I am an avid user of Twitter for my PLN, and I adore the connections I have made by using this form of social media. I have been on Twitter since its inception, but until three years ago I never used it as a tool to better formulate my teaching. I began hearing about Edcamps/unconferences in various twitter chats, and it sparked my interest. Unfortunately, there were not any that were close, or I could not get free on a Saturday to participate. This spring I told myself I was going to go to my first Edcamp. When Samantha Bates moderator of #tnedchat formed Edcamp MidTenn. I was ready to go to my first.
I was so excited; I was going to my first Edcamp, and I was not sure what to expect. Fearful of going alone I took my brother in law who teaches with me to Tullahoma, Tennessee where the event was. I left amazed at what I had learned. This information had to be brought back to my executive principal because my thoughts were we could do this at our school. He watched videos on what an Edcamp was he assured me this is something he had been wondering about he just did not know the format in which the PD could be in.
Currently, we are scheduled to have our Edcamp Style PD planned for June the 8th I have sent out a Google form so the fellow teachers may submit if they would like to facilitate or just show up. (a link will be at the bottom of the post) I sent this out because only two of us in our building have been to an Edcamp, so I wanted the fellow faculty members to understand the concept before the day of the event. There have been many well thought up responses for this, and I am excited to see how the day will turn out. I will keep everyone posted on our progress as it develops.
Here is the Google form I sent out.
At the beginning of the summer, teachers look down at their professional development list. I like most wondered what benefit I would have from the training that I will receive. This summer I had the privilege to meet Larry Bell. Larry is a thirty year plus veteran teacher. Larry still educates children, but not in the classroom. Larry has taken his talents of teaching to the teachers and empowered teachers to strive for the success of every student. One of my favorite quotes Larry said during the training was “On your worst day on the job, you are still some child’s best hope.” Larry emphasized the importance of making connections with your students as well as his “12 Powerful Words” and UNRA(A)VEL. More about these later. I have always been a person who understands how connecting with your students makes a huge difference. I love how he uses his “7,3,1” method during class time, seven times during class praise your students, three times during class brag on your students and one time during class NEVER accept their excuses but do it lovingly. Larry made a lasting effect on me; his message was assuring I was still doing it right by my children.
Larry Bell and his “12 Powerful Words” are exactly what it says. These twelve words are words can be found on state test questions or ACT/SAT questions. Your students might have heard these before, but they may have not totally understood the meaning. Question? How many times have you given a test question to a student and they not answer it correctly, but if you tell them what the question is wanting they can answer you every time. By training a student with these words, they will have a better understanding of what the question is asking. This strategy will help the student perform on the test better. Some of these words are: evaluate, infer, analyze, compare, contrast, etc… These words may feel like they are simple to understand although teachers are college educated and have heard and used these words a few times in their years. Our students are not, with some of their backgrounds we are happy they are just making it to school. The “12 Powerful Words” help even the playing field for our students on testing questions.
Larry Also unraveled to us UNRA(A)VEL a reading and writing strategy for students. By using the acronym, students can look at the passage and understand the writers point he/she is trying to get across. With more of our testing “common core” centered it is important that the student understands how to pull the information out of the text and answer the questions given.
This year my school has bought into the “12 Powerful words” and UNRA(A)VEL. We hope these strategies will help our students perform better on their state mandated tests, and also help them as they continue their education. I am very thankful of my school district to bring Mr. Larry Bell to us this summer. He was such an inspiration to myself and other colleagues. Larry is scheduled also to spend some time with us this fall, which I can not wait for it again.
More information about Larry Bell and his passion towards students you can find them at
http://www.larry-bell.com Also, if you would like to know more from my perspective you can contact me via twitter @jacobdunn
Most people in the education world have now heard of the acronym PLC. PLC stands for Professional Learning Community, and its design is to help teachers collaborate with other teachers who teach the same grade level or the same subject. This is a magnificent way for teachers to share ideas and teaching strategies with other teachers to better their teachings. We have started PLC’s in our school district this year and I do enjoy them. My fellow social studies teachers can talk about what goes well in our class and see what is going well in theirs. This is a great way to have ideas bounced off different people to see if they have tried a certain teaching style or not
You probably know about Twitter but they really don’t know what it is or how it is used. Twitter is considered a micro-blogging site where you are given 140 characters to let your “followers” know what you are doing. Some people still use it to inform about their day to day lives but others have chose to use Twitter as a content creation/consumption media. Twitter has turned into the ultimate news source for many people including myself. I use this as my primary news source, because people are breaking news as it happens instead of waiting for a newscast. It can also be used for information I love how people share blogs and other information about their trade or interests.
How can Twitter be used as a PLC? With Twitter you can get tons of information about education, and what is going on in education. So how do you get this info? You need to sign up, then at the top of the screen click on “who to follow”. Since this is an EDtech blog, I would suggest you follow someone in the education field. Just type in Education in the search and you will find quite a few to follow such as @usnewseducation or @ED_outreach. To have a PLC, you will need people for ideas, feedback and support. Some of the people I follow are @perrywiseman, @dianeravitch, or @teachpaperless. These people, I have found very valuable to my online PLC by the information they share, and there is a wealth of it. If you want to expand your knowledge about any subject, I would suggest you use Twitter and “follow” on.
Most of you have read my blog post about my purchasing the personalized white boards. I am please to let you know that after two years of using so my students have shown much improvement. Last year I was able to have student growth at the top of my department. I enjoy using these and it is a great questioning tool for your evaluations too.
Most of you have thought about personalized white boards, and I have thought about them as well. So this past year I decided I was going to make the plunge. I was needing a new way to assess my students every day for retention, but I didn’t really know how or what I needed to do. In a traditional classroom it is difficult to know if every child is getting what you are teaching. There is always the one student who is always willing to answer the question, and you do have students that will answer if you call on them. I just needed a way to reach all my students. So one day my wife had looked on Pinterest and found some ideas, and the personalized white board really stuck out to me. I purchased a classroom set of thirty from Amazon.com for around $30 that is around a dollar a board. I went with these due to the cost, and as a teacher we all know how much we spend in our own money every year.
I took this year to see how my students would respond to the boards. I teach high school juniors and introducing something like this could be very tricky. They might feel that this is very elementary or just might not like doing it because it doesn’t look cool. These were some of the issues I had come in contact with when I introduced them. Once I assured them this will benefit them they were more willing to use them. I used the white boards as a way to assess my student’s almost everyday. This gave me a great ability to see who was learning and what they did know. This also allows myself to change the way I teach while throughout the lesson. There were times I would go without using the boards to see if there is a difference in the learning. Students would not seem to be interested when we didn’t use them, I feel they felt they could be invisible again if they didn’t use them. I can assure you this does make students more accountable throughout the lesson and scores were higher when I used the boards than when I didn’t.
As most of you all know I have not been writing about my goings on lately, or reviewing an app for the iPad. Part of it is my changing of subjects and part of it is laziness. I hope most of you most of you all will understand. Especially if you are a teacher trying to do all new lessons ready while want to write.
Most of you all know I love technology and one of my newest favorite websites/ apps for all devices is the remind 101 app. This service is free, and which teacher doesn’t like free. What is wonderful about this service is the students or parents do not have direct access to your phone number. As a teacher of high school students this is a great advantage. This will allow you to keep your students or parents up to date with you feeling you are getting to close to your students.
How does it work?
When you sign up for remind 101 you are assigned a phone number and a log in code such as this
This will allow all of the students to subscribe to your text messages. The ease of use with this product is great. If you can type a message you can use this. You can also organize the subscriptions to classes. I teach two different subjects so this feature works out amazingly.
Remind 101 only works if the students will subscribe. Even though I have haven’t had 100% participation from this program, I do have around 98%. When I presented this to my students the majority of them were really open to this idea. We have 7 class periods at out school and it is hard for all of our students to remember all of their assignments or if they are going to have a test tomorrow. Remind 101 makes it easy for you and your students to keep up with your class’s entire goings on.
I have noticed the student’s who have received the text messages have performed a lot better on tests and other assignments than the ones who do not have it. This gives them the nudge they need in order for them to study.
I have fallen in love with this service, the guys at remind 101 have hit a home run. I highly recommend Remind 101 for anyone who is a teacher. I think you will find it very helpful with your classroom.
Hello again everyone it has been such a long time since something has been posted on my blog. I hope you all will forgive me for not posting. I will try and update the page as much as I possibly can. I due tend to change the layout a little and will be bringing more insight to just teaching than just teaching and tech.
Hey guys, so I finally got an iPad. My school system is letting me borrow, and I love it. There are so many apps out there to choose from. I am going to try and review some of them for you all. One of the apps that I am using now is called the show me app.
From the website: “ShowMe is a global learning community – a place where anyone can learn or teach anything.”
Show me allows you to draw on the screen and record your voice at the same time. It also has the ability take a photo that you have taken or have saved and can draw over it. I have used this in my class to describe how the rain shadow effect works, and other geography related topics. Not only can you save your own videos and show them to your students, you can share your videos with others on the show me website. Show Me is basically an on demand learning service. I recommend the show me app for all teachers who have an iPad this will help you give your students a better visual of the topics you have discussed. With show me it is a great tool that you can use to educate your students or other people around the world with just your iPad.
Here is a basic video on how it works.
Today we have started out projects for the semester exam. Instead of testing the students with a formal assessment I thought it would be fun for the kids to research a country and instead of reporting on it, I decided they were going to make a commercial for it. Since most of my students do not have access to a video camera I will let them use a power point or make a brochure instead. Although some of my students are really excited about creating a video. Some have asked me about making a video over war torn Iraq and having a faux battle scene. I too am excited for them. Hopefully if they are willing I might put some on youtube for everyone to see. I will keep everyone posted.