I Want What Is Cool

I have been preparing for school this week by cleaning up my student computers. I started thinking about how computers have changed my classroom with my students. I also thought about how it has changed my prep at the beginning of the year.

At the end of the school year we asked our district Tech department to image one computer and copy it to all the student computers. It turned out to be a job they thought to time consuming. So here I am cleaning, installing, and updating my classroom computers. I learned that having 1:1 means doing most of my own work on my computers. This helps me with a few things though.
• I get to know the computers and what their limitations are.
• I find out what the students have been up to (pictures, bookmarks, file management or lack thereof)
• I see what needs to be done so I can train my students management of updates, files, and and basic computer usage.

This needs to be lesson to us and we wish for the latest and greatest. We need it if we are going to prepare young minds for the future. But with new technology comes new responsibility also. We need to learn to manage what we get. This is a big deterrent for teachers that do not want more on their plates. What are the trade-offs? To me the trade-off is the numbering of books and papers, putting together packets of papers and running off assignments. Using the computer eliminates most of these things and makes it easier to manage.

Just like learning the new reading or math program the district mandates for use every few years, we need to learn the tools of the trade. Computers have become one of those tools and it is not going away. We need to learn the basics of setting it up for our students. We can have the students set them up at the end of the previous year, but if one students does it wrong, we need to be able to make it right. With the learning and management of the computer comes the big trade-off for me. Less paperwork. More assignments online that do not get lost and can be done if the student is present or absent. That makes it worth the trouble.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Let's Get This Started Already

It is time get ready for school to start. I need to get all my learning
summarized and focused for our first team meeting. I wrote in a previous post some oft the things I learned this summer.

One big thing I need to do is clean up and clean off our class computers. W will be updating and adding some new software while cleaning off some of the unused and unnecessary software on the computers. We use Open Office for writing. We have decided to go with Google Docs for more collaborative writing between the students. It will also provide a better way for teachers to observe writing as it happens and not after each piece is done. We can watch the writing happen and give suggestions and gear lessons to what we are seeing. We will still have students brainstorm on paper, but they will type everything after that. They will also be using Google Calendar for events and assignment due dates.

We found Scratch for students to play with programing. What a great program. It is great for helping students with sequence.

For idea mapping we will be using XMind. Google earth will help us with landforms and seeing the places we study about. We will also try out Google Chrome as our web browser. Using Google Apps could be easier, or not make a difference. We will see.

Then there is setting up my room. As a team we like to keep our rooms similar to help with the management of our classrooms. We have our personalities, but we like to be similar. It help the students see that we are consistent across the whole grade level.

I am getting antsy and I am ready for school to start. I want to get started on the new things I've learned. I want the students to learn what I have learned. Let's go already.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


What I've Learned?

Summer has always been the time of year when I take time to learn. This is the time I find information that I can use to change my classroom for the better. Anything my team has learned will be discussed the first week are together, possibly sooner. So, what have I learned this year?
• I need to look at my room for my students' point of view. Would I be a student in my own classroom? I will be looking at this as I enter my classroom.
• Screen time for elementary school students needs to be limited. How do we do this in a paperless classroom? An elementary classroom can not be totally paperless. There needs to be writing and it needs to be on paper. we will be discussing this as the year starts also.
• Homework needs to be given for a reason and should be linked to the work done at school. It should be review work and should not take very long to do. Time after school should be given to families to use as they need. Our team has put together a homework schedule for each night and we feel it is not too much, but we need to look at what we require them to do each night to make sure it fits in our schedule.
• I need to work harder to make my lessons more interesting and interactive. Having students engaged keeps problems down and interest high. this will be more work for my team, but the dividends will be payed in the students we teach. Having a teacher talk about how they gave up punishment by doing this made me think that I need to make every lesson more interesting.
• Administrators are a big help to teachers. My principal is always helping and supporting what we do. When an administrator supports their teachers, the teachers flourish and work hard. I know this, but to read other teachers tell about how they a supported, they innovate and lead in the learning revolution. Complaining teachers cannot innovate and do not want to change.
• Failure is a way to find solutions. I need to rethink how failure is looked at in my classroom. W can learn from failure. We can grow from failure. We can succeed while using our failures to move us along.
• Having students worry about their learning and not their grades is the biggest lesson I have learned. I will be working this lesson for years to come. Helping students learn to love learning is the most important lesson I can teach them also.

There are many lessons I learned this year. Thank you to all the teachers, administrators, and bloggers for teaching me. We are all learners and when we take the time, we can find so much more. An do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad