Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Tricks for the Old Trade

We are closer to the end of our novel than to the beginning and that's always a great place for me now that we can step back and do some discussion and analysis.  There is enough of the story in place for kids to really have a grip on characters, plot points, motivations and all that literary stuff.  Today's work focused on figurative language. As kids found examples in given chapters, they posted virtual sticky notes.  Below are the links to those bulletin boards.  I used to have the examples written on construction paper and posted around the room but I found this sticky note program and love it.  It seems to be a good way to have kids be accountable for their work, add a little creativity, and use these gadgets as well.  And with the ability to share their work like this, seems I'm covering all the bases.  So readjusting this old lesson seems to have worked.

World Lit 2                     World Lit 3

It was a pretty productive day.  Readers responded to Tea Cake's disappearance and Janie's patience.  Now we're headed to the Everglades. 

Renewed Inspiration

"I love this book so much. I almost read the rest on my own..."

I overheard this from a senior student yesterday morning.  What a great way to start the class!  It was just what I needed to begin the week.  I can only hope that others are also finding that Hurston's novel is worth reading.  We shall see...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It Works

iPad - check. Smart phone - check. Desktop computer - check. Laptop computer - check. Internet connection - check.  Whew.  With all of these gadgets it seems the demands to be "connected" and "linked" is more and more prevalent than I'm comfortable with.  But like it or not, its here and I'm trying to embrace this technology while still maintaining a sense of personal connection with my staff, my students, and myself.  Recent recommendations insist on a personal website to link to attach to our homepage, shared documents to access pretty regularly, virtual staff meetings, and more passwords than I can remember!  So as I grit my teeth and work on one of these tech projects after another, I am encouraged by the results thus far. 

To begin, my seniors will have an online portion of our class and we took the time yesterday to get them registered and enrolled on the Moodle site I worked on this summer.  I'll be darned - there weren't any computer freezes, website crashes, or blinking errors!  And the electronic submissions actually came through as promised.  Maybe this won't be so bad...

Then, in the name of paper conservation, my initial activities at the start of classes are projected to the TV screen rather than consuming paper.  So today's proofreading corrections were displayed so kids to check their work against professional marks and it was impressive I must say.  Made it look like I put a lot of time and effort into it, but in fact I must give credit to the publishing company for the interactive, projectable answer key - thanks Teacher's Discovery!

Finally, this blog itself is becoming more and more enjoyable for me. I began it three years ago and while it chronicles the same class, the entries are different as the students change and new ideas work (or don't!).  So I read through old entries every now and then and it is really theraputic for me.  I hope to get the kids looking at it more this year so we'll see how that goes.

So with a few clicks and templates, I'm finding it isn't that difficult to incorporate and create these pieces, I just have to adjust my approach and make an effort to update and incorporate the various pieces day to day.  And with that, it's off to check the Twitter feed!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Here We Go

It's official.  We're back in session.  Just finished our first pep assembly and while our kids can use a little boost in morale and a lesson in school spirit, it wasn't too bad.  I've got some organization to work on and still need to get in the groove, but all in all it looks like it will be a pretty good year. 

So, here we go again.