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Showing posts from July, 2015

Planning Lessons for the Whole Year

I plan my lessons for the entire year but rarely stick to them. Still, it helps me feel better going into the school year.

Early on I realized that flexibility is the name of the game. There may be 180 days of school, but snow days, assemblies and sickness can wreck a tightly scheduled plan. Over the years I've developed a system for organizing lesson plans that gives both flexibility and the assurance that we will cover all the important content areas.

First, I list out all the lessons for every class. Usually the curriculum will have a list and sometimes I use the table of contents. When I have developed my own curriculum, it may take a year or two to feel out the pace. Ideally, about 95% of your class time should have a plan, including projects, review and testing.

I then spread the lessons onto a calendar. Several of my classes are on a rotation so it's important for me to see when they fall. Monday classes miss several weeks in the winter because of holidays. I can eithe…

Discovery Lab Decorations

School is less than a week away and I finally have my classroom decorated! Gathering inspiration from the Adler Planetarium, mission control and space lab, I tried to create a futuristic environment. Experimentation, discovery, failure and problem solving are the qualities I wanted my room to express.

Painter's tape gave decorative lines to cabinets and defined "screens" on the walls. I also organized the desks into pods or groups of four. Each group is a different color. They have a mission journal and instruction binder plus a dry erase square for brainstorming. I plan to use group interaction a lot more this year instead of isolated work by students.

While working on my room, I was often reminded of set design for theater. In a sense, every classroom is a bit like a stage where the drama of education unfolds. I might even wear a lab coat or smock as costuming in keeping with the theme!

Check out my Flickr album below to see all the different elements around my room, …

Digital Citizenship Certified

Our official Digital Citizenship certified school banner arrived today! While I have been using Common Sense curriculum for several years, it's nice to have your efforts recognized. At this time there are only six other schools in Indiana who provide this same level of digital citizenship training for their students.

Common Sense, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of digital media and technology, has recognized Kimgsway Christian School as a Common Sense Digital Citizenship: Certified School for educating its students to be safe, smart, and ethical digital citizens.

Kingsway has demonstrated its commitment to taking a whole-community approach to preparing its students to use the immense power of digital media to explore, create, connect, and learn, while limiting the perils that exist in the online realm, such as plagiarism, loss of privacy, and cyberbullying.

"We applaud the faculty and staff of Kingsway Christian S…

Defining Intelligence Through Moral Choices

As a fan of science fiction, I enjoy a good book or movie that explores artificial intelligence. As a computer programming teacher, I've discussed if the Turing Test is a good bench mark. But as I examined the themes that literature and entertainment address when discussing AI, I realized I've heard them before.

As the robot begins to develop awareness, it is always confronted with a moral conundrum. It is not the AI's witty dialogue or charming personality that reveals it's intelligence. Instead the "innocent" robot must wrestle with a choice between good and evil. We may not think of intelligence this way, but it could be defined as a moral awareness.

This is the same story about mankind found in Genesis chapter 3. Adam was innocent, or unfamiliar with the consequences of a contradiction to God's nature.When he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, his eyes were opened. That's the moment good AI stories recreate. An innocent or AI ro…