Saturday, September 24, 2011

With School in full Swing....

Hopefully your projects are going well.   Don't forget to take pictures, videos and save students work  so you have it for your transparency.   Even if you have not done any thing with them it is better to collect them.  Remember you can have the kids responsible for this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Project Plans

Finally back into the swing of things!  Like Mike said, we had a few heavy personal issues happen in August, but we're back in action, and happy to be here.  

I've also hit a technology snag.  Many of my students have not been issued their school computers as of right now.  We've been having a server malfunction at my school recently, and the IT geniuses are using all their time trying to get it fixed.  Laptop distribution has been put on hold for now.  Until further notice, I've got about 40% of my kids without computers, which makes the idea of asynchronous pairing even more difficult.  Also, the balance of my classes is unusually skewed this year.  One section of the class I want to do this project in has 21 students, and the other section has 11.  For this reason, I have decided to allow students to work with a partner in the same class as them, with the added requirement that they must share their work with the other class in a "guest speaker" format.  As of right now, I am still working on the logistics of this plan, and I'm thinking it might even become a video that they create and share somehow.  I'm not sure, though.  It's still a work in progress.

Luckily for me, all freshmen at my school are required to take a class called "Tech and Career," in which each of them is already required to use Google Docs.  Thanks to this class, I won't be responsible for introducing the overall technology idea to them, only the specific pieces I need them to use.  I'm thinking it might be fun to coordinate with the Tech teacher and see if there is a way students can get credit for this project in both classes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cathy's Digital Portfolio Project

I have already hit one snag with my student's creation of digital portfolios and that is they won't get their laptops for a while as we continue to work on moving into the new school. We are looking at the end of September and probably sometime in October.   I do have a portfolio template set up that they can use when they get their computers and it has a link to a video I found to help them copy the template to their account and then make it their own. I have created a website that the 7th grade teachers will be using to post assignments so the students will have access to them from home. My team will be discussing having all the assignments on one page vs having a page for each teacher. I created it with a page per subject but not everyone likes that idea.

I still need to discuss with our computer tech the students being able to use their laptop cameras. I am not hopeful about that and won't be bringing it up right away as he says he is still very busy with all our new technology and I know that's true.

I do intend to get my students set up and going on their e-mail if I can even before they get their laptops as most of them do have internet access at home anyway. Getting that going will be one less thing to have to teach them before we can get going on the portfolios.

I haven't forgotten the reverse teaching and am planning on assigning some Khan Academy math at some point in the year so they can come to class with some knowledge ahead of time. We have done a Scavenger Hunt through our new math books to help them become acquainted with all that's available in their new books. I would love to claim that as my idea but I got it from our 8th grade teacher and then tweaked it to fit the 7th grade book.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Project Set-Up

I've been going all around the mulberry bush about my project. This is what I've finally landed on. I'm going to do a 'challenge activity' with my students that will tie into a novel we are reading. If it works out well, I would like to do more of them as the year goes along. The challenge will be available to students when they are finished with their traditional work and they will be expected to do the work independently. I will provide them with the challenge and give them a week of time to complete. It won't be required. Students will get credit for doing it or not. I won't give any assistance in the challenge. They have to figure out how to do it on their own. is the first challenge from the book Countdown by Deborah Wiles.

Franny mentions her old school in comparison to her new school. Find the names of both the schools in Chapter 1 and then follow these steps.

1. Find out if each school is a real school.
2. If the school is real, find it on a Google Map.
3. Take a screenshot of each school that you find and upload it here.


Include a document with any other facts you find about the schools and/or the school websites. 

One of the challenges that I've had in the past is having enough work for students who finish early. This 'challenge' idea would provide extra work that is also self-directed and technology focused. 

These challenges will be part of the Moodle that I've created for ELA. I also have my school website up. I've put a blog up that I will write in every Friday to update the parents about what we've been doing. On my website I've also added a Photos page to post pictures and videos of our activities. The reason my blog is an iWeb blog and not a Blogger is because we are prohibited from using Blogger at my school. This will be a real downfall because iWeb blogs don't allow for comments to be posted without uploading through Mobile Me - which I'm also prohibited from doing. So parents will have to email comments. 

So that's my progress on my project.

Morrell's Project

Sorry for my absence on the blog for the month of August. A lot of personal stuff went down but I think I'm back on track. Posts the the blogs will be incoming this weekend.  Anyways here is what I'm going to be doing to get myself ready for the project and the execution of the project.

Like stated earlier I want the students to create a known plate boundary for each of the three types of boundaries using Google SketchUp. To do this I feel that I need to be more of an "expert" at SketchUp than I am or previously was during the STI2011 week. I'm going through more of the tutorials, even more than once so I have an idea of the questions that might be asked of me. I will more than likely respond with "What have you tried?" and "Have you asked your partner?" before leading them down the right path. Near the beginning we will all learn Google SketchUp together much like we did at the conference.

I still haven't decided on whether or not to use my school site that is already up and running or create some sort of blog or other website to house this. Pictures and videos that I take of the students during this process could become unruly in FirstClass as I don't have much space on the server. However the website, regardless of where it is hosted, will include a run down of what's going on in the class as well as pictures and video to be used as examples of the written descriptions. Finally when everyone is done their final product will be screen captured so I can upload it as a picture instead of a document.

Grading will be group based as well as individual. They will have a group grade on how well they completed the requirements and an individual grade for how much they contributed to the final product. I think I'm going to have it be a 70/30 split between individual and group. Not sure about that part yet.

What I need to do right away considering it's the beginning of school (finally! Two days closed because of Irene) is to send home a photo permission slip to parents. Other than that I think it'll be a trial by fire as the project progresses.