Monday, January 9, 2017

5 Part Series: Getting Organized For Next Year...Now - Part 1 - What Works and What Doesn't

I hate to say it, but you need to start getting organized for next year, now, not in August.  You should be able to walk out of your classroom at the end of the school year and feel prepared for next year, rather than overwhelmed.  Over the next few posts I will describe how I prepare for next year.  
First up, is creating a list of what works and what doesn't.  Just the other day I found a mistake on a word work paper and jotted it down so that I remember to make the correction for next year.  I recommend printing off these sheets and keeping them with your grade book.  

I don't use a grade book because (1) I don't want to write their names 20 times. (2) I don't really have to keep track of grades as much as I do skills. (3) I don't want to write the skills every year. (More on my grade sheets/skills sheets in another post.)

For now, take the first step and print these sheets and make sure to write down anything you think of right away.  There is one for each major subject area and a blank one at the end that you can write in your own if there is one I missed.

The columns are for:
Lesson: the unit and specific lesson so that you remember
Mistakes: anything you need to fix
Eliminate:  things you want to eliminate for next time
Special Notes: manipulatives you need, things to add, etc.

Don't feel the need to make notes for every lesson, just the ones that you need to change.

I do not want you to think that you need to have a "cookie cutter" method of teaching.  I know our kiddos aren't robots, but your same basic schedule happens throughout the year, and if you can streamline it, you can save yourself hours of unorganized chaos.  If you always teach polar bears and penguins in January, why not write it down?  It's one less thing you have to lay awake at night trying to remember.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Target Teacher Deals Starting 1/8/17

Raise your hand if your closet is slightly less than organized.  Raise your hand if you are suddenly out of glue sticks!

This is the time of year where your kiddos are finally a little more independent and you can actually think about how you want your closet to be organized, what you want to change for next year, what supplies you need to add or delete from the supply list, etc.

Target has a few deals for teachers this week that might help you out.

Remember these deals start Sunday, January 8th so the prices online won't match until then.

Sterilite 20 Gallon Latching Totes

Sterilite 66 quart Clearview Latching Totes

Sterilite 66 quart Clearview Latching Totes

Room Essentials 3-Shelf Bookcase (Black)

School Supplies
Buy 1, Get 1 25% off
There are many of our favorite brands in the ad such as Crayola, Elmer's, and Paper Mate.

HP 61 Ink Cartridge Twin Pack - Black (CZ073FN#140)
HP Ink
Buy 1, Get 1 40% off
For those of you that aren't involved in HP's Instant Ink program.

Logitech Wireless Mouse

Friday, August 5, 2016

Augmented Reality

Throughout the last few weeks I had the opportunity to research augmented reality.  This rapidly growing industry is putting its fingerprint on every aspect of our lives.  Take a look at my 10 minute sneak peek video here.

You can take a look at some of my research here via my Pinterest board that I created for augmented reality.

During my research I had the opportunity to interview Jen Kimbrell from her blog Tech With Jen.  
Jen is an educator who focuses on technology integration and hosts her blog to provide professional development and resources for educators.  If you are looking to integrate augmented reality into your classroom, Jen's blog is a great starting point as she has several products for teachers to use in their classrooms.  

You can see our complete interview here.

I also had the opportunity to interview Amanda Dewall who is a technology integration specialist and media specialist for her district.  Take a look at her responses below.

What is your current teaching role? My role is technology integrationist and media specialist. In our district, each building has a teacher assigned to teach library classes as well as technology. It's a fairly new role for our district and new for me. I am used to being the technology coordinator, as this was my role at previous schools. I have lots of experience trouble shooting technology as the IT person, but thankfully I do not have to do this in my current role. I hope to some day pull away from the library and just be a technology integrationist either for the district or just my building.

How have you implemented A.R. into your classroom? I used AR 2 years ago at the high school level when I was a technology coordinator at a 9-12 building. I showed my students how to use AR and they created their own projects in my small, technology class. One student created a building that you could "go" inside of to view the inside. They created the house in Aurasma and exported it using Blender. At this building, I hosted a Tech Tuesday meeting for teachers which I had my technology students present AR to other teachers in the building. I had my students create examples of how AR could be used in classrooms. For example, they made a "meet the teacher" display where pictures came alive with a video recording of someone talking about themselves. I also had them show teachers how they could use worksheets to provide students with directions using a video overlay. Another example they created was a Spanish note card. Here, the English word was on the note card, but when you scanned the note card with the app, it revealed the Spanish translation in words as well as a voice saying the word. You can see these examples on my website.

What are some of your favorite resources to learn new ideas about using A.R. in the classroom? Since I haven't been able to use AR in a while, I haven't kept up with the resources. However, I do follow @allaugmented and @aurasma on Twitter for ideas.

What is one project with A.R. that you have heard about, but not tackled yet?  I would love to find the time to implement AR in the bulletin board example that I have on my website. I have also been toying with the idea of using AR in the library. I have been thinking about putting something up in the library that gives directions on how to find books in our online catalog. I have also been thinking about using AR for book reviews. There is also a library scavenger hunt that I found on TpT that I have thinking about doing. The biggest struggle I have with using the AR is the amount of set up in the beginning. If I use Aurasma, I have to make student accounts and they must be following my Aurasma channel or it will not work.

What app(s) do you use for A.R.? Aurasma. Others have used Layar

What else should teachers know about A.R.? When I used it 2 years ago, the process was not very user friendly. To get an aura to work, you must follow that person's channel.  This has deterred me from using it again with younger students. I need to look into the process on more time to see if they have changed the way it's set up. The app had lots of glitches so we were confined to using the website instead. I hope someone comes out (or has already come out with) an app that is geared towards younger students. From what I can tell, the Pokeman Go game is augmented reality at it's best. I guess this would be a great "in" for using AR in the classroom.

Five Minds For The Future

Howard Gardner's Five Minds For The Future book is a wonderful tool for teachers to reference to continue to develop as life-long learners.

You can find my Five Minds For The Future Vlog here.

 Gardner, H. (2008). Five Minds for the Future. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.