Skip to main content

Never Say Never

Quick rundown of new ideas I have implemented in my teaching and shared with my colleagues after attending PETE&C 2016: Kahoot, Classcraft, Aurasma, Google Chrome, and Chromebooks. Plus, a more refined focus on blended learning, Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google Slides, and not to mention building my PLN more. I'd say PETE&C was worth it.

Kahoot, the engaging formative assessment tool that students and teachers love, went over extremely well with my students as they used their Chromebooks to answer. Every day since using it, at least one student has asked me about when the next time we will be using it.

Classcraft, the classroom-based role-playing game, took off among the students, too. They were extremely excited to setup their avatars and start playing. They also showed me they knew a lot more than I did on the subject matter of XP (experience points), HP (health points), and AP (action points). I think I might have them design a Kahoot formative assessment on the Classcraft vocabulary for me.

Aurasma, the augmented reality app, turned out to be a fantastic way for my daughter to bring her 5K STEM project to life. It was great to see the end product with video of how she put it all together. It was also a good practice run for me before trying it in my classroom.

Google Chrome and Chromebooks have been the topic of two morning sessions at my school, in which my district's Director of Technology and I have teamed up to present to the faculty. We had almost all of the faculty show up for the sessions and got good feedback from them. And in the days that followed, I was being asked more about the topics. The ideas and conversations are definitely headed in the right direction, especially since Chromebooks are just being rolled out and teachers want to use them more and more to engage their students in meaningful ways.

My blended learning classroom has never been running better, especially now that I've tied it into Google Classroom. Students now have clear expectations every day of what the need to accomplish. If they miss class, they can now keep up outside of school. The station-rotation model that I am using (direct instruction, collaboration, and independent learning) are all in play every day. Each station brings something new for the students and gets them up and moving. They are learning how to work together, how to work on their own, how to solve their problems on their own which helps build their growth-mindset, and how to become actively engaged in class.   

For what started out as a very exciting and rocket speed type pace of a year, things are starting to get even more exciting but at a much more calmer rate of speed. It's a good place to be in, and I still have a few other ideas from PETE&C 2016 that I think I could easily work in and like to share with my colleagues. Never thought I'd say this, but I'm kind of anxious for summer to get here and be over so I can get back in the classroom and pick up where I left off.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Not Just Any Summer Assignment: A VR Summer Learning Experience

This summer, I intend to go to Disney World and other parts of Florida, the Outer Banks, Ocean City, New York City, a Kansas City Royals baseball game, the Grand Canyon, the White House, a NHL Finals game, a cruise, and I plan to go to all of those places without leaving my house. How? With the Cardboard Camera app, Google Cardboard, and Google Classroom. I have given my sixth grade students one last assignment, and this assignment will run all summer long. Their assignment is to bring along their classmates on their summer vacation trips using the Cardboard Camera app, by uploading their images to Google Classroom for their classmates and myself to view on our Google Cardboards (we had a Google Cardboard make and take night in early May, so the students are really into VR now), and finally collaborating on a Google Slide (Take Us With You On Vacation). Benefits to this assignment: 1. Let's start with the obvious. It is really cool. Who doesn't want to try out VR? The students ab…

My First Few Weeks as Elementary Principal

On January 23rd, my 15-year career as a classroom teacher changed dramatically, as I began a new role as interim principal in one of my district's elementary schools. Then on January 24th, my wife and I celebrated our third child being born. It was a week full of emotions but most of all excitement.  Being a father of two, I knew what to expect with our third child. Late night feedings, sleepless nights, changing diapers (lots of diapers), and a return to the 5S's. But being a first-time principal, it was a lot like being a first-time parent. You could read all the books and get all the advice, but until you actually went through it, you couldn't really understand it.  Much like bringing my first child home from the hospital after she was born, I had some, well a lot, of anxiety going into my first day as principal. I had scheduled a full faculty meeting to introduce myself, and while I was only an interim principal in another principal's building, I still had to be myse…

Enter The Twilight Zone with Blended Learning

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone. 
I feel that opening part of the show The Twilight Zone directly relates to my school year this year. This is my second full year of running a blended learning classroom, and I feel as if in some way my sixth-grade students and I have crossed over into the Twilight Zone. Strange but wonderful things are happening in and out of my classroom, that I have not, unfortunately, witnessed before in my 15 years of teaching. Students are embracing the idea that learning can take place anywhere, anytime and that their voice matters to others, as they enter a whole other dimension in Google Classroom. They are seeing learning opportunities on their own outside of the school day and wanting to share their experiences wit…