Posts

Showing posts from June, 2015

When I Took a New Job...

Image
A few weeks ago I taught my students about choices; how unlimited wants and limited resources force us to make decisions. This is the basis of economics and dictates every person's life, whether they know it or not. Just like every other person, I too have to make choices in my life, whether professional or personal. So I'm excited to announce that this fall I will be teaching social science at Minarets High School!

For the longest time, Minarets has been my dream school with their deep integration of edtech and project based learning. I fell even more in love with it when I presented there for the Google Summit in May so when I found out about a social science position opening up I eagerly put in my application. I'm so excited for what the future holds for me at Minarets High School with all the new things I have learn, new people I get to meet, and new students I get to teach.

Despite my joy, I'm heartbroken to leave Woodlake High School, the place of my first real c…

When I Added Pear Deck to my Toolkit...

Image
Last year I decided to take a chance and create a 1:1 classroom using Chromebooks. With the tips I learned at CVCUE in the Spring, my experiments with various edtech projects, and my Twitter PLN, I was eager and ready to dive into edtech.

During those two weeks, I was trying new ideas every day and I heard about a new app on Twitter called Pear Deck. The logo of Pear Deck, an adorable smiling pear, was intriguing along with the fact that they offered students opportunities to engage directly with the lesson on their own Chromebooks. They could answer formative assessment questions by drawing, choosing multiple choice questions, dragging a dot to various locations, or inputting numbers. So I signed up for the beta testing and was thrilled when I received my golden ticket.

Instantly, my students and I fell in love with the app; students loved interacting with material immediately and I loved that I could ensure every student was participating while also monitoring learning. But my stude…

When Students Became Authors...

Image
For whatever reason, I have always wanted my students to do a children's book, but never found the time. Then, with the SBAC testing and my department's agreement to try out project based learning, I threw my project idea into the ring and we decided to do a children's book regarding a US topic during the Cold War. I imagined using Storify to have students create their books, since my goal is to integrate technology whenever possible, but with no technology access during SBAC testing we decided to go "old school" and I'm so glad we did. I don't think my students would have been as creative and free to express their ideas if we had used technology.

The first step of project was to have students select their Cold War topic, which they did using Google Forms. I was eager to try the Choice Eliminator, but found out quickly that the add-on does not work as quickly as I hoped so I ended up having to quickly problem solve and adapt the form so students made thei…

When Summer Came Too Soon...

As the school year races to the close, I have reached another milestone in my career by finishing my second year of teaching. With BTSA completed and my tenure gained, I can now smile at the memory of walking down the halls of Woodlake High School in 2013 and realizing that I would be a "real" teacher. Yet with another milestone gained, I can't help but feel a sense of incompleteness. I'm not sure where this feeling is coming from; last year, I eagerly waited for summer to arrive, but this year I'm wishing I had more time.

It may be coming from my recent experiments within my classroom. In the past, I have done versions of project based learning, but I recently embraced student choice and did my first 'official' PBLs. I'm still waiting on my students' completion of the most recent project, but overall I have felt a greater sense of satisfaction and happiness watching my students on their own, rather than my direct instruction. As a result, I'v…