school. Getting teachers to communicate about what our students have difficulty with is an ongoing problem. I think because the teachers see it as a criticism of them, rather than an offer to help.