Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

This blog is blocked

My lovely portal of digital knowledge is partially blocked at school. Blogger is blocked, but since I have my own domain (thanks, bro), I only lose tiny relevant bits here and there. It's driving me a little nuts. The Dipity slideshow I posted below for my threes is blocked since it uses Flickr. Not all blocked, just a few relevant bits. Thank goodness Google is not blocked. You're welcome, trees!

So I've asked for a bypass for my students to use. I've asked very nicely. I hope to hear soon about it. These kids, are, after all, growing up. They are growing up fast, too fast for our rate of decision making. A generation of students, wondering why on earth we don't open it up, make transparent choices, choose to be learners in this century. Choose to be networked. These are the kids whose co-workers will ask, What do you mean, you don't know how to do that? We rant and rave within these four walls, when the whole world is out there. It's out there.

Sometimes I want to shout: If you think what is happening is what this room full of teenagers thinks is happening, well, you're wrong. There is a whole world out there, and my job is to show it to these teenagers, model how to get along in the world with all these tools, construct knowledge about it with them, discover the world.

A student today came to me and said, "I talked to Luis today." Luis lives in DR. He is an expert in his field, an athlete of old. "He told me to get ready for snowshoe season!" Her eyes sparkled like the sun. Her world has shifted because, quite simply, technology has allowed it to. My whole heart fills with joy that this is something I have shared, modeled, and helped her discover.

Rant over, issue not. I will keep the faith here--that in the end, teaching and learning will be supported, and we can carry on the business of educating our future caretakers and decision-makers.


PD for Teachers (Like Students Do It)

I read this article yesterday and I think it summarizes nicely where teachers need to be in terms of tech:

PD for Teachers (Like Students Do It). Will Richardson is very articulate. I find myself sharing a lot of what he writes.

We as teachers often start with how do I do this? Someone must show me. And students start with, how do I do this? I will play around and figure it out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

hear ye, hear ye

Lately my finger has been pointed outward and the nature of things inevitably causes a few fingers to point back at me.

One of my flaws as a Spanish teacher is that I don't speak enough Spanish.

Last night decided that one week a month will be an all Spanish week. One week a month! In a school year that's nine weeks, which equals one whole quarter. That feels better to me. Dedicated time that adds up to something.

Reflections. I am not sure why this period of my life is full of so much inward reflection and outward motion. Maybe it is because I am nearly done with my advanced studies. And part of me wonders if I am ready to graduate? That is silly, right? Thousands of people earn degrees all the time. It's more than a piece of paper...right?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

week three/semana tres

Week three, sickness hits.
My classroom is a ripple
that turns into a wave.
No one feels quite right today.
Even the Internet feels broken.
We shrug and sigh through the last period.
Finally someone
has the bright idea
to haul out the bean bags
and have me read them a story
"just like in kindergarten!"

The words are in Spanish,
the pictures, familiar--
it's a monkey! and
a man in a yellow hat.

They listen, rapt--
shining faces, smiles
emerging from shadows.

If only every day
could be like kindergarten.
We could rest, we could play,
we could read, we could run--
what am I thinking?

I hated teaching kindergarten!
They were messy!
They were loud!
They cried!
They had to use the bathroom
when I was in the middle
of Very Important Lessons!!

But yet--
the tranquility of
ears listening, eyes watching,
brains working out words--
I love this part.

So. No real answers.
Just happy the day ended
on a Curious George note.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

close to tears

One of my classes came in today and I had just spent a good hour grading their work from the weekend before. I stood in front of them and said, "I really can't give any credit, except to one person. Only one person read the directions and did this the way I expected. So, the rest of the class did not receive any credit--I put a zero in for the first try. I'm not disappointed; you are all pretty new at this."

Several kids looked like they might cry. One boy started sputtering at me, and I had to ask him to speak more respectfully. I felt awful. Was I really the first teacher in the two weeks of school that has told them they aren't going to receive credit for work that does not meet my standards?

"Don't look so sad!" I hastily added. "I stay after school one day a week and I can help you, and show you what you need to do to make it right. That day is tonight. Please come if you can, and we can fix this."

After that I taught them the lamest joke in Spanish, which basically goes, What does the fish do? The answer is nada, which means both nothing, and swims. They got it, they laughed, the mood lightened, and we worked on skits for the rest of the time--lots of great questions, and mini-lessons.

Promptly after school several students showed up in my room, and we worked together to make the work right, and they were singing, and smiling, and one girl said, "This is actually fun." We sat in a big circle and laughed at how easy the work really was, with practice.

I hope they know that staying after is never a punishment, it's just another chance to practice and become better at these new things.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grad school notes

(Thanks, Dr. M)

Working on design principles for sharing research in a presentation. We will use Voicethread this semester--cool.

Goal 1 Clear and to the point

Principle 1: Relevance

Tip: you can use media here to set the stage.

Build around take away message then tell them what they need to know to understand the message.

Don't saturate with the data. Not all of my data on OERs will be relevant to my presentation.

Principle 2: Appropriate Knowledge

Make use of what the audience already knows.

Present ideas that grow out of familiar ideas (OER is foreign but educational websites are not).

Know the audience and address concerns and interests.

Activate schema--give context.

Goal 2 Direct and hold attention

Principle 3: Salience! Tell things at the relevant time.

Tease it out.

Tip: you can use color in text. It also helps to organize.

Principle 4: Discriminability

Two properties must differ by a large enough proportion.

Basic design here.....headings etc.

Principle 5: Perceptual Organization

Viewers will consider together materials that are organized into a single group.

Goal 3: Promote Understanding and Memory

Take advantage of how mental processes help

Principle 6: Compatibility

Form compatible with meaning.

Principle 7: Informative changes

Every change in meaning should be conveyed by a change in appearance.

A change in appearance usually triggers an expectation that the information set will change.

Principle 8: Capacity Limitations

We have a limited capacity to retain and process.

Don't make it harder than it is.

(I think I will enjoy designing my presentation....)

My last professional presentation

This was shared in April in the DR...playing around with Slideshare today for grad class.

Monday, September 6, 2010

does this happen to you?

I subscribe to Google reader and use their shortcuts to navigate the page. I hit the letter j on my keyboard, the next story pops up.

I now find myself hitting that key ALL THE TIME. I just want to get to the next thing on the page and not have to scroll through stuff that does not matter to me. Of course this does not work in other situations besides my reader, making me feel like the WHOLE WORLD NEEDS TO CATCH UP and QUICK to Google.

Does this happen to you?

Google-itis. When you rely on Google to do stuff that doesn't apply in other situations. What other things does Google do that you wish happened in other places?

Thanks Osocio

One of the websites I read daily is Osocio, which is a marketing-for-good site that collects ads that are essentially public service ads. I've seen some amazing ads since subscribing. This one I especially enjoyed because there seems to be a gap in knowledge of the culture of being Muslim in American. I hope you enjoy seeing this as much as I did.


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