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Showing posts from January, 2016

Building On A Solid Foundation

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Pejorative comments are driven by emotion. Every day I hear students say outlandish statements, filled with half truths and intent on inflicting emotional pain. Why do students relegate to such base tactics? Often it is an emotional response, designed to elevate themselves in a relativistic and survivalist culture.

At its heart, fundamentalism is a return to basic tenants, a a grounding on a foundation of original ideas. It is an intentional distancing from an emotional response to a temporary situation. Fads come and go, but a bedrock of beliefs weathers any storm.

I believe this is true both in my approach to education and my personal religious beliefs. As a fundamentalist Baptist, I heartily agree with the original five fundamental tenants from the Doctrinal Deliverance of 1910:
The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this. The virgin birth of Christ. The belief that Christ's death was an atonement for sin. The bodily resur…

How to Prepare Students for Online Standardized Testing

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Whether we like it or not, online standardized testing is a hurdle all students will need to cross. Here are some ways to help prepare them.

Develop good organizational skills.
Students need to know where things are, even if they can't see them. Visual learners may need to map information locations. Habitually messy students need to know how to use good file names and search features. "Out of sight, out of mind" often applies to that minimized window hiding in the task bar or the file somewhere on a flash drive.

Develop screen transfer skills.
Help students understand that it is OK to write physical notes from screen content. It's not one or the other, but a collection of tools that help them. Students need to understand that plagiarism does NOT mean digital content can ONLY be viewed. Help students dig deep into screen content and draw connections to physical documentation. The inverse is also true. Students need to learn how to transfer physical documentation and tr…

Typing Resources Parents Can Use At Home

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This morning a colleague asked for recommendations on typing drills she could have her kids do at home. I suggested starting with Typing Club. Kids can type the lessons without tracking or create a free account to keep personal score.
I also suggested Scripture Typer  as a way for her kids to work on memorizing their weekly Bible verses. They have mobile apps and the website. They also have the option to type entire words or just the first letter. Remember to use the correct version if studying for a test!
Another trick to help children become more confident in touch typing includes placing a shirt or shorts over the keyboard so their hands are covered. Like so many things in life, it's the consistent reinforcement of correct technique every time students use a keyboard.

Civil Rights' Foundation of Faith

Rediscovering Lost Values from Sweet Speeches on Vimeo.

While Martin Luther King Jr. was pivotal to the civil rights movement, we often forget that he was first and foremost a Baptist minister. As King himself once explained, "In the quiet recesses of my heart, I am fundamentally a clergyman, a Baptist preacher."[1]
Some of King's greatest messages did not occur before huge crowds. Instead his dependence on the Bible and an unshakable reliance on God formed the bedrock for all his civil rights work. King saw an unbroken connection between faith and action, that they intertwined into a single life.
The King Center archive has made many documents accessible, including notes, letters and sermons. The Internet can also provide original audio and transcriptions of King's sermons and speeches. This holiday, while the nation salutes King's work for civil rights, get to know his heart and faith.
A transcript of the sermon audio above can be found online here.  In this se…

On A Mission to 1770 Boston

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Students explore 1770 Boston as a young apprentice navigating turbulent political tensions while learning their trade.

Today our 5th grade history students augmented their lessons on colonial America with the first challenge in mission-us.org. Mission US is produced by the public broadcast organization WNET Thirteen.

A nice feature is the ability to download and run a local Flash copy of the game. This provides a smoother experience if you have a sketchy Internet connection. Students will need to register on the main website if they want to save their progress.

There is also an iPad app that contains a follow up quiz to the mission. However, there is no longer any tracking mechanism for teachers to monitor student progress. As such, it makes a great supplement to curriculum and a fun way to reinforce key ideas.

There are three additional missions: the underground railroad, Cheyenne survival on the plains and a Russian immigrant. Educator guides and classroom videos help round out the…

Table Management Through Correct Cell Reference

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With new classes starting this week, I've discovered a few flaws in my game style class management system. Particularly when students drop or add the class.

Overall the reference formulas are pretty complex. Only because of my familiarity with them, am I able to locate all the unique data points and how they impact the visible results. By keeping redundant points identical and pulling data from a central location, I am able to keep the whole system manageable. 

Data inside the same workbook is found through HLOOKUP and VLOOKUP formulas. For those tables to function best, the data should be sorted alphabetically. At other times, I needed data from a separate workbook where the lookup formulas do not function. In those instances I referenced the specific column using IMPORTRANGE.

The problem occurred when changing, adding or dropping a name thus moving the data to a new column. The IMPORTRANGE function continued to work, but now referenced the wrong column data. Fortunately, I had u…