Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tough month for continuity

In some ways, November is my least favorite month to teach. With Halloween just having ended, Election Day, Veteran's Day, Parent Conference Day, and Thanksgiving break, the schedule becomes very fractured. At the same time, the mathematics becomes more challenging. This is not the best of combinations.

I find that the month of November is when a teacher gets a feel for how difficult it will be for the rest of the year in each class. It takes a good deal of effort to keep things together and the class cohesive during this time. And even with the best of efforts, results are often mixed or worse.

For now, three of my four classes seem like they will hold together pretty well. For that I am grateful. However, it makes my frustration level with the other class even higher. This is where I need to really focus on the positive parts of the job and the fact that 75% of my classes feel as they are going well. If I can do this, it will give me a better chance of getting over mu frustrations and successfully improving things in the class not working as well.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Smart Notebook Ipad app

I have written about the use of the Reflection app mirroring software previously. At the time I was attempting to use the Smart Notebook IPad app with the mirroring software and running into difficulties with proper display of Notebook files and writing on the files using the IPad. It got to the point where I gave up and went back to using the Notebook files from my laptop.

The Smart Notebook app was updated about two weeks ago and the bugs I had encountered have been fixed. If you have many of your lessons on Smart Notebook files, I can now heartily endorse their use with the Reflection mirroring software and an IPad. My files are stored in a Dropbox account and can be loaded directly from there into the Notebook App. Through the use of the Reflection mirroring app, I am now able to walk around the room, change and/or write on any pages from any location in my room, and have my students write their work on the Ipad which is nearly simultaneously projected on the board. While the actual editing and file creation features of the Notebook App are limited, (I make all changes and edits on a Laptop before class), from a display and presentation standpoint, this setup is pretty nifty.

During the past two weeks, it has made a very positive impact in the way my students and I can interact during lesson time and has allowed me to monitor their progress during lessons significantly better. The students enjoy showing and projecting their work to the rest of the class as well. I am fairly sure other mirroring software will allow this setup to work as well. It is much more enjoyable to be free to move about the classroom during lesson presentation rather than be stationed at the front of the room.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gafe Summit

It has been much too long since I last posted. It is my intention to post more frequently but often times I just feel so tired by the end of the school day and weekends lately have been filled with lesson planning and family things that required my attention.

However, I do want to reflect on my experience this past weekend at the Google Apps for Education Summit that was held at Burlington High School. The majority of the sessions that I attended were quite well done. All presentation materials were made available to us via online links with many links embedded in those presentations. Links upon links. But despite the overwhelming amount of information presented and available in those links, it is an invaluable resource. I was also quite impressed with the experience and expertise of the presenters and how far a distance many of them came to share what they knew. My PLN expanded by several people this weekend.

My favorite part of the weekend was the two morning keynote addresses, the first was given by Jaime Casap on technology, its speed of change, impact, and relevancy on how children learn things now. His story of how his daughter was going to learn to play the ukelele using a You Tube video rather than a more traditional approach was both funny and eye-opening at the same time.

The second address by Dan Russell was on the topic of what constitutes literacy in the digital age and the concept of informacy. It was top notch! Dan is a search expert at Google. I had the pleasure of taking his power search MOOC this summer so I was already aware of his abilities. His address was even better than I had anticipated. It was thought provoking, humorous, enjoyable, informative, and illuminating all at once. My approach to searching/researching for information will be forever changed and more importantly, how I guide and prepare my students on how, where, and what to look for when they search for information will be much improved and more relevant.

My normal routine of weekend lesson planning was significantly disrupted. However it is worth feeling a bit unsteady and tired as the evening winds down and the school week approaches because of the positive experiences, excellent information, and quality work and people I was exposed to.

Now all I have to do is figure out ways to use and apply all that I learned about this weekend.