Saturday, September 29, 2012

Trying to do More...A Little at a Time

So Close!

My week started out GREAT!  Marty Creech asked if there were any issues that we needed fixed and I quickly texted back.  I let him know that I didn't have access to my science and math interactive game tabs from my webpage.  I was also experiencing difficulties playing anything that needed Adobe Flash.  I tried Chelea's fix but it didn't work.  Believe it or not but Flash is no longer usable on the Galaxy tablets.  What's that about??? 

Marty sent a text to Steve Anderson who then tweeted his followers for a fix.  Minutes later Marty told me to install the Dolphin Browser.  It seemed to fix the issue and I was able to run a few games.  The following day, some of my students finished their classwork early and they were directed to play some math remediation games.  They didn't work...what a bummer!!!!  Not really sure what happened other than to guess that the games that I tried didn't require a Flash player.  I am sure that there is a fix out there and I feel confident that my students will have access to all of the tools on my webpage.  What I was most impressed with, through this whole problem/solution process was the power of Twitter.  Steve Anderson has a huge following and it is apparent how useful this can be as a trouble shooting tool for teachers.

Moving Up the Bloom's Ladder

Our sixth grade math and science PLC meeting are always filled with ideas that we share with each other.  My biggest takeaway from last week's meeting was given to me by Duncan Maye, in regards to answering questions using a three stem response.  As we move forward with common core curriculum and try to meet the needs of providing instructional opportunities that provide students with higher thinking level opportunities, it's always nice to hear a "best practice".  The three stem response requires students to respond to questions by saying:
3 Stem Response
I think the answer is...
I think this because...
I solved this by....

I love it!  I have started to use this when checking homework orally in class.  I am in the process of training my kids to respond in this manner when they hear "Give me three."  Answering open response questions is another opportunity to throw this at the students.  Today, I posted two questions on Edmodo which required students to answer questions about comparing fractions when given the choice of multiple strategies.  I haven't looked at the results yet and I'm sure that they will be weak, BUT eventually the students will get there.  The responses that I am looking for will become a reality.  It's a matter of training the students in what I want and providing constant opportunities to respond in this manner. 

Other Positive Moments of the Week

Book Reviews - Students read three picture books on the moon and had to write a paragraph "book review" on each, using a newsletter template from MS Word or online.  Without prompting, one student included QR codes with direct links to Amazon.  Thirty students successfully submitted an electronic copy of their book review to Edmodo.

Installation of Dolphin Browser - Installing an app onto a tablet doesn't take very long unless 30 students are doing it at the same time.  Many students are becoming troubleshooters for the class.  They finish and hop up to help others.  This week, the work around was logging off the MLC server and logging into the managed server to install the Dolphin Browser.  It seemed to speed things up and I'm always impressed when students who take the initiative to help other and save time in the classroom.

Great idea of the week - I was traveling to Greenville SC last Friday and finally had three hours of uninterrupted time to think.  This is hard to find this time of year, as all teachers know.  Earlier in the week I asked my students to respond to questions orally and I took the other side regardless of how absurd my responses sometimes sounded.  I did my best to sell my ridiculous answers but the idea was to provide two different views and let the class decide which answer was correct.  It turned into ten mini debates and the excitement in the class was high.  The question that I asked myself on this three hour trip was "How could this spontaneous idea be improved using technology?"  Skype popped into my mind.  We could debate with another class somewhere on campus.  I called a co-worker and explained the idea and that was when the idea really took off.  Daniel Bryant suggested that we open this up to all seven of the sixth grade classrooms using Google Circles.  I shared this with Marty and we spent a few minutes looking into it.  I would like to run this with one class sometime during the first semester and then try it with all of the math classes during the second semester.

Study Skills - We have created our study skills groups and will start working with our level I and level II students on Wednesday of next week.  Mrs. Abrams and I will teach math to the students who have failed the math and reading EOG's.  A huge obstacle with this is pulling students out of an elective to work on a subject that they have experienced little success in the past.  We will meet on Monday and Tuesday to develop a remediation plan around the tablets.  I'm sure that Khan Academy and Learnzillion will serve as key programs and be incorporated into our this plan.

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