Archive for June, 2014

Summer week 2

Posted: June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

I am assisting with our township technology training this week.  It is always fun to help other teachers find useful tools that can help engage our students.  We are including training with smart notebook, youtube, chromebooks, brainpop, GAFE, Google Drive, and other digital content.

I have introduced Symbaloo to most of the sessions that I have assisted.  I love being able to have all of my bookmarks organized in a meaningful and visual manner.  I have multiple tabs for personal, school, math blogs, twitter article links, and about 50 other tabs.  I am on different computers all day long from my classroom, to the computer lab, and then home.  Symbaloo allows me to link all of my bookmarks no matter what computer, web browser, or electronic device.   Yes, I even use the Symbaloo app on my iPhone.  It is user friendly and there is an ease to create, modify and to move tiles/links.

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I have also started uploading and converting my Microsoft Word files into Google Drive/Docs; in hopes that my students will each have Chromebooks.  I have been pleasantly surprised how well math expressions written using the equation editor in Word have been converted to the Google Document.  Google still needs to do some work on an equation editor… and yes, I know there are extensions and add-ons but Word is still easier.  Maybe, because all I have ever known is Microsoft.  As of now, I will still create in Microsoft and then convert any docs needed by students.

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Aleks vs. Kahn

Posted: June 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

We currently use http://www.aleks.com to remediate students who are on not on level coming in to Algebra 1.  There are a lot of bells and whistles that they offer that make the program useful in my classroom.  I love that I can link it to the textbook so material is presented to the student at the same time it is presented in the classroom.  I appreciate the number of reports that are available so that I can consistently look at data to show student growth (or lack of).  The algorithm that Aleks uses to determine student need is remarkable.  Students aren’t bogged down by what they already have mastered.  Students can see growth, I can see growth, and they are constantly assessed.  Students can see worked examples and I can link other resources to topics that students struggle with learning.That all being said Aleks cost money and I am lucky that my principal sees the value.

Kahn is now offering a free version of remediation via the Kahn Academy.  I was never a fan of Khan Academy videos but am curious about how their remediation works.  Is it something we could offer students who are not in the remediation class?  Kahn offers a coach/teacher option which is similar to Aleks, but is it as good as what I already have?  I like the idea of videos but I am not sure all my students would watch them (I just got my students to buy into taking notes on the worked examples).

Anyone have any experience with Kahn or Aleks that could help determine which we should move forward using?

Always a nerd

Posted: June 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

Summer vacation is here… the kids have filed out of the doors and the hallways are empty.  As teachers, we hope that they do not forget what we have worked so hard to teach.  As teachers we can be good role models.  I have so much on my plate this summer that I might be more busy than I was during the school year.

I lead and attend PD offered by my township.  These help keep me up-to-date on what is working in other classrooms in terms of technology.

I am also attending an AP summer institute this month for training to teach AP statistics next school year.  Super excited about this one…career goal of teaching everything from remediation to AP will be met.

I am also leading a NMSI training in July in Indianapolis.  This is something I am passionate about.  NMSI and Laying the Foundation have made me a better teacher and are a wealth of resources.  They have a few free lessons available, so check it out.

All this while keeping up with my twitter and blog PLN… I am confident I will grow this summer as a professional.  I just hope my students don’t forget 🙂