Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's it all coming to? Craziness....

I read a blog post by Jim Gates today about a conference he attended. He talked to a bunch of teachers and educational coaches and they were talking about blogging, using GoogleDocs and Wikis. They loved the ideas presented, but many said that they were blocked in their schools.
I am sure from all of my previous posts you remember my stance on this. HOW CAN THIS BE??? This is terrible. Why are we stuck in the past? How can kids learn from this? UGH!!!

Here a quote from his post:

"One coach even told me that she was asked by one of her board members who was concerned about their budget, "Why do you need the WHOLE Internet anyway?" Seriously! You can't make this stuff up! How do you respond to that? How confident can you possibly be in the sense that your school board is making intelligent decisions for the education of all the children in the district? How empowered does that make you feel?"

I think someone saying that is completely ludicrous! How can someone who is supposed to be involved in the decision making in schools, be so far off base from what our reality is today? If they are removed from a classroom for more than 5 years, then they are not very relevant. If they are not visiting schools often enough, or are not wanting to move forward, then why are we allowing these people to make the decisions? The problem lies in the old-school way of thinking. Allowing individuals who are uncomfortable themselves with technology to be in charge is a mistake. A forward thinking, technology-friendly individual is what is needed. We need to be using these tools in the classroom. They only enhance learning and engagement - no big deal huh? That is kind of the key to being a good educator - to use innovative ways to teach students the curriculum so they understand it and are engaged in their learning process.
In order to teach children to be digital citizens (because that is the age we live in), we need to allow them opportunities to develop the proper skills to be on the WHOLE web, and use the tools properly, not just block them and have them run-amok at home and possibly get themselves into trouble. If we aren’t teaching them how to navigate safely and appropriately then who will? Education is all-encompassing profession in today's world and everyone in the system needs to be on board with that – especially about technology. I’ve already sent out the email and posted it on my blog…haven’t they gotten the message yet?
"Why do you need the WHOLE Internet anyway?" For real? Phft. Silly talk.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Here we are again....our school under the review for closure processs. I can not really state how I feel about this, as it would be seen as a conflict of interest and a bit unprofessional. Of course I don't think we should be closed, and neither do our students. And so, we are using our technology talent to create some videos to promote our school and what it is we love about it.

Enter the "Boom-De-Yada" video concept.

Based on the Discovery Channel commerical from 2008 and 2009 (see below), aka. "I Love The Whole World"- we are creating a video called "I Love Nokomis School". Using the concept of this commercial and using video and pictures to present what the student body thinks and how they feel about our school, my students interviewed teachers, support staff, and the other students to develop a picture of what they love about our school. These items are being put into the video in various ways, using the song "I Love the Whole World" song as the background for flow. I am really excited to see how these turn out - and we have had a very good response from everyone who has participated and I know all us teachers are excited about it!

We will be giving 3 finished video versions of this project to the review committee for a voice from the students. Hopefully it will show what good things we have going on in this school, and all we are capable of - leading to a favorable decision. Cross your fingers.

Discovery Channel 2008

Discovery Channel 2009

Macro Theatre - Round Two

Here are the Macro Theatre projects that my CPT 20 students did this year. If you remember earlier I posted about this project, and that this is the 2nd time I have done this project with my students. I think this year's projects turned out pretty good. Check a few out...

Monday, November 08, 2010

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - my novel study website. Check it out and let me know what you think! I created it to have a paperless novel study. This is my second year teaching the novel like this and it went well last time. I updated some information, included more information, and fixed some of the formatting. I have the students complete the vocab before reading then we discuss the vocab, they read then answer questions from the site. Once they are done a section of questions the students email them to me and I edit/correct them using highlighting and notes and send it back to them for review. We host daily class discussion before they go on the computer and begin their assignment. I also included essay topics and a final project. The only thing not on there is the exams. I am excited to be doing this again and to be honest - it took me a while to build it to my liking (not perfect yet), but for a bit of perfectionist this was a really nice way to keep everything together and use an innovative way to spice up my teaching load. If I had more time I would attempt this for all my novel studies....maybe I will....I need some feedback - let me know what you think of it.

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