Monday, October 20, 2008

October 20 TQM Seminar Using Google Docs and Blogs forReflective Journaling,

Share with me one thing you can do in your classroom using a blog! Hint (to post, you'll need to log in using your google password)
Google for Educators

Google Mail

Google Docs for Educators
Infinite Thinking

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

thinking about procedures

So, you want to make a set of rules in your classroom, but, to make them more palatable, you call them procedures. This puts you in the arena of Harry Wong, or the Iowa PBS model. Will they work?


I have been thinking about this a lot lately. It is important to have procedures that benefit your top people. For example, in a school, there is a value to having a lunch room procedure. The best behaving kids in your school want to be able to eat in a timely manner. Cool. By that fact, you have established procedures for the right reason.

But let's think about the procedure for dealing with, say, parking your car. The best kids in terms of behavior generally don't park in reserved or handicapped spots. They are rule followers. But publishing a procedure that says we will tow your car is not a procedure at all. It is a consequence. And by shifting that procedure over to being a consequence, it does not necessarily bring out the best in people.

The workplace is another one of those things. Assume that you have a rule that all employees will not use their cell phones, and those using their cell phones will be disciplined. The best employees will not use their cell phones if they feel it is a problem to their job; yet, by employing a "procedure", really, morale has been damaged.

What things should we do to put the genii of procedure back into the bottle? Here's a thought: BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. Ask people WHY they do the things they do, and if they are giving you a valid rationale, and are in the top of the game at some point in their employment, perhaps a compromise is in order. The alternative, consequences, simply guarantees that over time, your organization will sink to its lowest common denominator.

Monday, August 18, 2008

High Energy Physics

I wonder what the universe is made of that we don't yet know about?

And so, it seems, do scientists.

Isn't that an amazing thing? What is even better is when students see that all the questions haven't been answered, there are more things out there to discover, and the new year is a great time to start.

As I start school tomorrow, I hope to find places to help my students wonder, experiment, and reflect upon the ideas and evidence they have gathered. Hopefully, their willingness to step out of the box, just a little, will expand their horizons.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Uses for Cell Phones

I was in my first inservice of a new year today, and it was one of those times when I wonder if my brain is wired the same way as others.

We were asked if we could brainstorm uses for legitimate classroom cell phone use and I was immediately writing down ideas:

  • taking pictures of whiteboards so you can study
  • podcasting using CINCH or other online services
  • creating group lists among kids to collaborate on projects
  • creating group lists so I can send kids who want a text of the assignment
  • using the timer or calculator options
  • timing the speed of communications by sending a text message to another person, knowing the distance to the nearest tower, and then figuring the speed of communication
  • googling a short question through text
I am amazed, though, that my responses have all been about texting, which I thought was a worthless feature a year ago. Isn't it amazing how a paradigm can shift? What other uses are out there?

Kathy, are you ready for this?

Well, I helped my friend, Kathy, put together a blog this summer as part of my work for this class I was taking (WebEDU681). I got so excited about the world of blogging, and its implications for kids, and it seemed like this could be a great thing for her as she tried to get her kids to use their new laptops at their schools. It would be a way she could keep track of her students' writing and work through easy editing. Two days of working together at the coffee shop and I was hooked. I hope she is as excited.

Honestly, I wish I had such a clear idea for what I am going to do with this blog. The original thought was to post journal questions for each of my students, but I still am toying with the idea of original comments, or blogs of their own. I think I will stick with the comments for now, because students need the opportunity to become consumers of blogs before they become managers of their own!

I wonder what business chooses as its preferred model: blogs or wikis? My guess would be wikis, because you are called to be accountable.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Starting again

Wikispaces, webpages, pbwiki, forums, email. Chalk that up to different formats of communication I have used with my students to try to communicate in ways to help them understand? Now I'll try a blog, hoping to use the metacognitive aspect of journaling to get them to activate their prior knowledge. You can get more details here.

Huh?! What?!

Translation: Instead of using your science journals to comment to me privately about what you think daily, you will comment in a group format through comments. By thinking about what we do in class, it is the hope that you will become more adept at monitoring your own learning and your learning strategies. This is a key strategy for learners.