Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meet the Students of 2009-2010

We headed down to the computer lab for the first time this year on Friday. As soon as we walked in I immediately knew I had my work cut out for me...WOW! isn't what you think. It wasn't the kids, or even me. It was the fact that I had no teacher computer with LCD projector from which to teach. It was going to be a tough lesson. I had the kids make a list of words they wanted to use to describe themselves in a wordle. So...step 1, type the list in Microsoft Word and save it to his or her student folder on the server. Since some students didn't even know they had a folder on the server, this was a task in itself. BUT...we got step one accomplished. I had to have the kids use Word to type the list instead of just going straight to worlde for a couple of reasons. 1, if they accidentally close out wordle, they would have to retype which can be a nightmare for beginning keyboarders. 2, they need to learn to create a file and save it in an appropriate place. 3, it is a great opportunity to learn to toggle between two open windows as well as learn to copy and paste. to step 2. The kids had to open the internet, navigate to the class wiki and click on the link to create a wordle. Easy enough! The third step was to cut the text from the open word document and paste it in the wordle box. So far so good! The final step was a rough one. Since I wanted the kids to save these wordles as images I had them take a screen capture, paste it into powerpoint, crop it and finally save it as a jpeg. Whew...all without a display to demonstrate!!! While it was quite exhausting for me...they did a great job! Here are the wordles to prove it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Goodbye Summer

In the words of one of my favorite India Arie songs, Summer, "Goodbye summer, I hate to see you go." However, I am excited for another new year and all of the feelings that accompany it. Teachers know them... the anticipation of seeing the class list...the determination to try something new...the hope to better the lessons that were taught last year...the fun of buying new "stuff" at the teacher store. It happens every year, and I am excited to say this year is no different. I have a lot of new ideas and can't wait to see how they go.

One of my new "trials" is a new blogging platform for my students. Last year we tried to blog from this same blogger account, but it just didn't quite work the way I had anticipated. So this year I have set up each student with his or her own blog on Class BlogMeister. The link to this class blog is on the front page of our website Each student will also have his or her own wiki page. I like using the two different platforms for two different purposes. The blog will supplement and quite possibly replace the journal that is used in Spelling class. Did I just detect a possible eyebrow raise? I know...I know...the kids have spellcheck on the computer. That would be cheating right? You see, in that last sentence, if I would have put write instead of right, the computer may not have picked up my error. So spellcheck isn't necessarily the all-encomposing fix it for even the best spellers. The wiki will be a place to work collaboratively with students in the classroom or at home. It is as close as I can get in providing each student with his or her own webpage. And the beauty of a wiki lies in the fact that the kids can create as many wiki webpages as they would like. Our class wiki can be found here. I am going to head over there as soon as I am finished with this post to get pages started for this year's class. Last year's class pages will be archived in one folder.

I am looking forward to meeting the 19 students that match my class list and working with them this year. I hope they are as excited as me!