Friday, January 11, 2008

:) We all need good days that follow bad ones... Today was a GOOD one. Yesterday, I did some butt chewing about the chapter test the day before, laying it on thick about how disappointed I was. I gave several examples of "bad answers", the ones that showed me the students did not even BOTHER to try to get the correct answer.

I spent about 20 minutes reviewing the highpoints of the chapter, gave back the tests with instructions to REDO. Amazingly enough, the scores soared. I felt a huge sigh of relief and a weight being lifted.

Today I brought in my cool new tech toy, a CPS Chalkboard, similar to a tablet computer but on a cheaper scale. All 3 of my math classes used it to sketch graphs. It was SOOOOOO much fun. We learned a lot about graphs, slopes, variables, independent and dependent variables, etc... but even more, we learned that we CAN laugh together and have fun learning.

The using the chalkboard is inherently laughter filled. It is tough to write with this stylus on a surface which does not show your marks. The projector image on the whiteboard seems to create itself as laughter from the drawer and the audience fills the classroom.

The highpoint of the day was when one of my better regular math kids decided to take the first try at the chalkboard. His line took on a mind of its own, right when I was taking a huge slug of my diet Mt. Dew. Frustrated, he yelled, "POOP!" which made everyone giggle including me with my mouthful of soda, which only spewed a little bit :-) It was just such a natural normal reaction and not a typical reaction for this usually quiet young man, it struck me off guard.

It was wonderful to end the week on a high note. I feel better.....


charles said...

o.k., I'll admit to only finding your blog because of a google search on CPS chalkboards. I think I'll visit back later for a nice slow read. I too am a middle school teacher and usually enjoy other's thoughts on life in general at the school.

About your new toy... I have partially sold my soul to participate in a grant. One of the goodies from the grant is either a CPS Chalkboard or an Interwrite Schoolpad. Do you have any further thoughts on your CPS chalkboard?

cossondra said...

Charles, to be perfectly honest, I have no used the chalkboard again since that post. However, we will be starting slope soon and I plan to use it with that unit. Someone else told me it is compatible with Microsoft One Note and by using that, you can easily create templates of graph paper, etc.. I've never heard of an Interwrite SchoolPad.
What type of grant did you sell your soul for participation in? Been there.. done that!! I actually got my chalkboard for participating in the Building Bridges project in Michigan's UP. It was a 2 year project that entailed extensive lesson studies, classes, etc..
I would be interested to know more about your grant and how you will use the chalkboard!

charles said...

The interwrite is a competitor to the CPS. I think they are fairly similar in purpose.

For the record I teach 6th grade science in N.E. Texas. I am involved in a STAR grant from TEA (Texas Education Agency) My end of the the deal is using more technology in the classroom and some staff development for the teachers in my district. Of course all of this is to be documented, my plan there is of course on my blog. For this I get a projector, laptop, and Chalkboard or SchoolPad (all issued to me, not owned by me.)

Anyhoo.. I really don't have any concrete plans/ideas for the Chalkboard, I only found out yesterday that was part of the grant. They certainly do look slick. I'll keep my eyes open for ways others use them. Please blog your uses.