Thursday, March 19, 2015

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Learning Ed Tech? Feel Lost At Sea?

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Learning Ed Tech? Feel Lost At Sea?: I won't say the 'average' teacher has issues with the rapidly changing ed tech classroom. I would say 'normal' teacher...

Learning Ed Tech? Feel Lost At Sea?

I won't say the 'average' teacher has issues with the rapidly changing ed tech classroom. I would say 'normal' teachers do. The complexities of the nano-second ed tech progress confuses even the techies. Now the Common Core requires testing online soon and very soon K-12.

Try not to panic, 92% of teachers that are floundering with these all pervasive, complex, overwhelming classroom changes. Don't cry. You are not alone. Not really.
  • Where can I find help? We're going to Chromebook.  I'm a teacher with not much tech expertise.  
Google Chromebook is a good deal for many districts. And the students can really learn to write with it. I have an affiliation with a district that I feel represents the complexities of rural, poor, and tech challenged students and their teachers. They have just acquired 1:1 Chromebooks in the classroom for grades 2-12 . Just weeks ago. The only required training for teachers was the very first level for Google Certified Teachers, and they are walked through it district assistance. Is that enough? For the great number of average teachers who only go online maybe for Facebook, no. What should I do if I'm a teacher in this category? Here are some resources: 

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning
 http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/08/everything-teachers-need-to-know-about.html

Understanding Google Certification
http://www.edudemic.com/understanding-google-certification/ 

Chrome: Getting started
https://www.google.com/chrome/education/devices/gettingstarted.html

This is a quote from this page. DON'T YOU FEEL BADLY after reading it. If you are a teacher, such as myself, who has actually spent 24-7 planning and teaching and not sitting in your computer chair--this isn't that simple to you. So here is the smug quote:

It’s easy to get started with a Chrome device, whether you are an IT administrator, a teacher or a student. There’s no steep learning curve standing in the way of learning, teaching and sharing, and the web-based management console makes it easy to administer a fleet of Chrome devices.

I really despise the stuck-up attitude given by some of the ed tech community. We are not stupid, and we have legitimate questions. Don't you tell me, sonny, there's no steep learning curve. Anywho, ask for help, from your grade level, from the tech person, from family. You could pray about it. Don't give up. Some teachers I spoke to said they were retiring because of the changes with ed tech. Retire if you are ready, not to avoid learning something new.

  • I'm a Principal and my teaching staff has the deer-in-the-headlights-look when we talk about ed tech at staff meetings. Its just about an emergency. What to do?
Be reassuring. Remember teaching? Evaluate your students (staff) and differentiate instruction. Organize trainings lead by compassionate ed tech savvy staff that won't embarrass or leave the teachers behind. Maybe there's a Special Ed. teacher who knows ed tech and could do this for you. I'm actually not joking about that. Don't take the teachers' word that they understand ed tech, (their jobs depend on this, they'll smile and nod just like a student), check for understanding through walk-throughs, demonstrations, asking the right questions in a non-threatening environment. Just like a good teacher. Grade level reports with evidence of success. Remember teaching? Check for understanding and, as we all know, teachers (and everyone else) don't do what you expect, they do what you inspect. Ed leadership has to actively support ed tech learning with your staff. Your future test scores depend on your teachers knowing ed tech. Here are some resources:

Office of Education Technology
http://tech.ed.gov/ 

Why Teachers Hate Tech Training ... and What to Do About It
http://www.infotoday.com/MMSchools/jan04/combs.shtml 

Training Teachers to Integrate Technology 
http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2011/11/team-effort
  • I want to use ed tech in my class, but we are not getting the ed tech equipment. I teach Special Education, and also need time for training in ed tech.

Red flag here. By my informal observation, special education classes are not receiving current ed tech. In the past, special education classes customarily received out-dated textbooks, inadequate or inferior classrooms, no equipment or it was shoddy, and somehow funding earmarked special education did not make it to the student even when in an IEP. I'm not naming names, or stating it happened under my watch (it didn't because I'm kind of a watchdog about that.) I have recently been in a Special Education for the Severely Handicapped/Autism Classroom that very effectively used iPads with the students. I would be very interested to see how Chromebooks with the simplified writing opportunities work with this student community. Do Special Education students have a right to ed tech like the other students? How about the teachers?

This is a Special Education legal website. Don't tell anyone I sent you.

Technology and Assistive Teachnology  

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/atech.index.htm 

Chromebooks for Special Education and Assistive Technology

http://doceocenter.org/resources/chromebooks_sped_at 

What does edtech look like in the special ed classroom?

https://www.edsurge.com/n/2014-12-15-inside-the-special-education-classroom-how-tech-can-help-special-needs-students

  •   Ed tech looks so exciting online. Why does seem so dull in a real classroom?

News from Skype in the Classroom

 https://education.skype.com/news?page=2
Ed tech is absolutely, mind-boggingly exciting. We have lived to see the future! And the kids are launched exponentially, literally launched into a future of success, productivity, equity, and fascination no one can even dream about. Some teachers are like the explorers of the 'New' World, the New Digital World. What are they reporting back? How can all teachers get in on it? First, all teachers need to board the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and launch into the unknown. Shake up those lesson plans from 1989 (or even 2011) and incorporate the communication values of the internet. Skype. Email. Virtual tours. TED talks. Research using curiosity. Poetry Slams. Virtual Art Shows between schools. Dance Festivals. School Gardening Shows. Sing offs. Pen pals--an online community for your class from anywhere your district will let you skype. IMAGINATION will drive the best teachers to learn ed tech. Truth be told, not all teachers need to be ed tech experts. Collaborate with ideas for educational experiences within your PLN--how exciting to have all that enthusiasm and expertise united for learning fun. The best part is no one is bored, not the kids, not the teachers. The Common Core is reinforced with teachers reaching the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy. Principals can arrange for collaboration time. Go beyond CoolMath and Accelerated Reader. The teachers that don't want any change? Let them retire or find another profession.

Exciting Ideas for the Implementation of Educational Technology in the Classroom

http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/trends/1762-exciting-ideas-for-the-implementation-of-educational-technology-in-the-classroom 

Learn the Ins and Outs of Google Classroom from an Expert

http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2015/02/learn-ins-and-outs-google-classroom-expert 

Cool Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom 

http://www.teachhub.com/using-skype-classroom

Teaching Is Learning Ed Tech
Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech http://melanielinktaylor.mzteachuh.org/2014/12/teaching-is-learning-ed-tech.html


Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech II

http://melanielinktaylor.mzteachuh.org/2015/03/teaching-islearning-ed-tech-ii.html

 

Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech II

 


 

Friday, March 13, 2015

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Women's History Month: The Bronte Sisters

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Women's History Month: The Bronte Sisters: Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë, by their brother Branwell. He painted himself among his sisters, but later removed the image so as no...

Women's History Month: The Bronte Sisters

Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë, by their brother Branwell. He painted himself among his sisters, but later removed the image so as not to clutter the picture.
The three daughters of a minister in rural England almost two hundred years ago do not seem like candidates for authors of strong female characters in near-horror gothic novels-but there you have Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte.

Their real lives in the moors of Yorkshire germinated the seeds for Jane Eyre, Cathy and Heathcliff, and what some consider the first feminist novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. 

The unusually bright girls were surrounded by nurturing, attentive adults. But life in the beginning of the 19th century was difficult. At a young age, the girls lost their mother and two older sisters, had a difficult experiences at boarding schools, and their beloved brother suffered from alcoholism. However, they had been permitted creative outlets, and despite the social expectations to become a governess, teacher or wife, the three Bronte sisters adopted nom-de-plumes and wrote extraordinary novels.

Brontë family

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bront%C3%AB_family

If you travel to England, you can visit the sister's home.

The Bronte Society and Bronte Parsonage Museum
http://www.bronte.org.uk/

Jane Eyre was published in 1847 by the eldest sister, Charlotte. It is the compelling life story of a girl orphaned and navigating through a treacherous series of difficult relatives, boarding school tragedies, a Byronic figure making for tense moments while governess, stressful marriage proposals, and a denouement of  crashing finality. Jane proves an indomitable taking-charge-of-her-life female character. Charlotte Bronte initiated literary insights that influenced James Joyce's stream of consciousness almost a hundred years later.

Jane Eyre has been produced in film and miniseries. This is my favorite version:

Jane Eyre (2006 miniseries)

http://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Jane_Eyre_%282006_miniseries%29  

 

Linton/Earnshaw Geneology

Encouraged by the success of Charlotte's novel, Emily published Wuthering Heights. This is another doozy of a book. The story takes place in an isolated location on the English moors. Intense emotions ferment between and within the two families in the story, one fairly normal (the Lintons) and one pretty much dysfunctional (Earnshaws). Of course romance is involved. Also, profound unforgiveness, jealously, rage and several more of the seven deadly sins that makes for an enjoyable and memorable gothic novel. Heathcliff and Cathy are unforgettable. 

Sadly, Emily Bronte passed away shortly after the book was published. It is considered a classic of English literature.

Heathcliff and Cathy. (1992 version with Ralph Fiennes)

This is my favorite production of Wuthering Heights, even more than Olivier as Heathcliff. Guess you can tell I like my Masterpiece Theater.

Wuthering Heights (2009 television serial) 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuthering_Heights_%2 82009_television_serial%29 

Anne Bronte's novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is considered the first feminist novel. Her protagonist, Helen Graham, is an abused wife who chooses to defy her alcoholic husband and takes her son with her as she flees, breaking several English laws that prohibit any women's rights. The story includes a shocking scene in which Helen slams the door in his face. (Remember, this is 1847 in Victorian England.) Where would Anne get such ideas? Interestingly enough, her father, although an Anglican minister, at one time had counseled an abused wife to leave her husband. There were many instances within the 'dissenting' churches of the time that empowered women more than traditional churches, and Anne's aunt was a Methodist. Though even now, sadly, many churches of many faiths would not support this move. So, this is still a shocking novel. The main character encounters a variety of interesting persons, observing hypocrisy in both male and female. Helen maintains her strong mores and even comes out with a happy ending. This Bronte sister also died almost immediately after her book was published. (Tuberculosis was rampant.) There was such a hubbub about this book that Charlotte Bronte did not want it republished, thinking to preserve her sister's reputation.

Surprisingly, I have not seen this production. It was on Masterpiece Theater while I was working on my masters and not watching much television.

But Netflix has it! It is now at the top of my queue. (Update--it is very good.)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996)

 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115387/

 After meeting the Bronte sisters, we will watch how our little girls play make believe with more interest.

 

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Monet and Vivaldi: Tulips, Music and Spring

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Monet and Vivaldi: Tulips, Music and Spring: Claude Monet Tulip Field with the Rijnsburg Windmill I was hoping to give you just a little blast of Spring--the brilliant blue sky af...

Monet and Vivaldi: Tulips, Music and Spring

Claude Monet Tulip Field with the Rijnsburg Windmill

I was hoping to give you just a little blast of Spring--the brilliant blue sky after a spring shower, the shocking, vibrant red, yellow, purple of bulb flowers blaring after the winter grey, the enthusiastic chirp and twitter of the birds now activated for the season like an army just getting out of boot camp. I can just about do it with Monet and Vivaldi--but I can't send you the still-chilly-but-not-freezing breeze on a finally sunny day or the scent of earth unfreezing. You'll have to go outside for that.

Vivaldi Spring 
My contribution to the jamboree!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqojc0UrhOU 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Take a Walk With Ludwig

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Take a Walk With Ludwig: Vienna Woods, lessing-photo,com A picnic would be lovely. A class can illustrate the music after a brief introduction to Beethoven...