How Much Longer Do I Have?

It is time to get ready for school. The kids will be back in a few weeks and I am now starting to put my ducks in a row. What programs are we going to use? How am I going to use the new Language program? What online programs will it offer and will I want to use them?

I am also watching a few more podcasts to get a few more ideas to incorporate into the team before school starts. I find it easier to start an idea in the beginning of the year. It helps me get it going and if it works it will keep going strong.

I am always excited to start a new year with new students and new ideas. I try to push myself to go farther and get better as a teacher. Years ago I had a student ask me if the previous year's students' did the same activity? I took that as a challenge that we need to change it up a little each year. We need to have some consistency and the best lessons can be tweaked, but do not need to be revamped.

This week will be teachers teaching teachers the ideas they were taught at different conferences or some of the ideas they have found successful. We will also learn about our new Language program. We get to learn a new program this year. We seem to get a new program each year. We will get it learned and see how it does.


Walking a Tightrope Without a Net..book!

I have been doing a lot of reading this summer about using our students netbooks better. I have found a few programs that I want to use. As I was reading Dave Warlick's blog he mentioned using Xmind as a brainstorming program. I was using Freemind but Xmind is so much easier to use. So I will be installing it on the student computers when we start school.

I was searching around on the net and ran into a blog by Brad Flickenger. He talks a lot about using netbooks in the classroom. He has some great ideas about using them in the curriculum, classroom management, and basic netbook stuff in the classroom. It gave me some ideas about having the students sign a netbook contract. We will put together a few rules and consequences for the netbooks. He also mentions that he has the students do a monthly maintenance checklist to keep them clean and orderly. I will be putting one of those together also to keep them running as well as giving the students a sense of ownership for their computer.

One thing Brad talked about was using flash drives in the classrooms. If the students have their own computers, why use a flash drive? I can see a few reasons why we should use flash drives. Taking documents home for use on their computers and going from one computer in the school to the computer lab to complete a reports or to show a presentation. I have not been sold on the Google Docs yet for Elementary School students. I want to use it, but I have parents that do not want (or do not have a computer) email addresses for their children. I want a way for the students to get a Google Docs account, but I am still trying to figure out how to get all the students an account. I was hoping that Google would let me put a class of students into a group so I can manage them. I am hoping that we will get to the point of having parents set up the account for the students. We will see this coming year.

I really like his idea about sending the students a question each morning before school for them to answer in the morning. We have the students do Morning Work (a language question, geography question, analogy question and a math question) and work as partners to complete the questions. Adding a message on our Wiki would be a great addition to the morning work. It could be a starter for Social Studies, a topic in math, language, or even a situation in class. So many ideas. I can't wait.