Monday, June 28, 2004

I survived the Freedom to Learn week... It was actually quite an interesting experience, for a variety of reasons. The whole laptop thing is exciting, no doubt. I am curious to see how our school actually utilizes them - will each student actually have access to a computer all day during school? at home? will we share a set per grade as was discussed before? The possibilities seem so endless if I could actually know my kids would always have their computers available in math class.

The NTeQ model training is certainly a useful tool for integrating technology into the curriculum, but I am not certain we will be able to "sell" most teachers on the time-intensive-ness of this approach. I hope I keep my own enthusiam long enough to get lots of lessons in place for next year - ready made - to use in class. I know it is like anything else - the more you do it, the easier it becomes so maybe once I get through a couple of lessons independently, I will find my own way to get things set up without so much paperwork.

Meeting other teachers is always great too. Knowing that those attending this week-long summer training must also be committed to excellent educational practices is exciting. SO often at conferences, it seems most people are there to get out of school, and are not really interested in learning anything new. Not at SuperCoach training... what an enthusiastic crew... at least overall... of course our Eastern Upper Peninsula crew was, oh, hmmm... enthusiastic does not even begin to describe it - what a great group of people to work with - I am excited at the possibilities looming ahead.

Maria... the Spanish teacher who is being sent back to Canada - how can that be?? You can tell she is such an incredible teacher, the way she talks about her students, and her classes - she really truly cares about them.
Robin.... well, we go way back and we are trying to work out a plan to teach her 6th grade social studies class with my 6th grade tech class so we can have students working on projects for both classes. What an ultimate integration of curriculum!
Michelle...always so professional, so gee... I don't know, mature, and all knowing, and knowledgeable about so many things - she is perfect to be in her position! I can't wait to work more with her as a colleague rather than having her be more in the role of trainer as in the past.
Scott... he must be a great science teacher - I can tell... he too just exudes that sense of caring and compassion for all that he does..
Shannon... well, hmm... interesting person, but not sure what to think about him yet - he seems to be dedicated to the success of this program but I hope he will be able to relate to the lead teachers we are training, being himself so far removed from the teaching situation.

so all in all.... a long tough week of training but I think the payoffs will be incredible... purple supercoaches RULE!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

This week I am in Lansing at the Freedom to Learn Super Coach training. So far, we have learned about the new laptops -COOL!! and been introduced to this NTeQ lesson planning - hmm... good ideas but time consuming to actually use.

My biggest concern at this point is the actual use of the laptops we will be getting. The intent of the program is to actually integrate tech into the curriculum. Will teachers actually do this or will our valuable resource continue to be used as primarily word processors and games, entertainment?

just short thoughts - in training session now...

Saturday, June 12, 2004

It is official --- the school year is over. Wednesday was the last day - I guess it is one of those "double-sided" swords - because a big part of me is simply relieved to be done. It has been a long frustrating year and there's a good chunk of these students I am glad to see move on to 8th grade.

But as with every year, there are those I will be sad to see go. In particular, Jake who was gone for the last few days for another stupid incident... what he did was wrong, at least from what I heard of it, but that does not mean that I did not miss the little fart while we were doing all that fun end of the year stuff. I still cannot figure him out - he has such great potential to be something POSITIVE... what does he so consistently choose otherwise??? and I'll miss Blake who was so sweet, and tried so hard to please, always, and Kim who went from a grumpy snotty young lady to the funniest, kindest, most enjoyable girl with attitude, and Lauren, who always makes me laugh, and Laury who also went through a dramatic attitude improvement over the course of the year, and Derek, who rises to meet every expectation, and Kassandra, and Marie, and Dave, who got the "PIGGY LOCKER" award, and Morgan, and Katelyn, and Courtney and Caitlin, the twins, and Jessica & Jennifer, the twins, and Warren, and Jeremy,who I can't start class without, and Joe, and Dale,who's come so far, and the other Jessica, and Miranda, and Mariah, and Amber and Jamie, who always makes me laugh, and Toni & Tony, and Brendon, and Char, and tardy Jessie, and Devin, and Tuffy, and John, who works so hard always, and even Travis, and gosh, I guess Dan who drove me nuts all year, and Micheal, and of course, Colleen & Alyson who are both such amazing young ladies, and Cindy, who never fails so smile, and I could go on and on... so I guess in looking back, there are more I will wish I had again, than the other way around....

GOod stuff this year - track meet math project - lots of fun, and they really seemed to do well with the ratios and percents this way - I will have to tuck this in my memory to do again. I love using the computer lab more - it will be great to have a class set of laptops available next year - the kids seem to respond to anything more positively when the computers are involved. It will be interesting to see if this holds true when we are able to use them daily.

This computer training I am going to - to be a Freedom to Learn Super Coach (doesn't that just sound so superhero - ish) will hopefully be just the thing we need to get our entire tech program back on track. I am excited to find out how other schools are using technology and how it can be better integrated across the curriculum. It seems much of our lab time is spent with kids creating a PowerPoint over and over... or typing another story or report - we need to be more innovative with technology and find ways to make its use more meaningful, relevant,and interesting. I think I personally some great gains here this year with the webquests we did, using for actual lessons, and utilizing my links pages at more. Not letting the kids search on their own may not give them that experience but so often it is a waste of time - giving them links allowed class time to be used so much more efficiently.

Not teaching social studies I will not miss - for the most part that always seemed to take a back burner to math, and I felt I did not do my class justice in what we were covering, at least the passion about the topics part... I know that learned some good stuff, and it was overall positive, but, yikes, when the teacher is not fired up, how can the kids be??? Next year teaching tech for 6th grade will be odd because I will be learning an entire new group of kids I won't have in class, but it should be easy to plan for, teach and evaluate/assess what they have learned.

that is all for now... I will think more about individual lessons another day and get this blog set for next year...

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I left here in a hurry yesterday, tired of spending my holiday at school, humbled by those parent notes I'd read, depressed at the amount of rain pouring into my classroom through the leaky roof/window, and OH HEAVENS...when I came in this morning I almost had a heart attack!! The mess was absolutely overwhleming! Don't get me wrong. I WISH I was a "clean desk" person but the clutter always wins over but I was absolutely appalled that I'd left such a huge mess. And, then, when I realized another teacher had been in here to drop some things off..embarassment... What was I thinking??

Wouldn't it be great if our classrooms just miraculously cleaned themselves, all those books and boxes, and miscellaneous stuff just found their way into the cupboards?? In orderly fashion of course, in contrast to the way my usually gets packed away...shoved quickly into the largest available spot with the door closed in wait for the unsuspecting person who accidentally opens it to a avalanche of exploding STUFF...No, not an avalanche, a volcano!! The sheer force alone... It is terrifying...