Sunday, November 28, 2010

Online Learning

I have chosen to use a screencast video presentation of my presentation. Enjoy!!
Click on my title to be taken directly to the presentation, through Jing and Screencast.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reflection for REAL Technology

As this course draws to a close, I have found myself in a different train of thought then when we began. I have practiced the concepts of UDL in my classroom in prior years, but this year it has become mandatory for my students. I changed jobs this year, from 8th grade science at a middle school to a self-contained 5th grade at an elementary. Instead of working through portions of UDL for portions of students, I use it as an all-inclusive direction for my students.

This class of 5th graders is behind the grade level requirements for most subjects. It is no fault of their own, but the tragedy that is poor teaching methodology and transient populations of low socio-economic status. I find myself covering concepts from 3rd and 4th grades for review, but many times it is the first introduction to the content. Students are struggling across the board, specifically in reading and math.

UDL has become the driving force for my instruction and classroom design. I have students working at individualized levels within similar content areas. I have immersed the class in Differentiated Instruction, with small groups and individual time given where needed. The two concepts of UDL and DI cannot be separated; without the DI, UDL does not work and the UDL is the stepping stone for the DI. My classroom is not at maximum capacity for visual aides, but seating and structural movement is. I know I am not done working towards my own goals for a UDL classroom, but this class has set my wheel in motion.

Also through this course, the Differentiation Station assignments were useful. I found multiple websites and scholarly research geared toward UDL and DI in the classroom. I compiled an extensive set of resources for my teacher toolbox and favorites. It was through the co-op group discussion on Facebook that Victoria and Kristyl were able to help me sort out issues I was facing during week 3 and 4. I am eternally grateful!! I know I will not always have professional chats with peers through social media, but I happy I was given the opportunity to do so in this forum. Thanks, again, ladies!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A New Year

The time has come...the facts are belongs to them...let's get it back! ~Midnight Oil

For me, the "THEM" in this case is the administration. It seems the school year starts and I'm revved and ready to go, only to be paused or stopped by administration and bureaucracy that leads the school and district. I want to get the MEAP (Michigan's state assessment) up and reviewing, but I have no supplies, materials, or access to computers from my classroom. I have to create everything myself, but cannot print since the ONLY networked printer with toner is not available through my computer port! Tech support might make it in by Wednesday, but no sense holding my breath on that one...I routed it in through the data URL with port license number and call, but I do not have permission to do this, so I was denied! The laptop cart is under the "Guardian of the Keys" (aka, the principal in his own words!) and it is not on his priority list to get them up and running, and he won't allow me to help or do it. Hell, I cannot even laminate a poster, he does that too! And, all this with 33 active, non-stop talking, sponges at my charge. Calgon...take me away!!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reflecting on my GAME face...

I have learned a LOT through this course! The Cennamo book stays with me, not just for quick class review, but solid, usable teaching. I found the simple steps of the GAME plan to be nothing but a new name for the same old trick, but this acronym works because it is easy to follow. I have found new ideas and different applications to use in achieving goals I have set for years. Using the GAME plan has put me on a time-line for completion, and for my 2 NETS-T goals for involving parents and community members with online collaboration, I am set. (Now, let's hope they are as excited to use and communicate with me through such easy means!)

Upon learning of my unrequested transfer from teaching 8th grade earth science to 5th grade self-contained, I have had my world turned around. I find I am now hopeful and entertained by the new minds I will be meeting, rather than boo-hoo'ing over those I am "losing". I have a very small classroom with little storage for this year which means cleaning out all those unused "rainy day" supplies I've held for so long. I will have Mac wireless notebooks in my classroom which will free me from keeping up with all the paperwork that "must be" submitted. I am eager to get their little fingers and minds working through the wonderful technology tools I am bringing to the classroom.

By far away the best tech tool I've acquired this term is the Digital Storytelling. I am so excited to use it, that I have lessons planned for the first week of school! Maybe catching the kids early will let them see the wonderful educational prospects that come with learning online...I know I have!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GAME plan for students

Using the GAME plan to work through and continually monitor and update goals is a simple process. Students also love to take the simplest possible means to completing tasks and are usually willing to work if those means are fast and easy to follow. Keeping that in mind, I believe it will be easy to use the GAME plan procedures with my 5th graders, IF I establish the process early on in the year.

Review of the NETS-S confirmed the work I have been doing on my content area plan and other assignments I have been constructing for the beginning of the year. My own GAME plan relates to the students' NETS for Communication and Collaboration. They will be using a blog page very early in the year and I plan to insert digital storytelling at the beginning of the year, also. The stories will work with the Creativity and Innovation. The other 4 NETS-S are integrated throughout my lessons. I believe I will be able to have my students modeling the NETS-S quite thoroughly without them even knowing what they are accomplishing. Of course, I will introduce them to the reasons behind the work we are completing, but I think I'll let them get comfortable first.

GAME on!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Revising the GAME plan

I just read back over my original goals and found I am moving forward rapidly towards success! This is surprising to me, since I thought I would be working much harder (and longer) to accomplish such short successes. My week is winding down now and I have a clearer mind to focus on my objectives. The goals for my focus, so you don't have to look back like I did, are the #3 goals of the NETS-T: online collaboration tools and digital formats for parents and students.

First off, I FINALLY retrieved the Mac (but it's wireless and my house is not) and look forward to using it for the next month. Thanks to some suggestions, I will be playing with GarageBand first.
I already mentioned setting up the communication links with parents and students (and if you read my initial discussion post for this week, you'll understand) which puts me in the right place for returning to school. I will now advance my focus to online-digital tools for students in the classroom. The blocks and filters in my district are very discouraging, but I have found some success when requesting released links through my principal. We will see...

on a side note...anyone else realize that in just 4 short weeks we will begin our FINAL semester????? WOO HOO!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Well, defining progress towards such goals as I've listed could be borderline hazy. I did not yet pick up the Mac laptop, but have one waiting for me. Personal family medical craziness have put my brain in other places. Today I received news of my "aunt" passing unexpectedly and no longer have my head in the GAME. So, progress is not a good term for me this week.

With that said, I have concluded setting up my Google calendar, my Yahoo Group, yahoo email linked to the group, and a Facebook account for the Yahoo group. (Ok, right now, when I find time, I play Frontierville with it, but's still summer and I can delete all that!) I have made all the progress towards setting up information with my parents for next year that I can until I have a class list and know who to contact and inform.

I cannot remember my other goal at the moment and will look back to see what, if anything, needs to be or can be done prior to returning to the classroom.