Apps

Last week I received five Apple mini iPads to use in my classroom. My district does not provide funding to pay for apps so all apps I select are free. These are the apps that I’ve loaded so far.

  1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary – Merriam Webster is the official dictionary for my school district. My favorite part is that the app includes pronunciation and will ‘pronounce” the word.
  2. GoodReads – In years past, I have taught my students to use GoodReads to manage their reading. My favorite part is the ISBN barcode scanner.
  3. Edmodo – To supplement my classroom teaching, I use Edmodo. It’s one of my favorite sites.
  4. YouTube – Let’s be honest, there are times when I want students on YouTube. We found great videos of commercials for our media literacy unit.
  5. ClassDojo – I use ClassDojo to monitor class behavior. My district now requires that students receive a letter grade for behavior (A, B, C, or F). ClassDojo provides a rationale for behavior evaluation.

I need to find a good QR code scanner.

What would be some other good apps for middle school language arts?

Add comment Posted in  Tech  Tagged:  , , , , , February 11, 2014

Privacy

Guilty!

Guilty!

Okay, so my students give me a strange look when I mention Santa Claus but, still, they get the idea.

I found this on Facebook. I laughed as I read it but also it got me wondering… Am I part of the problem?

My students were born in 1999(-ish). They grew up post 9/11. Being patted down, photographed, and touched intimately is part of their travel routine.Facebook has been around for 10 years and they are 13 years old. Their parents have posted their every move since most of them were small children. They drop into an instant pose with a casual smile whenever a camera is pointed at them.  Big Brother has been part of their lives for all of their lives. They have little sense of privacy as I know privacy.

I have a motion detector in my classroom; I have been guilty of telling the students that the motion detector is a camera. I have been guilty of telling them that the document camera is connected to the internet for viewing by administrators.

Cameras are mounted around the building. (Crimes have been foiled by these cameras so I’m not knocking the cameras–they are valuable tools.) We teachers sometimes lie about which fixtures in the building are cameras and which are part of the fire detection system.

Am I part of the problem? Are the lies I have told my students about the cameras and motion detectors the reason why my students define privacy differently than I? Are they now used to the idea of having no privacy at home (Facebook parents), in public (Big Brother), and at school (my document camera)?

Am I teaching the students that Big Brother is everywhere and there is no privacy? Is that my message?

Is Santa Claus related to Big Brother? Should he be

I had privacy growing up. My childhood antics were posted for posterity. Shouldn’t I give my students the same courtesy, the same gift: the gift of growing up without having their mistakes immortalized online.

Add comment Posted in  Reflections  Tagged:  February 7, 2014

Small Gratitudes

I’m attending a conference full of teachers. Teachers are grateful for the smallest things.

  • Finding the “over the downtown” express lanes through Austin.
  • Not being at school when a fire drill is scheduled.
  • Getting to sit down to eat lunch.
  • Finding unfamiliar faces who understand what we’re going through and sympathize.
  • Having a lunch which lasts more than 20 minutes.
  • Using real silverware which is capable of cutting, real dishes that are capable of breaking, and a table setting which requires washing after eating.
  • Not having to chaperone the school dance being held on Friday.
  • Learning that all those school buses full of schoolchildren are staying at the hotel across the street and not at the hotel full of teachers.
  • Free pens!
  • Being able to go to the restroom at any time.
  • Having more than 2 minutes to go to the restroom.
  • Authors who are willing to pose for pics and autographs books.
  • A breakfast uninterrupted by copying, tutorials, or meetings.
  • Cheap books!

Add comment Posted in  Trainings & Inservices  Tagged:  , February 7, 2014

Fall-Out

Justin Bieber has been a large part of middle school life for several years now. The girls love him. The boys hate him.

Then we started to hear about the incident in Florida and the fall out began.

“He admitted to being drunk,” said one girl as she scanned the headlines online.

“He was driving all crazy,” responded her friend. “He coulda killed someone.”

“I’m so over him,” replied the third girl. “You can keep on loving him if you want but I think he’s cray-cray.”

He’s losing his fan base with each meeting of girls and the boys are delighting in “I told you so’s”.

Add comment Posted in  In School ,Students  Tagged:  , , , February 1, 2014

Infographics

While I enjoy looking at infographics, often the font is too small for me to make any sense of them. (I have severe vision problems.)

A friend published this one on her Facebook page. As usual, I have some issues.

I often disagree with InfoGraphics such as this one.

Working Hard

  • I don’t earn $49,000 a year despite 15+ years of teaching experience.
  • I’m on campus at 7:15AM and I usually leave at 5:30PM. (I’m officially on the clock from 8:15AM-4:30PM.)
  • I spend approximately 21 days of the year in training outside of school hours.
  • There are days, such as Wednesday and Thursday of this past week, when I’m in training during the school day. Each day that my class require a substitute in the classroom requires two hours of prep for the sub. I was out of the building for two days, requiring four hours of prep on Tuesday after my normal school hours,. No infographic ever takes prep for a sub into account.
  • Because my students misbehaved with the substitute, I am now required to walk my students to and from their 30-minute lunch break. My lunch break has just been shortened by about 10 minutes.
  • It takes me, in general, two hours to grade one class’ essay assignment. I have five classes. One essay assignment is 10 hours of grading.

You know what? I think I need to learn how to make my own infographic!

Add comment Posted in  Reflections  Tagged:  January 18, 2014

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