Monday, July 14, 2014

Wisdom of the Crowd~it's Everywhere!

What an awesome group of dedicated 21st Century Educators I met in E. Bridgewater, MA on July 10, 2014! The day was hot and  humid, the school was incredible, brand new, state of the art and even had air conditioning! No mistake it was a summah day!
Four things I love about being involved with Summer Professional Development:
  1. Educators choose to be there
  2. Educators are relaxed
  3. I learn something new each time because educators SHARE!
  4. Everyone is so appreciative
Find a summer professional development that you can join. There are many online and archived, you can participate on your own terms. Share what you learn on Twitter or Facebook, learning continues!
Here is one of my favorite online spaces K12OnlineConference !

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Who are you following in the world of educational technology?

Find someone on this list to follow over the summah and your personal learning will increase substantially. Why, because it will be your choice, your motivation! You will find this information at EdTech K-12.  I am going to choose someone new to follow to expand my horizons and to get some different ideas. While I already follow some great bloggers I am going to push myself to learn about new ideas from new people.  Who will you follow?

coakes photo Flagstaff, Maine

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summah Learning Time

Just learning about Booktrack Classroom from my friend Vicki Davis, who went to ISTE14. Thanks Vicki! Booktrack Classroom features:

  • Free for teachers
  • Increased reading comprehension for students
  • Increased motivation to engage in the writing process
  • Publish for your classroom
  • Set up for a small classroom takes less than 10 min.
  • FUN! I wrote and published a nonfiction story , 2 chapters, in 10 minutes complete with sound tracks!
  • Great for grades k-12.
  • Good selection of classics already available!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Tour 2014!

What are you doing this summer for your professional development? I am presenting at 3 different workshops, reading educational journals about the CLOSE reading strategies, learning about Google Classroom and spending some summah time for relaxation and fun!

The first workshop was a #GAFEPeak in York, ME. Fabulous teachers and administrators! Do you know the first sign of  technology moving forward in a school? Administrative use and support! When adminstrators are improving their craft of blogging and asking really good questions about what kinds of technology websites and Chrome extensions work best in the classroom,  you know that their schools are moving and making the most of instructional time.

What are you doing this summer for your professional development?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Let the Summer Learning Begin!

I am very happy to begin the summer learning tour! Beginning in York, Maine with GAFEPeak 2014. I am honored that classroom teachers take their own time to continue their learning. I am always nervous that the participants will find what I have to share, as exciting as it is to use in my classroom. Here is to our day together. Here is to you!

Monday, November 18, 2013

How to make different better for our students!

As a resource room teacher in a small high school in Wells, Maine, I have the benefit of knowing many students in the building. I am in two freshmen classes, World Studies and Physical Science, where I work with the content area teachers to help make the content accessible to our students with IEPs. This is my third year back in a classroom working with students. My colleagues and I  have tried many ways of differentiating instruction and assessments in order to offer our students ways to succeed.

During the summer the social studies team of grade 9 and 10  teachers and I worked on differentiating instruction and assessments. We were committed to making the content accessible to all students at different levels we referred to as Tiers. In the end we designed Tier 1 the regular content and assessments with the standard that students would complete annotations and sentences at the highest level. Next our Tier 2 students accessed the same classroom content, however, when they were writing, they would use 3 annotations, 2-3 full sentences describing their work and research. During the assessments they would have 2 multiple choice answers to read instead of 4 or 5 choices. Since our students read and process at a slower rate, this modification has been very successful. Finally, for very small number of students we offer a Tier 3. The same classroom content is offered. The annotations and sentences are 3 per page, with 2 sentences describing their research answers. This group of students takes the Picture ID part of the tests and quizzes using their notes. Instead of the multiple choice tests these students take a test using the Quizlet vocabulary words they have used since the beginning of the chapter.

Our results. The students in Tier 1, 2 and 3, barely notice the accommodations that the other groups use. They are all too busy doing their own work.  The teachers have been able to see the different Tiers working. The teachers are using the different Tiers with students who may not have an IEP. Why not? If the accommodation is working, if the accommodation allows the student to experience success, why not offer it to more students. The Tiers are flexible, students can move up and down the Tiers depending on their previous success or challenges.This work around the Tiers has been ongoing and constantly changing with the social studies content.

In the Physical Science class the teacher and I have a different approach for our students. All students have the same instruction except where math problems are concerned. The content and note taking are the same for all students. The number of annotations are flexible depending on student processing speed and understanding. The most accommodations occur during quizzes and tests. It is not unusual to have 4 or 5 different levels of quizzes and tests in this class. It works, the students with IEPs have access to their notes and may have different math questions most often with the formulas written into the test,  word banks are built into the tests, and for some IEP students the CLOZE system is used with a hint when they are answering questions.

We are making different better for our students!

Oh Ruby, what now?

After having my car for 8 months I was prepared that I needed to do the regular things like an oil change, windshield wiper change, but  a SYNC update. SYNC is the hands free phone, the navigation system, climate control and the inter-operability of them all.   Now I'm a tech girl.  I wasn't scared. Well, maybe a little nervous, but not scared! I could handle a SYNC update!

I logged into, then the fun begun. I chose my vehicle read the directions, downloaded a file to my USB.  Then I needed to load a smart card, the kind you use in some digital cameras.I am still feeling pretty good. I reread the directions on the website.
In order for this SYNC to be successful you need to start the process and then, without interruption,  keep the car running for 1 hour. (Now I only have a 10 min drive to work, so this will not work without further planning.)  I am way too frugal to sit in the driveway and run the car without traveling! So this SYNC will need to revolve around a trip.

Before I begin my trip,  I set up my car with the USB and smart card. As  I am on my trip I watch the navigation screen flash from installing data, transferring information, to a reboot.  I begin to wonder if I should be traveling down the road while this onboard computer system is being updated. Then I get an error message!!!! NOOOOO!
I am nearly at my destination . The only thing to do is begin again! So I begin the SYNC process all over.  This time 60 min. Later I see the success message, your car has successfully updated! 

4 weeks later..... Another update!!

Here I go again!  You might ask , why update?  Well things had begun to be glitchy!  The navigation system rebooting while I am driving. When I ask Ruby to call my son, "Jotham", the car, thinks I said,   "Jonathan", my husband. It is not okay to call your husband and say "Whoops, wrong number!" It doesn't sound right to say   "Ruby, dialed your number, I told her to call Jotham." So, here I go getting ready to SYNC to get rid of glitches.
The first time I tried this update Ruby just sat and did not respond.  I put things away, re-read the directions on the website, and planned to restart the process again.  After I pressed Master restart the process begins to load  1 out of 8 items,  1-2-3-4-  error bad port.  So  I try the other USB PORT. I have 4 to choose from.  The next time I get through to the 7th item and I get the error message bad or invalid file.  I try to download the file again, I even reformat the USB for a fresh start. Finally, my car needs service and I give up and turn it over to the dealer.

Yes, I gave up! But the dealer was able to update the SYNC and I am back in business.

  • With this many steps and the car needing to be running in order to update,  how many others are not bothering with updates?
  • Shouldn't FORD have a foolproof way to update?
  • Does this process of updating actually work with any reliability and consistency?

So FORD and SYNC, please get your programs working and talking to each other.
It shouldn't be this hard to keep my Ruby performing at optimum levels.