Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ahhh....Google Docs

Pinnacle Training is over for the summer! I am exhausted, but it was an awesome time.  I always forget how much I enjoy being around other teachers who genuinely love what they do.  I have so many great ideas that I plan on using in my classroom, not just from the training but also from the people around me.  We focused a lot on Google and I'm trying to "Go Google!!!"

Right now I'm trying to think of some ways to use Google Docs in my third grade class.  One of our county's tech facilitators gave me a pretty good idea.  My students love to make Powerpoint for some reason. I know, I know...Powerpoint??? It's true though.  Maybe with Google Presentation, I could split the students into small groups and they can work on one Presentation at the same time.  Instead of just one of them doing all of the work! I'll see how it works....

Any other thoughts about how to use Google Docs with my third graders??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Professional Development Reflections

Today at Pinnacle we gave 10 minute presentations to our peers.  I chose to present on Myfakewall.com.  This is such a great website to use in your classroom, and a very interesting tool for your students to use.  It is basically a fake Facebook that you can create for a book character or historical figure.

I am always so nervous speaking in front of adults!  I am trying to be more confident so I can be more effective in presenting Professional Development.  Next time I present, I will provide more examples and applications in the classroom, especially for secondary students. Overall I think my presentation went very well!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Teaching Teachers

Being a Pinnacle Leader in Year 2, our main focus is teaching teachers.  I have never planned a Professional Development session before, so it was a little daunting at the beginning.  I decided that if I had a good attitude about it and I kept into account what I enjoy in PD, then it should not be too difficult.

From reading "Teaching Teachers: Professional Development To Improve Student Achievement", I gleaned two important concepts to help my planning.  One, make sure that the PD is applicable to what the teacher actually teaches. Two, it is critical that the workshop have real life application in the teacher's classroom. It needs to be directly linked to the curriculum and the assessment that the teacher is teaching.

The other article about Adult Learners, described how adults learn and compared them to youth learners.  Adult learners are problem centered, result oriented and self directed.  They can be skeptical about new information and desire to learn only what is applicable to real life.

So, while planning professional development at my school, these are all things I need to keep in mind.  The key question that I want my "students" to answer, is "Why am I at this PD, and how can it apply to me?"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Changing Face of Education

    Imagine climbing in a time machine and zooming forward 15 years and stepping foot in Lowell Elementary!  I doubt I would even recognize most of the technology they would be using!  I cannot wait to see what is in store for technology in education.
     In the article, "Transforming Education with Technology", Karen Cator paints a picture of a classroom of the future.  The atmosphere is filled with not just technology, but collaboration, authentic tasks, problem solving and relevance in learning.  These students aren't using technology for the sake of using it, but the teachers are facilitating authentic learning through the use of 21st century skills.  
    Although my students are not blessed with personal laptops and smart phones or broadband internet, my classroom is similar in many ways.  My students' desks are grouped in pods, with no clear front of the room.  There is a Smartboard hooked to a laptop, as well at three other computers (and now a Netbook!)  The student are usually not at their desks, instead they might be at the carpet using the Smartboard, spread around the room collaborating with one another or working in small math or reading groups.  After Pinnacle last year I decided to get rid of my teacher desk and I didn't even miss it last year.  I still have a long way to go to become the ideal ISTE teacher, but I'm definitely willing to work to get there :)

A few of my pods, Classroom Library, Small  Group Area and Manipulative Area.  This is before school started....That explains the neatness!

Smartboard and Carpet Area!

I even covered my white board and made a Word Wall!
Maybe for the future....

One can only hope!

And keep hoping!
Anyway, education is definitely changing and it is crucial that we change with the times.  Not only so we can have cool gadgets, but so the students stay engaged and are prepared for the future!

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