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Showing posts from August, 2010

All In A Day's Work

Let's see, what all did I do today? First we brainstormed yearbook themes. Fun but creativity takes effort first thing in the morning. I should have had that second cup of coffee.

Then in Web Design we shopped for three different telecommunications Internet Service Providers. Interesting to note that Juno and NetZero have identical websites but different pricing.

Prep period was spent networking a new netbook for remedial help and rearranging the second lab. The PC's remained connected, I just needed to move furniture. I also helped a teacher who's unchanged password was blocking their Internet access - just a little trouble shooting over the phone.

Researched the American Sociological Association and guided students through developing tri-fold brochures for the organization. Even though I'm not grading their graphics arts skills it was refreshing to see quality brochures with real content and more than quick clip art.

Then after a hasty lunch of turkey sandwich and yo…

Circle Up

Got the first bits of feedback from the students about the new classroom arrangement today. So far it seems to be pretty positive. No longer are they facing the walls but circled around sets of four computers.

They liked the way they could see everybody but some missed the close quarters that came with the wall arrangement.

I might get a bit dizzy though circling around so much! 3/4th of the room is hooked up. Hopefully I can get the rest of the lab online during prep period tomorrow - that and finish building student logins to the network.

First Day Distractions

Sometimes it's tough for me to stay focused. I often get distracted or obsess over a trivial detail, even to the point of missing something really important.
Today is the first day of school and our washing machine won't drain. No big deal. We all have clean clothes for today. But it's driving me nuts. What do you do to regain focus or control when your thoughts are yanked away from the classroom? Deep breaths? Think happy place? I just need to get back into the groove of school.
Update: After draining all the water and pulling enough electrical parts to realize I wouldn't be getting a replacement locally, I called Whirlpool. After waiting about 30 minutes on hold I finally talked to a customer service agent who very pleasantly updated our information (we had moved since purchasing the washer in 2001) and arranged for a technician to come out. 
The only problem was that all their openings were during the day and it just wouldn't do to take time off the first week of s…

Perspective Bulletin Board

My Life In a Grid

Here's a Master Scope and Sequence for all my classes this year. Looks like I'll be plenty busy.

2010-2011 Scope and Sequence Week Student Publications Web Design Sociology Geography Computer Applications Computer Programming 1 Yearbook Basics Introducing Networks and the Internet Research Skills Geography: Finding Our Place in the World Microsoft Office Basics Computers and Programming Language 2 The Sociological Point of View Introducing Windows XP 3 Yearbook Copy The Earth's Surface Using a Word Processor Small Basic - Introduction, Understanding Our first Program 4 Introducing the World Wide Web and Internet Explorer Cultural Diversity Climate Formatting Documents Small Basic - Variables, Conditions and Branching 5 Yearbook Design Industry Advanced Formatting Features Small Basic - Loops, Beginning Graphics 6 Yearbook Photography Cultural Conformity and Adaptation Society Using a Spreadsheet Small Basic - Fun with Shapes, Turtle Graphics 7 History of Journalism Introducin…

38 Updates

It's done. The elementary computer lab is fully functional and ready for little gamers, programmers and a lot of keyboarding. It's exciting to think about how much better the setup will be, too bad I'm not teaching elementary computers this year. We two middle school teachers that are picking up the responsibility.

This summer the elementary rooms were repainted which necessitated EVERYTHING be unplugged and moved into the hallway, including the Smartboard. I also decided to take half the computers out and move them to the high school lab. That leaves only twelve computers.

My theory is that there was usually so much excitement about learning or discovering new things, that the kids were always jumping up to share with their friends. Now they will work in pairs with two chairs to each PC and two PC's creating a pod. It should be easier to circulate around the room. Before we had four rows that terminated at the wall and kids would trip over the wires of the row behind.…

Great Expectations

Sometimes I wonder if I expect too much of myself and my students. I really think they can do a lot - and do it well - but do we have enough time?

This year we have a new high school principal and he has asked all of us to develop a document listing our classroom expectations. It's sort of an amalgamation of a syllabus, scope and sequence, classroom rules and grading system. Parents and students are to sign that they've read it and hopefully that will alleviate any conflicts or discipline issues.

Here's a copy of what I developed for Publications. I feel like it's a bit long but journalism is not your typical lecture class. The sad part is that I have six more classes to develop this kind of document before Monday morning.

Conflict of Interest

When I opened today's Sunday paper, Verizon Wireless had taken out a full page advertisement with their back to school campaign that reads "Show and tell this. Conquer the classroom with these smart deals." Honestly I'm a bit flummoxed. Do people really believe that grades would improve simply by purchasing a blackberry? Do schools really allow kids to use their own netbooks and Android phones IN CLASS?
At our school, phones have been banned and have been confiscated. Netbooks are slowly showing up but are not allowed to access the network so they are really useless. I really think advertisers are just trying to create a perceived need to sell more product. One thing is for sure, if students show up with new tools, guess who will have to teach them how to use those tools. I doubt Verizon will.