Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pinterfest Quest

Pinterfest !  I can't imagine how many ways this will impact my personal and school life.  I am already excited about all of the recipes I am going to try out this summer.  Home project?  Summer reading ideas?  No problem!  Everything from bleaching your teeth white to family travel plans to CCSC in the class.

I set up an Edmoto account.  I will have my 39 students begin with adding to my group and then begin with conversations about their summer reading lists.

19 pencils has just hundreds of literary circle ideas.  I will print them and discuss them with Liz and Gina this summer.

Diigo is amazing as well.  The organization and search engine will change the way I use Google.  I haven't played around with this one enough.

I have not yet designed my new classroom blog.  I am going to work on the template on my own this summer and then stay after school and probably work some with Holly before I link it to the HMS site.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

homework for Wednesday -

I will be working with Gina Rollins and Liz Greely on developing Ed Cafes with our new novel study units including: Wonder, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, My Life is Pink and Green, The Girl Who Could Fly Without A Motor , and The Young Man and the Sea.

We will use Diigo, Feedly, and Twitter and probably utilize other tools we learn this week to enhance these novel studies.

As a full team with Karen Jag, Marti Shaw, and Rich Smith, we have already begun organizing our helpful links page using Diigo.  We will look to use tools we learn from class to enhance our cross curriculum projects such as the explorer report and Great American project.

I will work hard on setting up a class blog!  Part of Tuesday's class I already found a new typing program, TypingClub, and I love and added it to our links.

I set up a Twitter and I will learn how to use this tool as well.

Ed Cafe Take Away Classwork Angle vid

GRIT  = passion, stamina, work hard,  living life as a marathon

There were so many great points :

*Grittier kids more likely to graduate
*very talented individuals

*your ability can change with your effort
*the brain grows
*failure is not a permanent condition
*Be gritty about getting kids grittier

I agree you can't teach grit.   The challenge is definitely getting kids to be gritty.  

ED CAFE will be awesome in the classroom.  Our literature circles with our new novels study units will be so engaging.

Teaching Grit .  I leave this very motivated by still confused.  Grade matter, scores matter and kids are trained with standardized testing scores.

GT groups  -discussions around kids who qualify for this needs to continue.  I had a group of 6 students that Molly Smith worked with on Fridays that have strong math skills, and they all grasped new skills faster than the rest of the class.  Grit?  you bet!  They weren't officially in a GT group but they loved their extensions and the homework that was differentiated.

IEP's every student should have one

Ted film

Again, what a great motivating video.
Key points:

Have the guts to confuse the students!

Students' questions are the seeds of new learning !

Curiosity to ask hard questions
Embrace and not fear trial and error
Intense reflection

Embrace the mess - learning is ugly!

Embrace why!  Keep the kids engaged.

This connect with the student led discussions in the class - let the kids decide which discussions to join.  It may not work great the first time but embrace the mess.  I think this will be a great idea for literature circles.  Edmoto and twitter will be two pieces of technology that will help keep units engaging.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Teens Talk Think For Yourself!

* I loved this video.  Again, I'm going to relate to my son's experience.  The teen that quotes her favorite classes as being hands on and connected to the real world are so key

* My son and his twin's sister favorite high school class is chemistry.

* This teacher conducted a real life CSI lab.  This class so inspired my son he is going into police and fire science after years of thinking about another career. They were given clues about a crime and their labs were solving this crime.  It included finger print reading, identifying contents of vomit, footprints and more.  Truly, when they shared this at home, I wanted to attend class!

Classes that teach you to speak and think for yourself!  YES!

* Another connection and point I agree that this teen makes is cramming for test and the faults of them.

My daughter attended a private high school for two years.  She had 7 classes every day for 42 minutes a class. She has exams, essays and projects weekly.  Friday was test day.  In order to get everything done, she pulled all nighters Thursday into Friday.  she learned 50 Latin words, 25 English vocabulary words, and wrote at least three essays a week.  She did have extremely high grade and she learnedd a lot,  However, she had mono as a result.  what good does that do anyone.  Having had a year at public school, she has longer classes every other day.  she loves the fact she can digest the material and have time to seek review in a class before having the course again.  She took n honors math calss that was incredible hard for her.  However, she worked in the lab on days in between Her year average is a 92. 

Rita Pierson - Building Relationships with your students

*Rita's dedication to teaching for 40 years is inspiring.  Having come from parents who were both educators she knew from the very beginning just how dedicated she needed to be to make a difference.

* Her plug for human connection is very true.  She quoted Carver as saying, " All learning is understanding relationships."

* Our jobs are," Tough but not impossible." Is also true.  However, keeping a pack of crackers in your desk for students who are not fed properly at home as well as a wash cloth and soap for those who need it is a tricky subject.  Sometimes, parents are offended and are not on your side even though you have the kids' best interests at heart. 

I brought in my daughter's trendy Aeropostle winter coat for a student of mine who refused to wear a jacket outside in the dead of winter.  She kept begging to stay inside.  She finally came out and told me that her mother bought her coat at Wal Mart and she wasn't ever going to wear it.  She loved the coat! She was so happy on the day I gave it to her.  However, her mother was offended and called our school's guidance office and said that if I wasn't going to give all of the kids then don't give her kid one.  No surprise that this same parent didn't help with any homework at home.  The human connection that I made with her daughter as I did sneak her other items during the year, was strong.  Her scores did soar.

* Another strong point Rita makes is of building self-esteem and academic achievement at the same time.  I would love to make a powerful literature connection to Sahara Special written by Esme Codell.  This novel, written by a teacher, touches the hearts of her students most who come from unstable home lives.  These students were placed together and not in the other 5th grade classes.  They felt safe in Miss Pointy's class room.  Sahara, the main character mentions how relieved she is that no one mentions the fact she repeated the 5th grade with another student who is in the room.  The class was very small in size - another concept we know to be true in helping kids who need it most.

* I have had experience with a wonderful opportunity my son had.  His school system put in place an intense 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade class combined.  Twelve students were in the class with a teacher and two educational technicians.  All PT,OT, and speech was brought to the kids instead of children being pulled out left and right.  The first thing day my son came home from school and said, "It's the perfect palce for me.  My teacher knows how I learn."  If I hadn't experienced this myself, i would not believe the story.  My son gained 2 years growth in math, 3 in reading, and became a strong speller.  WE had the opportunity to have him exit the program by 5th grade and chose not to because of how much more we thought he could learn. He dropped speech the following year. 

In middle school he made honor roll all three years and was in all regular classes.  Now of course we are the type of parents who helped him at home every night for hours all year, so I know this factors in.  He has a 94 average as a senior in high school.  This program is not longer funded.

* So I agree about human connection -but money and funding for the right programs go hand in hand.