Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hi there,

It’s been awhile since I have published an update to my blog about what’s been happening in class. I’ll bring you up-to-date in one entry here but I also wanted to inform everyone following this blog that I will shortly begin to use a different blog as my classroom blog. Instead of using WordPress, I’ve decided to change my blog to a Blogger site. I made this decision because Blogger is a Google tool and one of the big things we are doing in class this year is beginning to learn how to use various Google tools, primarily the Google Classroom. Once I have established the address for the new class blog site using Blogger, I will send out a message on this blog to let you know how to switch over.

The biggest thing we have been doing in the last week and a half is introducing and learning how to use a set of touch tablets with keyboards in class as a tool to help us with our writing. I have a set of 30 tablets made by a company in Great Britain called Tierney Brothers. Here’s a link to their website if you’d like to read more about the tablet they produce; http://www.tierneybrothers.com/OurMarkets/K-12Education.aspx

The other thing we have been doing is learning about Google Classroom. Google has made available to all schools in Iowa all of their various Google apps for free! Google Classroom is an app that allows me to create a website for each of my classes and use it to distribute homework assignments, students can use it to turn in assignments electronically, and I can use it to comment and grade the assignments and then return them electronically bat to the student. We also will be using Blogger, Google’s web site design software, to design our own interest blogs. That will get started next week.

We took a quiz this last Monday to check students’ understanding of classroom expectations, routines and rules. Students will get that quiz back tomorrow.

So stay turned for the announcement of a new location for my blog. I decided if my students and I are all using these various Google tools, that I should be using Blogger to stay in touch with my students as well as their parents and guardians.

MrM

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Wednesday, September 3

In class today, we…

…received a handout that is all about keeping a journal in class this year. It is filled with information about why we keep a journal, Suggestions on how to use the journal, and when and how the journal is graded. We got a chance to ask clarifying questions and will finish up our coverage of this handout, which can be found on the Handouts page of the blog. This is the last of the “Big Three” handouts that will be part of a homework assignment tomorrow and that can be used to help take a quiz next week.
…learned about Muir Money, a way that MrM rewards us for doing things that indicate that we are actively engaged as learners in his classroom and not just sitting passively. He hinted at some of the things that Muir $ can be used to “purchase” in his classroom.
…used this picture of his one-year old grandson Jackson as the background for all the agendas this week…
Jack-Jack

 

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Tuesday, September 2

In class today, we…

…were in the LMC computer lab for the period. Our objective today was to register a Google account in our name. The logon name and password for our account is the same as what we use for logging onto the network. The purpose of these Google accounts is to allow the electronic sharing of documents between teachers and students and from one student to another. Some of us got this done during this period and others had more hoops to jump through so not all of us got it done. If we didn’t get it done today, we will try again on Friday. Because South East has become a “Google School”, that means we will have access to all the online tools that Google make available to us. MrM says that it means that some assignments will become “paperless”, meaning that an assignment will be distributed to students via Google and will be handed in via Google.

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Friday, August 29

In class today, we…

…spent the period in the library (LMC). The first thing we did was take a quick check-quiz regarding the routines used in the LMC that we learned in Literacy 7 class. After that we had a lesson on the SOAR expectations for when we are in the LMC. Together we then developed a set of statements outlining a shared vision for use of the LMC. If there was time, we then had a little bit of time to look through the stacks for a book to check out.

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Thursday, August 28

In class today, we…

…had our first experience with SSR/W. Most Thursdays, we will be given the period to read and/or write things that we choose. There are guidelines we have to follow and every SSR/W day is worth five points based upon following the guidelines.

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Wednesday, August 27

In class today, we…

…heard from MrM why he wasn’t here yesterday. Seems that his wife, who is the teacher-librarian at North Central (boooo Knights!), had her right hip replaced in an operation yesterday at Mercy Hospital. He showed us a picture of the parts of an artificial hip and how it is implanted in her femur and pelvis. He now says his wife is bionic. Sounded interesting and a little scary at the same time.
…got a handout entitled Grades and PIE. This handout explains how grades are determined, the grading scale used in class, and how different grades are weighted to make up our over-all grade for this class. We also got to find out what the PIE grade is and began to do a practice PIE self-evaluation based upon what kind of student we thought we were during the second-half of sixth grade.
…were reminded that tomorrow will be our first SSR/W day, an entire class period devoted to us reading and/or writing what WE want to read and/or write. With only a few exceptions, this will happen every Thursday. We can choose to read a book we bring with us, check one out from the LMC or MrM’s library, read a magazine from the magazine table at the side of the room, or read a local newspaper. It is also possible for us to write in our journals.

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