Earlier this week I read this post by Paul Wagner. I had set up linoit on my Ipads, but my 2nd graders weren’t quite ready. So I had dropped it and forgot about it. Well we tried it again this week and they were ready to give it a try. The result is below.
I have my students organized in 4 groups. Each group is assigned a color. Their remotes and Ipads are stored in cloth bags with those colors. So they made their posted notes their group color. The kids used an app on their Ipads. I am fortunate enough to have 1 Ipad per 2 kids. So they sat with their partners on the carpet and typed in their Jan Brett questions. (Yellow is currently down 1 Ipad due to an accident – so they have fewer posts.) For my kids this is much easier than using their promethean remotes, because they can use the full keyboard on the ipad.
So my real problem is how do I make sure I don’t forget about good tools that my 2nd graders need to grow into?
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.
The above argues that the call for 21st century skills is just a fad.
I disagree with several points made in the article
century skills advocates don’t think students should have to learn facts.
I think there are 2 broad categories of facts. The first are facts everyone should know. These would include things like math facts, a basic understanding of the order of history (American Civil War comes after the American Revolution, that there is more than one civil war), Grade School/Middle school understanding of basic science.
The second category of facts includes the ones that can or even should be double checked before they are used- specific dates in history, formulas in math and science, more detailed understanding of Science.
These two categories are fluid. As people advance in their education and specialize the facts they need to recall move from the second category to the first for them.
My mother refused to have a digital clock in the house until Sis and I both learned to tell time on an analog clock. She drilled not only basic facts into our head, but insisted that we mentally add up purchases as the cashier keyed them in. She frequently found mistakes this way. She insisted that our memorizing songs, poems and such was necessary to exercise our minds. I’ll never forget her demanding a meeting with the heads of Math and Science departments and our grade level principal. We were required to memorize a semesters worth of formulas for our finals. She sat them down and explained she was a chemist, a research scientist, and that she would never trust a mathematician or scientist who did not verify the correctness of the formula s/he was using. After that meeting we were allowed to write out a list of formulas to use on the test. We still had to pick the correct formula and use it correctly, but we would have the correct formula to use. Mom got the difference between facts that you need to internalize and those that must be checked each time.
- 21st century advocates say we spend too much time on content and need to focus on the skills instead.No – if we teach skills side by side with content students are more likely to retain it. I remember learning science in 5th grade. I remember the texture of the rocks, the order of the body systems as I put them back in the model, and the slickness of the inside of the shells contrasted with the spikes on the outside.What do I remember about 6th grade – Doing worksheets after worksheet about stuff I knew, Bobby licking the cow’s heart, The teacher getting down in my face and screaming at me that not everyone had Mrs. Lincoln for 5th grade science, Bobby saying everyone in this room did (I thought her head was going to explode at that). (3 of these things happened the same day). BTW Mrs. Lincoln was the world’s best science teacher.I hope that my students will remember the content because it is connected with them making something from the facts. I want them to remember the texture of the soil, the smell of the mint, and recording the sound of our water feature when they recall the life cycle of the butterfly
- Critical Thinking isn’t a new skillOf course it isn’t, but we have new tools that allow students to explain concepts, express themselves, and get feedback from real people. That is a huge motivator for kids.
Commercial from Solon showing batteries falling from sky was very funny. A photovoltaic cell is converts solar Energy directly into electricity. Showed a diagram of a PV cell showing how the electricity is generated by sunlight. They are trying to make point with PV cells to power houses. PV array à inverter à house if house has enough power then electric can be sold to power grid.
I was planning on doing live blogging, but the Marriot doesn’t have their public wi-fi available in the conference room. They started with a brief security over view. They told us how to evacuate the building. The man from BP gave basic info about being safe in Houston. He neglected to mention that the Galleria area is notorious in the evenings – with tourists being a prime target.
The A+ people will be asking teachers to contribute ideas to for Houston to use Solar Power. Discovery Green has solar panels for the park buildings. George Brown will be adding solar power.
They introduced various people. I’m trying to get my AT&T Connect to work so I can get on line. They are showing us various BP commercials. They went around the room and had all the teachers introduce themselves.
They are handing out the evaluation forms. So that we write up evaluations as we go. That makes sense. Got the AT& T Wireless up. They are going over the order form. 3 weeks notice needed for kits, so I’ll get with the team and we can order during inservice week. No that will not work because it is due before we get back. I’ll call Mrs. J with the info. AT&T crapped out on me. I remember I needed to download something from Serria Wireless last year. I’ll do that at home tonight.
We have a rotating 6 day schedule. In a 6 day time we see each grade level 7 times. Day 1 – We see grades K – 4 at their regular times. Instead of having 5th grade from 8:00 – 8:45 that is our conference period. We have 5th grade from 1:00 – 2:30, while their teachers meet with the principal, AP, reading specialist, math specialist, councilor, and sometimes social worker. This is a double period and at 1:45. All the specials teachers meet in the cafeteria and exchange classes. Some grades have 6 teachers, some 5, and 3rd grade has 4.
This means that I’ll see some classes 2 times and other classes 1 time. This has driven me nuts keep track of what I had done with this class, and what I did with that class. I tried several different ways to keep track, but just managed to confuse myself. Finally I figured it out and it is so simple. I use the comments feature in word. I highlight what the students completed and comment that X class has finished this step.
Then when I’m writing the next week’s lesson plans change the name of the file, delete all the parts that all classes have completed, type in new steps/project, save it, and e-mail them to my principal and AP. It makes it so much easier to keep track of who has done what.