My bookmarks for August 24th through August 30th

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Steve Dembo on 30-08-2009

These are my links for August 24th through August 30th:

Tomorrow’s the Big Day

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Laura Smith on 30-08-2009

Well, school starts tomorrow.  Right now, it’s the calm before the storm.  My room is mostly ready- although I ran out of steam on Friday and couldn’t go in over the weekend due to an injured back.  (Guess I tried too hard to get ready!)  I’m sure I’ll have a typical experience… sleepless the night before, up extra early, bright eyed and bushy tailed.  However, I hope this year is anything but typical.  No ho-hum in my classroom, thank you very much!  I want so much to be the best I can be, to grow every year in my teaching, but this year feels like I have done a lot of growing over the summer.  It’s hard when I teach all the same students every year- I know them and they (think they) know me so well.  It will be easy to fall into the same old routines.  I will have to work hard to stay the course.  Some of them may resist- change is never easy.  But I’m hoping that most of them will be excited for the year ahead.  Possibilities… dreams… new experiences… being shaken out of the comfort zone.  Sorry if this seems a bit rambling, I suppose this most is more for me than anyone else, but this is often my most introspective time of year.  There is such a wide blank canvas stretched out in front of me… and I can’t wait to get painting.I’d love to hear your introspective thoughts about the beginning of the year.  What are your hopes and dreams for yourself and your class?

My bookmarks for August 21st

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Steve Dembo on 21-08-2009

These are my links for August 21st:

Working in some Differentiated Instruction

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Laura Smith on 18-08-2009

I’ve been wanting for a while to differentiate my lessons.  It sounds like a great idea, but I’ve hit a bunch of roadblocks… not enough time, not sure how exactly to do it!  I’ll admit it.  I browsed several books in the Education section at Barnes & Noble on the subject, but they never really explained, in concrete terms, how to begin.  So I just read this article that reviewed an ISTE webinar on differentiating instruction with technology (whaddya know, I teach technology!) and it really clicked.                                                 Every book you read tells you to differentiate four things:  content, process, product, and learning environment.  However, this article suggests displaying a three by three grid on the board with student choice activities in each of the nine boxes.  For example, the top row gives students three lower order thinking activities to choose from, such as listing facts you learned, creating a poem containing the main ideas, etc.   The second row would be activities that encourage the students to apply the knowledge from the first row.  Finally, the third row would have higher order thinking activities, ones that would place high on the Bloom’s taxonomy, such as creating something new using the knowledge.  The students would then choose one activity from each row.  See this page for a second grade example.  You could also use a “menu” format which includes Main Dishes (must do), Side Dishes (choose 1 or 2), and Desserts (optional).                                                             For some reason this really makes sense to me.  I think this is an easy way to make sure students are working with a purpose, but still gives them some choice in their learning.

My bookmarks for August 15th through August 16th

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Steve Dembo on 16-08-2009

These are my links for August 15th through August 16th:

My bookmarks for August 9th through August 11th

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Steve Dembo on 11-08-2009

These are my links for August 9th through August 11th:

New Blog Title…

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Laura Smith on 11-08-2009

hmm.. trying to spice it up a bit.  What do you think? :)

My bookmarks for August 7th

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Steve Dembo on 07-08-2009

These are my links for August 7th:

My bookmarks for August 2nd through August 6th

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Steve Dembo on 06-08-2009

These are my links for August 2nd through August 6th:

Preparing for the new year…

Filed Under (Work) by Laura Smith on 06-08-2009

Who am I kidding?  I never even stopped “preparing” since school ended!  I have spent almost every evening, after the kids go to bed, sitting at my kitchen counter, head buried deep in my laptop, researching new ideas, devouring the entries in my Google Reader, planning lessons (I’m in the process of TOTALLY re-writing my curriculum), and sometimes goofing off on Facebook (all work and no play…).But I’m really starting to get excited.  I start back Monday.  None of the other teachers will be there, but I will be busy getting their computers ready for them.  And hopefully I can start getting some things ready for my classroom too.  I want things to be so different this year.  I really want to challenge the students and take them beyond powerpoint shows.It’s hard to break my mindset, though!  And I’m a techie!  How must all my colleagues feel…those that need me to help them figure out how to send email… (I’m laughing WITH you, friends, I love you all!)  I’ve been reading a lot lately about transformation and change in education.  And I sooooo want to be a part of it.  But it is not easy.  I know this year is not going to be perfect, but I hope that I can at least begin making steps in the right direction.Some goals for this year:

  1. Student-Centered lessons.  I want to be less of a “Sage on the Stage” and let them own more of their learning.
  2. Effective, yet flexible, assessment.  I envision at least half of the students’ assignments to have some level of personal choice to them.  I want to make sure they have mastered the skills, but how they demonstrate that can be flexible.
  3. Less down-time.  In the past, students would whiz through assignments, doing the very least amount of work possible, and then spend the rest of class playing games.  No More.  Their assignments will be more challenging, require more thought, and if they do finish they will use their time wisely, such as practicing their keyboarding skills.
  4. More 21st Century Skills.  There are so many wonderful free web apps for students to tinker around with!  I want them to unleash their creativity for an educational purpose.  I want them to work collaboratively towards a goal.  I want them to solve problems and create programs and express themselves in ways not previously overused!
  5. More Global-Mindedness.  I have applied for the Flat Classroom project for this year, and I plan to seek out more opportunities to take kids out of their cushy comfort zones and introduce them to the world around them.  Discovery Student Adventures, anyone?

So there you have it.  I put it down in writing so I will not forget these goals I have set for myself and my students.  I can’t wait to begin the journey!

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