Honestly, I started this so that they could see the days and the time evaporating and going away. I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did. They seemed to like it as well! Here's the progression. Day one...Just the dates on the board. Day two, the wood comes in. Day three, flames. Day four, turkey! Day five, marshmallows and people.
Middle School Time Management
My middle school kids have the WORST time managing larger assignments, so I started looking for a way to remind them and keep them motivated of the limited amount of time in class to complete the research and writing of the expository papers. I use a doodle journal to keep track of larger projects. I break it into days, draw pictures and then color them when I finish up a section.
I took this process and made a chart on the board of the dates we have remaining on our project. From there, I decided a fall bonfire might be a fun theme. The picture above is us on day two.
This is the other monitor I'm trying in conjunction with the doodle. I bought clothes pins from @dollargeneral and had the students decorate and put their names them. Next, I strung some old yarn across my wall and put up placards with the names of each section of the project. As students complete each section, they move their clothes pins to the next section. It's a nice visual to help me and them keep track of where everyone is in the process. Please note: students on IEP's have abridged assignments. So while they are doing different work, it's all labeled in the system the same way.
And finally, the best way to keep the students on track is to stay on top of the grading for big projects. I grade the in class projects daily. The next day when they come to class they have feedback on what they did the day before. They can then redo that for a better grade or carry on with the projects. Being in a #blendedlearning classroom really helps with this.
My son (with the green hair in this picture) is currently in the hospital. He is scheduled to be discharged on Monday evening according to his doctors.
I missed school suddenly on Thursday (1/2 the day) and Friday. I was so grateful for the time to take care of my family. Thursday when everything went down in school, I asked what I should do, they said, "Get your coat and leave." I literally walked back to my classroom, got my things and left. My co-teacher stepped up to wrap up loose ends.
I felt very supported and very much a part of the community. I know I joke a lot about "I'm not from here" a good bit, but last week, I felt I belonged.
Not many school districts can boast that. We left the East Coast to follow work opportunities. We have found so much more.
So, last fall, we learned about getting our Apple Teacher credentials from the Apple Teacher Learning Center website. Thanks to some inspirations from @bwestcc and @terryteachermms, I completed the process this week. I have to say I would not have completed anything without the inspiration from Julie and Terry. I saw your posts and really wanted to do that too!! Peer pressure can be a great thing. Thank you and @MrsJCarlson for encouraging and inspiring me.
With the Apple Teacher Certification, I also went ahead and got the Apple Teacher Swift Coding badges as well. I'm super chuffed about those because I've felt a bit of a failure this past week with my computer lessons--while loops have got me straight up tripin', boo. I've been stuck on the same problem for three days, so the encouragement that came with the badge was very welcome.
I'm also super excite we are starting the expository writing process this week with the students. I have an idea for stations of students based on completed levels of the essay...so they work their way through the stations and everyone who is working on the same stuff sits together. This way, I can float from group to group and help, but since they are all on the same stuff they can help each other. We'll see how that works out.
On the grant front, I've received all the materials, now I just have to build it. I've written about the recycled materials and the room. Now to just get people into answering me :-). Actually, I get it. It's busy for everyone. I've kept up with my bullet journal for two whole weeks now and I'm proud of that as well. Hopefully, it will help me track and keep up with all these goals.
And finally, I'm going to be on the 10 minute Teacher Talk Podcast with @coolcatteacher!
I have no idea what to expect, but I'm excited to make it happen. Should be a hoot. I'll post more as I know more!
Robots and Transitions
On August 11, 2017, Elon Musk took to twitter to proclaim: If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea."
As I work to weld technology into the classroom experience, I do sometimes wonder how much longer my actual existence in the classroom will be necessary for some of my students.
This week we used robots (specifically this robot) to reiterate the importance of transitions in written language. Starting with the premise of "they use transitions all the time in spoken language--how can I tap into that innate usage," I wound up using the robots to put them in a situation where the organic speech mechanism could be tapped.
First, students were given a task list of commands and space at the bottom to write a five sentence explanation of the dance they designed for the robot. The commands in scratch are very demonstrative ("Forward 50 normal," Turn Left 90," and "Turn to Voice").
The sentences pretty much write them selves because of scratch's user interface.
"First Sadie turns to the let and right. Then, she stops. Thirdly, she goes backwards and forwards. After that, she turns left and right again. Fifth she looks up, left and to the right. Next she says hi and neighs like a horse. Finally she repeats it all once more."
It's easy to see how they used the computer programing as a scaffold for the structure of their writing.
This year, I had them write paragraphs and then turn in video tapes of their robot's dance. Next year, I'll probably change that to having parallel boxes on a worksheet. On one side they paste a picture of the code and on the other side they write out the movements. This will allow an easier comparison between programing language and expository writing.
The next few days, we read articles about robots in the classroom and about how the role of the teachers and robots is one that is changing rapidly. After checking for comprehension of the materials via written summaries and quizzes, students are prepped for working on the group essay about robots in the classroom next week. (This will be our exemplar essay that we write as a whole class--unique to each class and its ideas).
When we get to the graphic organizers in two weeks, our work will harken back to this lesson as we examine the structure of the expository essay using the shapes of the blocks for the transitions (that we'll use to make their essays run logically like code!).
I really enjoyed doing this lesson and the students' work speaks for itself.
First Nemo said Hello. Then, he moved forward, backward, and looked up. After that, he impressed us with a light show. Finally looked left two times and did a little dance.
I'm a technology curriculum facilitator, and I'm excited about integrating technology in the classroom.