Friday, July 29, 2011

13 Days and Counting

Holy Cow, I go back on August 11th and my students start on August 17th.  It is time to get serious  about what I am going to do this coming school year.  I have an insane amount of twitter links uploaded to multiple evernote notebooks that I need to re-visit.  My concentration has been on homework and grading.  I have some great resources!  My type A side of my personality is obsessing on planning.  I love that part of myself, but right now I want to embrace my creative, flighty, global thinking, child part of myself who is loudly protesting the task master.  She is screaming  to remind me that as much as I try to plan and organize, and make never ending lists what I really need to do is stop and trust my gut!!  And more importantly, think about the kids who will be walking through the door in a matter of days.

So now I am looking at the notes I took while watching Chris Lehmann's ISTE Keynote and thinking of what has been the basis of my teaching career for the past 21 years: my students.  It has always been and will always be about the relationship I build/have with my students.  Here are some key ideas taken from his keynote that will guide me in the next days as I plan for a new school year:

  • Thoughtful, Passionate, Kind
  • "The ethic of care" I care about my students and I care for my students - a family
  • Inquiry, Research, Collaboration, Presentation, Reflection
  • Okay to fail as long as I am learning
  • Never doubt the Wisdom of the Voices of children
  • Teach them to ask powerful questions
  • Head, Heart, Hands, Voice
  • Technology should be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible
I am a mathematics teacher.  So it is easy to get caught up in the high stakes testing and endless standards.  But this year will begin differently, it will begin by acknowledging passion.  I have read the The Passion Driven Classroom by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandvold this summer.  So to begin my school year I plan on incorporating passion in the following ways:
I'm thinking that this is not the beginning my department chairman is expecting.  However, as I sit here listening to Phil Collins sing "You'll Be In My Heart" I think of the incredible students who have touched my heart for the past 21 years.  It is about the students first, then the mathematics I am supposed to teach.  

Now I have the perspective I need to start my new school year!

Friday, July 22, 2011

New School Year Technology Tools

I just received an email from my district notifying all teachers that we will be getting two furlough days back.  That means I will be starting school earlier than originally planned.  So tonight I am thinking about the new school year.  Not that I have not been thinking all summer, but I want to write some ideas and plans I have for integrating technology.  Here are some of the tools I am planning on using...

My Teacher Tools: these are the tech tools that will make me more organized etc...

Twitter - the most incredible professional development tool EVER
Evernote - an incredible note-taking application - shortens all websites so that they are easily embedded into websites or elsewhere.
Livebinders - a great tool for collecting and sharing websites, blogs, and web 2.0 resources.
Snapgrades - an online gradebook that allows me to walk around with my phone and grade students, use rubrics, standards based grading and much more.  Students and parents can log in also!
Google Everything - I use a google email for students and parents to get a hold of me and I can easily respond on my phone, google docs, google sites, etc...  I am looking forward to using google+ for my student groups and parent groups.

Student tools I will use (I am sure I will add to this list!)
Collaborize - I am planning on using this as my go to blended learning tool.
Prezi - this is a tool the students love to use to make presentations
Glogster - another great tool for presenting
Google Docs etc... Love this for collaborative writing projects, yes we write in math!!
Voicethread - I really like how students can create a voicethread and then others can contribute and collaborate!
Evernote - I'll teach my kiddos how to use evernote as a tool for organizing and taking notes.
Livebinders - Another tool for organizing
BuzzMath - this is a cool website for students to practice math... Middle School Level!

I know this is only a handful of sites.  I spent last year playing with things and attending Classroom 2.0 Saturday webinars on many of these sites.  I want to mention Edmodo.  I think it is a great site, however for my middle school students it did not work, therefore this coming year I am going to use Collaborate.  I believe Edmodo would be great for younger students.

These are my plans, I just wanted to share.