“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.” - Nancy Kassebaum

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Classroom Websites

Classroom websites aren't anything new; they have been around for years. The difference between creating an maintaining classroom websites ten years ago to now, is that today you can do it in a matter of minutes.  I can remember the days when only people who understood how to code could create websites.  With today's new technology, it is so simple, even our students can create web sites!  

I believe that every teacher needs a classroom website.  I like Weebly, however there are others who have used WIX, Google Sites, and Yola.

Here are my top 10 reasons I believe every teacher needs a  Classroom Website:

  1. Keeps you organized
  2. Meets the needs of all of your students
  3. A Great way to communicate with your parents
  4. It helps students develop their technology skills
  5. You have a digital archive of your classroom activities

Now....I have to SHOW OFF all of the great websites the EMS/EHS teachers have already made. These are the ones I am aware of....if I missed yours, let me know so I can add you.  


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

EMS Tablet Success!

Take a look at the project that 8th-grade teacher Karen McKinley is doing in her language arts class.   She designed a Jigsaw activity to accompany the novel her class is reading, A Long Walk To Water.  Karen uses the Learning Managment system "Edmodo" .  This gives Karen's students a centralized place for all of their learning materials and assessments.
Using the Edmodo app, students logged into their accounts on their tablet.  They found their group folder and began working on the groups presentation.  Inside the folder was the materials needed to complete the activity.  When I walked into the room, the teams were working together, and Karen was meeting with each team to monitor the progress.

Mrs. Oswalt and Mrs. Salyers have had success using the tablets with Newsela, a program that provides daily news articles from top national and regional newspapers, all written at five reading levels.  All EMS teachers should be using the PRO version of this software.  Using the PRO version teachers will be able to track students' reading process and mastery of Common Core standards through the embedded quizzes.

Beth Hensley and Tera Gullett have used the Socrative App to give their students a quiz in math.  Using Socrative is just like using clickers.  Socrative is a student response system that is very easy for both the teacher and the students.  (Clickers)

I can think of several ways for you to use this easy web tool.
Take a quick snapshot of student learning with the "Quick Question" feature.

 While watching a video activate the "short answer" feature and ask a question.
  •  Ask “What do you think the character will say next?” (future tense)
  •  Ask “Write a two sentence summary of what’s happening.” (sentence creation,
  • open-ended observation)
  •  Ask “Describe the scene using at least three new adjectives.” (new vocabulary)
  •  Ask ” What did the main character do?” (past tense)
Bell Work
Exit Ticket: There is even a template!
Here is the user guide to Socrative.  I am available if you need help.

I found this on Rachael Fryman's Pinterest board.  Take a look...I bet you will find yourself morphing and not even know it.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Blur of a New Year

Can you believe that we are past the first mid-term and in to the month of October?

Can you believe that we are past the first mid-term and in the month of October?  There are a few key tech things that have been shared with your through email, and I want to make sure you have not missed them in the blur of a new year.

On the first page of the Edgewood Teacher start page, you will find all of your daily links.  I would recommend making this the home page of your Google Chrome browser. Google Chrome should be your first choice in browsers simply because we are a google apps for education school.  You can find directions to set your home page on the chrome browser here.

I want my students to....... is a page to use when you are planning a classroom project.  I hope you will take a few minutes to look at this page; it may inspire you to take one of your projects a step further into the digital world.

Several teachers have been experimenting with Google Classroom.  Classroom is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google Document for each student. It also creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student to help keep everyone organized.

If you missed Problem Attic, please take time to look at it now.  It is an amazingly fast way to create worksheets, online self-graded assessments, and slide shows.  There is a free version and a paid version.  Please use this link to sign up so you can receive the paid benefits.

As always, let me know if you need anything.


Monday, September 1, 2014

A GREAT Beginning of the Year!

The students of EHS are feeling something different when they walk in to school this year.  Yes, practically every classroom has a chrome cart; however, the excitement they are feeling is from their teachers!  More and more teachers are diving into the "Google Classroom" pool.

Classroom is a new tool that has been designed to go hand-in-hand with Google Apps for Education Teachers can save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.

Sixteen Edgewood High School Teachers* have quickly discovered that Google Classroom enables them to create a "class" at the touch of a button. They can upload syllabus materials, whether text, audio or video, and send out assignments on the class news feed.

Teachers see instantly who has turned in their homework. They can start a class discussion and provide feedback and grades; students can see what's due and what's late. The whole package integrates with the rest of Google's apps, like Google Docs.

That is not the only exciting news coming from the High School.  We have several other teachers who are using other Learning Management Systems.  Kris Korty, Casey Wells, and Eric Pletz are using Course Sites; Zach Ewen is using Haiku, and Chris Holland has designed a Google Site that includes several new generation tools.

There is excitement at the Middle School.....the TABLETS ARE COMING!  I spent two exciting days with EMS math and language arts teachers in preparation. It was so exciting to see and hear the teachers as they plan all of the activities they will be able to accomplish.  The most impressive part about our teachers is that they were all very aware of the online safety of our students.

What's next?  ALEKS and STARS

Cari Vangen
Stephanie Johnson
Katie Vogel
Sarah Dreger
Rachel Anderson
Sabrina Gowswell
James Coniff
April Craft
Greg Brown
Katie Schmit
Eli Johnson
Rose Harvey
Brittany Warmoth
Jill Domaschko
Kari Sams
Linda Porter
Jason Pierce 


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sometimes You Have to Unplug

Edgewood City Schools have a few key people who are hiding their time and talents under a bushel as Young Life Leaders. Young Life leaders volunteer many hours with kids — where they are, as they are. They listen to their stories and learn what's important to them because they genuinely care about their joys, triumphs, heartaches and setbacks.

Currently, the teachers who are volunteering their time is Stephanie and Eli Johnson. The highlight of their year is "Young Life Camp"  This year Edgewood had 22 High School students participating in camp.  

Isn't it great to see our kids having fun?  

So, what does this have to do with Technology? 

 "Sometime the best way to recharge our batteries, is to unplug them" 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Best Kept Secret of Edgewood City Schools

Shh!  It's a secret! 

 We have an unbelievable faculty!

High School ELA teacher, Brooke Aufranc Gabbard was thrilled when she saw a blogger post her graduation speech. Edgewood City Schools is so, incredibly proud of Brooke.

If you were not able to attend the 2014 graduation, please take a moment to read her speech.

Nearly every one of you has asked me this question: “Why do we have to read this book?” I’m going to take the next few minutes to remind you, why, for 18 years, you’ve read the books you did.
You started your life reading about colors, numbers, shapes, and animals. That knowledge was the basic foundation for Mrs. Domashko’s biology class, Mr. Pletz’s digital art class, and Mrs. Vangen’s Honors Pre-Calc class.
You moved on to Dr. Seuss, who taught you that “The more that you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Your next series as a child was the Berenstein Bears, where that tightly knit family who lived in a tree taught you good table manners, why it’s important to tell the truth, and how to cope with a difficult sibling.
In middle school, you had your heart broken when Billy’s dogs died in Where the Red Fern Grows. You learned about love and the redemptive qualities of nature when the red ferns grow on the graves of the dogs.
You entered high school and read Romeo and Juliet, which exposed you to the power of love, but also implored you to carefully read any letters you receive before making rash decisions. Remember, Romeo was warned that Juliet would only appear to be dead, but she really wasn’t. However, he refused to heed that warning. That lesson was echoed in Julius Caesar, when Caesar’s friends turned on him. He was warned not to go to the Senate that day, but he refused to listen to anyone.
So—listen to others’ advice. You don’t have to follow through on anyone’s thoughts but your own, but most people do have your best interests at heart. On the other hand, The Crucible taught you the dangers that can occur when you blindly follow the crowd and refuse to think for yourself.
Somewhere along the line you may have read the Harry Potter series where you learned all the different ways courage can define you. Dumbledore also taught us not to waste time fearing what comes next, and that’s advice we all should follow. But really, Harry Potter mostly taught just how cool it would be to go to Hogwarts.
You walked the streets of Maycomb, Alabama with Jem, Scout, Dill, and Boo, and in those streets, Atticus taught you one of the most important lessons—don’t judge a person until you’ve walked around in their shoes.
Many of you ended the year with Hamlet, who showed you what it was to be or to not to be. But the most important advice comes from Polonius as he speaks to his son Laertes. Polonius says, “This above all: To thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou cans’t not then be false to anyone.”
It’s been an honor to be one of those teachers who made you read books. I can’t wait to see all the incredible things you do with your lives. As you go, remember all the lessons you’ve learned—from books!—and remember, if you stay true to yourself, you’ll never be disappointed. 

If you would like to leave a message for Brooke, use the comment section below.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Class DoJo with a Secondary Twist

Have you seen Class DoJo? It is a free web, iOS, and android app that is designed to help with classroom management and student engagement. It's an excellent tool to keep track of student behavior, attendance, and to connect with parents. Elementary teachers are wild over it and using it daily! 

However, it is a bit too rudimentary for secondary students and teachers, or is it?  Would your toes start to tingle just a little bit if I told you we could tweak it and you could track student standards? (Pow! Bam! Wham!Take that Admin Evaluator!) 

Let me show you how. When you first login to Class DoJo you are presented with two options; Demo Class or Add a New Class.  Go ahead and click Demo Class and play around with it to get comfortable before we go on.  

Now, let's create your class.  After clicking on "Add a New Class" add the details of your class. 

Click "Copy/paste list" to enter your students

After typing in your students, click save.

You will be presented with your class list, click next. 
Now you are presented with the behavior screen. HOVER YOUR CURSOR OVER THE BEHAVIOR TO CHANGE IT. 

Are you getting the idea?  If this hasn't knocked your socks off, you need to take your pulse. 

If you have just a little more time you can easily set this up for your students to receive a weekly report on their "behaviors"  ACCOMPLISHMENTS!  We don't celebrate our student success enough! 

My suggestion? From the dashboard click on the "invite parents and students" link found at the bottom of the class box.  I believe it would be less time consuming if you had your students come and  type in their email address in the "Type Parent Email" box.   

Make sure you have taught your students to bake a cake with a file in it just in case the "parent email" police are watching and you are arrested for providing student emails instead of parent emails.  ��

This post was inspired by Hamilton County ESC consultant Allison Curran.