Monday, November 26, 2007
Well, I'm finally back to work after attending NYSCATE and then the Thanksgiving break. It was an energizing yet relaxing week off. I went back with new plans to make the work more meaningful and to get the kids doing some work together. I'll let you know in a week or two how that's going. I feel much better about letting go of the constant grading and stressing about that issue. I talked to one of my principals today, I go back and forth between two elementary buildings, and told him I felt everyone should be getting a three if they are coming to class and at least trying and by observing the students I'll see those who are proficient and rise to the top and deserve a 4. He agreed. I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders just letting that issue go. Ahhh.... feels good. So, instead of grading tonight. I spent a couple of hours searching for appropriate websites for the 4th and 5th graders to use for research projects. I want to begin using a wikki to post student work but the pbwiki is denied by our filter. I'll try some others one of these days but I have a feeling I'll get the same result. At least I'm on the right committees now to try and get some changes made!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I just read, in my new Google reader, a post about writing down your goals and reading them at least once a day. By doing this people stay focused on the outcome and are more likely to achieve the goal. I think that's something I need to work on for my new position as elementary tech teacher. I need to figure out where I want to go. I have skills that I have to teach and make sure they are mastered at certain grade levels but the rest is up to me. So, just what is it I want to do with these young minds? I want them engaged in meaningful tasks. What does this mean? What does it look like? Especially when I only have them 40 (closer to 30-35 depending on if they get to the room on time and how long it takes to get logged on to and off the computers)minutes once every 6 days. Well, I want them reading and writing for authentic reasons. I'm trying to go along with what they're learning in the classroom but being in two buildings and having 6 classes of each grade level believe it or not we're not all on the same page all the time so that's not an easy task. Perhaps I should not worry about that and come up with my own plan and go from there. I did a newspaper type project with one fifth grade class-yes I did remember to start small-that went well. I do need to reflect on that soon and write down what went well and what I need to improve on for the next attempt. But anyway I started with a great group of kids that are well behaved and eager to work and learn-I know because I had many of them in second grade and they are just one of those special groups of kids. So that really helped the project. But I know the kids selecting their jobs and what they wanted to write about made it exciting for the kids and kept them very focused every day. I need to come up with more of those type of activities and maybe start the class with a mini lesson on a skill I need to make sure they're working on and then let them work. Ok, so my first goal to write down-this is going on my Google Toolbar where I'll see it every night-is:1. Make the work we do in class meaningful and authentic.
Well, 3 workshops in a row with no break is almost too much! Today was disappointing. I didn't come away with any real helpful information. I should have left the second presentation and gone to something else. But when there's only 3 other people in the room that's hard to do-I was wishing I wasn't so polite! The third session was a sales pitch which I knew going in. I was hoping to win something. Silly me I should know better. Oh well...hopefully tomorrow's sessions will be better.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Well it's almost midnight. I better get some sleep so I'm ready for tomorrow's conferences. I've been checking out sites all night. I'm so glad I finally found out how to use delicious. It led me to blogs by kindergarten teachers. Finding these sites will help me figure out how to use them with my tech classes. A few ideas I'm contemplating are posting the 5th graders news articles on a wiki and doing that with another class in Jan. Starting a wiki with the first graders when they begin their Jan Brett author study is another idea. The fifth grades are going to begin a presidential project next month. Posting their slide shows (maybe done on Google tools?) or other material on line will be an option. I've just got to make sure I don't take on more than I can handle all at once! I need to start out small and grow so I don't frustrate myself or the classroom teacher.
Well, I've been at NYSCATE for 4.5 hours and I'm feeling overwhelmed with all the new information but excited about the new possibilities. So far I've set up a gmail account and reader account and am using this blogger account for the first time. David has a great point that I need to live this before I ask the kids to do it. Hmmmm does this mean I'll be spending even more time on line? One of the frustrating parts of my new job as elementary computer teacher is the time I'm spending grading their work. I will definitely be rethinking that! I need to make the work more authentic while teaching the skills that I have to teach. The other time factor is the lesson plans. I know that will be better next year once I have the first year under my belt. Well, time to move on to developing a wikki and evoca account.....