Friday, March 26, 2010

Take 2 (or more) Steps

It does not matter how much time I spend in my office trying to get caught up. No matter what I do, it seems like I am always behind. I can knock off 10 things from my to-do list, and the next day I will have 15 more items added to the list. It feels like I take 2 steps forward, then 3 steps backwards. I often feel like I am never making any progress.

A couple days ago, I took some steps (more than 2) outside of my office. I went through the hallways, popping in classrooms for quick visits. The time was very well spent for me. The best visit was in 3rd grade watching one of our great teachers using the Smart Board very effectively in her instruction. There were smiles on the students’ faces, hands raised, and eyes glued to the Smart Board. The time in the classroom was a great reminder about what is important. Take time to talk with your staff. Take time to talk with the students. Take time to talk with the parents. The ten minutes I spent in 3rd grade was more beneficial than replying to 10 emails in 10 minutes.

I appreciate you reading this blog post, but don’t spend too much time here. Go visit a classroom. Go talk to a kid. Make that phone call to a parent. It’s worth the time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Social Media Math

Lesson Plan Title: Social Media Math

General Goal(s): Students will be able to understand the benefits of social media (twitter).

Specific Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to evaluate the benefits of using a social media tool.
  2. Students will be able to analyze data about social media usage, users, and growth.

Required Materials: Internet connection, projector or IWB, a computer for each student

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In): Obtain immediate feedback/greetings from twitter followers to show the instant collaboration opportunities of social media.

Step-By-Step Procedures:

  1. Show the “Did You Know 4.0” video -
  2. Create a backchannel for a post video discussion using
  3. Following the video, begin the backchannel and ask students about their initial reactions.
  4. Watch the video again, stopping at specific points to ask discussion questions
    1. 0:30 – Is there anything on this list that you do not use to access information? Is there something missing from this list that you use to access information?
    2. 0:37 – What is the ratio of TVs in the US to TVs in bathrooms in the US? Do any of you have a TV in your bathroom?
    3. 0:42 – When was the last time you read a newspaper? Do you think newspapers will be extinct someday?
    4. 0:59 – Why is some advertising going down and some advertising going up?
    5. 1:14 – How many hours of broadcasting is that for the 3 networks since 1948?
    6. 1:27 – How many unique visitors is that per day? Per hour?
    7. 2:07 – How fast do you think Mr. Creutz can type a 160-character text message?
    8. 2:21 – How is it possible to send 2,272 text messages a month? Ten years from now, do you think teenagers will be sending thousands of text messages a month?
    9. 2:24 – How many text messages was that per day? Per hour? Per minute?
    10. 2:34 – What percentage of students in this class own a cell phone? Do you think this is a typical percentage for 8th grade classes everywhere?
    11. 2:57 – Barack Obama won the 2008 Presidential Election because of his use of social media in fundraising. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?
    12. 3:45 – How could a mobile device be used in the classroom today, in 2010?

Plan For Independent Practice: Develop a poll to evaluate the information, effectiveness, reliability, accuracy, etc. of the “Did You Know 4.0” video. The poll should ask the reader a question, and then give the opportunity to respond to at least 4 possible answers.

Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set): Send out a tweet about the “Did You Know 4.0” video. Ask the class to form the tweet in a way that will encourage followers to watch the video.

Assessment Based On Objectives:

  • An informal assessment will be completed by following and reading the backchannel discussion.
  • A formal assessment will be completed by evaluating the polls developed by students.

Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities):

Extensions (For Gifted Students):

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Looking Forward to Monday

My graduate class assignment this week allowed me to reflect on my classroom management techniques. There are three aspects to classroom management that I try to implement in my classroom. The three areas include routine, a positive atmosphere, and personal responsibility. I feel that I have been successful with two of the three areas of focus in my management. I have been successful with routine and personal responsibility. I am very consistent in my classroom with the pace of my lessons, homework, test schedules, and grading style. I also feel very strongly about teaching junior high students personal responsibility. I try very hard to work toward an appropriate level of personal responsibility, depending on the development of each student. Now, I know there is always room for improvement in my routine and teaching personal responsibility, however the biggest area of growth for me is creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom. The next three days I am going to work hard to have fun, smile, encourage, collaborate, and help each student find success. If I succeed in creating a more positive atmosphere by the end of this week, I think I will find myself looking forward to Monday rather than looking forward to the weekend.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Integrating Disciplines

We are currently studying the concept of angles in my 7th grade math class. We have been identifying and measuring angles. I would like to integrate art into this lesson about angles, specifically the visual art of photography. I am also going to integrate language arts into this lesson through writing activities. Students will find examples of angles in the real world and take pictures of the angle. They will need to photograph an obtuse angle, right angle, and an acute angle. Then the students will submit the photographs via email and write about where the picture was taken, what kind of angle is in the picture, and describe other things of interest in the picture. Do you have any other suggestions to enrich this lesson?

What other disciplines can I integrate into this lesson?

What other ways can I extend this lesson to increase learning and understanding of angles?