Friday, September 20, 2013

Project update

The MLTI laptop rollout was delayed this year so we have not implemented the discussion board yet.  Hoping to do that in the next week or so.  Megan and I think it is all set to go.  We will need to point students and faculty to it and begin posting.  Still hoping it will be used and generate some conversations around science!

Videos that describe new learning

"Prepare kids for change."  An excellent suggestion for teachers as we prepare kids to enter a world which is changing at an exponential rate.

"If I ain't learnin', it ain't fun."  Engagement is number one in education.  The only problem with this quote, is that kids are interested in many different things.  Engaging students in subjects or ideas that do not interest them can be very challenging.  So it is easy to say, but not easy to do.  Nevertheless, our job as educators is to engage.  Students who are engaged and invested will learn and retain more.

Project based learning is a great way to learn.  Above I wrote about engagement, and this is the ultimate form of engagement.  Project based learning empowers students and makes them feel like members of the workforce, and that they are making a difference.  Their learning matters.  I'm hoping that the 8th grade continues to teach Maine history as part of our curriculum.  I have several ideas for project- based learning and Yarmouth history that would be beneficial to the Yarmouth historical society as well as future 8th grade classes.

Gaming video:
blissful productivity: "happier working hard than just hanging out".  Quotes that describes gamers.  Can we harness this energy?  Put it to use to solve world problems?  What if we all went to work with this kind of engagement?   Wow.  Quite a video on how gaming can solve the world's problems.  The challenge will be to create games that are engaging enough to entice gamers to solve these problems.  A great idea that will work if the games are engaging.  It would be fun to pilot some of these games in the classroom- using the class as a collaborative environment to compete against other classes... teachers and students can be on the same team to solve the problems together- and compete against other classes.  Sounds like fun to me!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ted Talk- Khan Academy Videos

Love the TED Talks!  A very inspiring video on "Flipping the Classroom".  Kahn makes several valid points of how this concept could potentially revolutionize education.  Having students view "lecture" or content explanation videos for homework allows students to watch at their own pace and rewind if needed to understand the concept, which they do not get to do during class.  It also frees up teaching time in the classroom.  Teachers can now work with students who are struggling with a concept while other students are working on a problem or project to demonstrate proficiency with the concept.  Ultimately, students can work and progress at their own pace.  Previous lessons can also be viewed again, if needed.  

We have used several of these videos as reference and additional resources.  This works great for students to hear information from a different voice, and maybe presented in a different way.  Khan Academy videos are an excellent resource for the classroom.  

PBS Learning Videos
The PBS Learning videos are outstanding!  We have used several of these in science classes, but I have not come across them all in one place as a resource.  It is necessary to create an account to have full access.  Lots of short video clips that can be used for mini-lessons or flipping the classroom.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Continuing to work on the following:

  • finish revisions for new HMS science and social studies discussion board
  • removing RSS Gadgets on webpage and installing permalinks to Diigo folders 
  • Exploring Lucid
  • integrating Socrates into lessons for entrance and exit slips
  • continuing work with doctopus and goobric
  • Inserting doc folders for each unit in science and social studies into webpage that will contain unit handouts

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Curation Tools to use

  • I plan to use photostreaming personally to share photos and also professionally to share photos with other teachers in building (ie. 5th/8th grade buddy photos, and classroom photos)
  • I plan to use feedly in the classroom with students to follow current events and discussions as well as professional development feeds and personal feeds.  
  • pinterest looks fun and I've heard quite a buzz about it- so I plan to explore that some more over the summer.  I can see how it fits with personal interests at this point, but not sure how I might use it in the classroom (some think it may be dangerous to use in the classroom due to the high interest level and lack of focus)
  • I may begin to use Twitter professionally to try it out.  Not sure I will post yet....

Project Idea

Megan Rice and I are planning to create a science and social studies discussion board for HMS.  We have tried several programs (wikispaces, google groups, blogger, twitter and pinterest).  After looking at all of them, I think we have decided to use wikispaces as it offers the flexibility that we are looking for.  We intend to use this discussion board with faculty and students (grades 5-8) to post questions about content, current events and resources.  We are also hoping to direct students (and staff) to follow this discussion board using Feedly.  

A goal is to encourage staff to join in the sharing of information on a regular basis, so that we can model appropriate and useful digital citizenship.  

Entrance and Exit slips?

Wondering about using Twitter... or Blog posts as entrance and exit slips.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

TED Talk - Geoffrey Cananda - reflection on group discussion

Current model of ed does not work
Why do we keep doing it?
One size fits all-no innovation
Need testing data sooner-not at the end of the year.
Educational cliff- need to do something now

Guiding question- What are we doing that is failing our students?

Education clearly needs to change.  Innovation needs to happen with engagement in mind.  Kids fall through the cracks.  How do we hook all kids? The current model works for some kids but not all. How do we do a better job of personalizing learning throughout the classroom?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Rita Pierson: "Build relationships with your students." TED Talk
  • value and importance of human connection
  • learning requires relationships
  • "kids don't learn from people they don't like"
  • +2 says "I ain't all bad" (instead of -18 on quiz out of 20)
  • teachers can't give up on kids- make a connection
 Teens Talk:  Think for Yourself  TED Talk
  • students measured by numbers- kills creativity
  • stories and experiences enrich a subject
  • more to education than passing an exam

Four key ideas:
  1. Making connections with students is important.
  2. Students need to be valued as individuals.
  3. Celebrate what students know- not what they don't know.
  4. The current model of education needs to change.
Each of these key ideas is important, and it is difficult to select only one.  The first three points are tangible and are extremely important components of education.  Every interaction with another individual provides the opportunity to make a positive connection, which is essential in the classroom to engage students in learning.  The fourth is a bit more abstract since there is no clear path- it is new territory.  Continuing to work on differentiating lessons and allowing for individual choice will help to improve education by making the content more relevant and appropriate to students.