Monday, September 25, 2006

September opening

We have started our classroom blog after many stumbles. Some of students have uploaded their haikus to the blog. We hope they will be able to start commenting on each other's this next week.

Presently I am working at the tech cadre to learn some new technologies for my students. I am excited to learn about the Google notebook and all of its uses.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

School is over. Summer is here.

Sometimes I feel like a little kid, anxious and eager for school to be out.
Now truthfully as an adult, my Summer may have started but I am as busy as ever. We leave on vacation next week so maybe reality may hit me then.

I still have two more mornings at work to do some prep for the Summer Institute. I am not sure if my mind has rested enough to be able to make the leap and do what is necessary for this class.
Maybe a relaxing weekend could help.

Good news though..... my daughter got hired as a first grade teacher in small district. I could not have handpicked a better principal. She is very lucky and I know it will be a great experience.

So many more blogs to read...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Evaluation for the second set of Lit Circle Bloggers

Did I learn from this second set of bloggers? And how. They found more creative ways around not blogging than I could have thought possible. Three of the groups found the messaging on Nicenet and had to be led kicking and screaming away from it.

Some of the groups were working really well for the Lit Circles and some had some interpersonal difficulties as is typical with middle schoolers. I think we could have done better if it had been earlier in the year. I am not sure if they would have benefited by reading a novel together and using it for Lit Circles with me picking the groups.Working with their buddies was too distracting for some of the students. The lack of maturity in some of the groups also showed up in their blogging, minimal effort all around. These two groups had some definite problems with absent group members.

On the other hand I found several of the groups ran themselves very well, made adjustments when needed and had a great time with the blogging.

I think I will try this next year as a group blog with my other reading students. I think if I do quite a bit of modeling we might make it a success.

So plans for next year will include continued work on blogs, creating a wiki for my core class and playing with podcasts. I need to think how I can integrate those into my plans. In the meantime I will keep reading the various education blogs to help me get some more ideas.

I need to start planning for the Summer Institute. We now have a waiting list! Wow!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Junior High vs Middle School teacher

I am very proud to be a middle school teacher versus being a junior high school teacher. What is the difference you say? I think it is a focus on the student rather than a focus on the content. That is my big problem with "No Child Left Behind" We are looking at what we can stuff in their heads rather than how much they have learned in a year's time, and what is getting in the way of their learning. With middle school it could be any of a number of things that have effected their test score on that particular day.

I would certainly want a qualified teacher teaching my child. On the other hand I want a teacher who cares about what my child is learning, are they making progress and whatever else is going on. I think at this level a good teacher can teach most any subject, if you follow good teaching principles. It is not so far away from elementary school where the teachers can & do teach every subject. (Can you tell that I am elementary based?)

This rant started because of proposed changes in our groupings of students. The suggestion/dictate came from outside of our school. (Not that I don't believe in change, but only if you can prove to me that it is in the best interest of all students.) I believe it has been resolved but, we shall see who has the power.

At one point I was thinking that maybe retirement can't come any too soon if this is the way my school is leaning. I love teaching students all kinds of things including integrating the technology. I learn so much from others and I want my students to continue to have that opportunity. I love learning from my students too.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My Evaluation of Literature Circle Weblogs

this is an audio post - click to play

7th grade students Literary Blogging

The first group of 7th graders have completed their Literature Circles' weblog on
The students chose their own books that had to be at least 200 pages.
They decided on how many pages to read for each meeting according to the 4week calendar that I had set up.
Each week they were required to do at least one blog from a choice of two blogs.
I tried to have a couple of evaluative type blogs so they could evaluate their groups and how blogging was going. They also had to blog about their books (literary elements.)

This week I started with two others groups using Literature Circles and weblogging at Nicenet.

FYI-The parent group at our school did gives us full support especially as I mentioned the idea of online classes as the future goal of these students.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Evaluation time for Lit Circle Blogs

This next week is when my students get to let me know what worked and what didn't. I have asked for feedback along the way and it looks very promising.
My evaluation of the project is that it is doing exactly what I hoped it would. I have asked literary questions for my students to discuss. All but one student has really jumped in and worked hard on accomplishing their tasks. What is even better is that they are talking the talk and thinking about their reading and the characters and the conflicts. Reading what the students have been writing has really made my day or even week. I love it.

So it looks like we are a go for two other groups. They start the second week of May. I think my students are very excited.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Techno crazy

Well I have done it. I have convinced my principal to allow me to use some blogs @ with my students. I convinced him that we will do all we can do to keep the students safe.

I read Will Richardson's book over Spring Break. What an easy read, compared to some of the techno manuals I have tried to read. It convinced me to really try it. I presented to our district tech committee and they were willing to let me pilot the program. Hooray

On Thursday I get to try out a Smartboard Airline and document camera. We are doing a demostration for our K-12 administrators to show them what we'd like to have a teacher's work station look like. I hope my brain can take all of this new learning. Actually I am very excited.

My readers will be so stoked to be able to choose their own book for literature circles and then have an actual online discussion about their books. I just hope the non-tech kids like it.

Monday, February 27, 2006


It is only Monday and the new books come out tomorrow. I keep track of the new books coming on Amazon. Sometimes if I can't wait to get them I will cancel my order and run to the nearest store. That still leaves me with a blue Monday waiting for them to be on the shelves tomorrow.