My students researched megaliths last week. It was fun talking about the different ideas as to why the megaliths were formed and where they came from. My principal walked by and suggested aliens!However....the most fun thing was that they created them out of rice krispie treats! I'm always watching those cake decorating shows and I figured...hey! If they can make just about anything for a cake out of rice krispie treats...so can we! They were able to create a modern version of the megalith and answer various questions to present to the class. One group created Stonehenge and the other group created Ale's stones. They had a rubric to guide them so I could grade them objectively. It was fun!
Pastelink is the new dropbox. I'll admit - I love dropbox! It's easy to share files with students or have them share files with me. But there is something easier out there! It's Pastelink. To use it, just drag a file from your desktop to the Pastelink website. The website then generates a URL that you can share through your favorite social networks or through email. You can send files up to 25MB in size without creating an account on Pastelink. If you register for a free account you can send files up to 2GB in size. I love it! No more flashdrives :) Well...unless the internet goes down!
My heart goes out to new teachers. I remember those days of thinking to myself: "what in the world am I doing?" I was teaching Spanish I in Texas and I had mixed classes of students who had been speaking Spanish their whole lives and some who weren't really for sure what an enchilada was or how to say it. It was interesting! Here are some tips for you new teachers to help you with your first month of teaching.
1. Always write your lesson plans for the week in pencil (remember that you should always be reflecting as to how your students are learning to speed up or slow down the course). Always sign up for the computer lab in pen. *Try to sign up for the computer lab at least a week early.
2. Determine in the beginning of the year which rules you really want to never be broken and stick to your guns. I do not let students talk negatively about anyone in my class or say unprofessional words and I don't like tardies. These are very important to me. Students need stability. They don't do well when you change the rules in the middle of the game.
3. Don't try to grade every single thing students put their names on. Figure out a system in which they can peer edit or assign a completion grade to some things.
4. Always stay positive and try to find other positive teachers. You'll find the negative nellies pretty soon. Avoid those.
5. If there is another teacher that teaches the same subject as you, try to do everything the same. Don't risk being compared.
6. The first thing my mother-in-law taught me was the school secretary is your best friend. Bring her/him cookies or appreciation gifts. They really run the school and if they don't like you....well, just avoid that.
7. Don't procrastinate! Do as much as you can in advance.
8. Be real and authentic with students. They can always smell a fake. I also try to treat them with respect like I would like to be treated as. I never call them "kids."
9. Learn technology. With the changing times, you just can't afford to teach like your grandma did. You'll lose your job.
10. Find a great blog (like this one!) to read that will encourage you and teach you new things. However: only try one new thing at a time!
This past week we have been talking about Old and New Kingdom Egypt. Since we are at a private school, the students always really enjoy learning about different religions and the way religion evolved throughout humanity. What better way to discuss Egyptian religion than to talk about mummies and their after-life? I could have given them a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation on how mummies were created and why they were created....or I could let them do it themselves! You know me....I decided to let them do it and make it a research project. They had to research the different steps to mummification, how the organs were preserved, what natron was, what the beliefs on the after-life were and how amulets were used in the process. Then, they had to depict mummification to the class using a doll and other house-hold objects I had around the house and the classroom and write in hieroglyphics on the canoptic jars. They LOVED it! It was definitely out of the box and something they won't be forgetting soon! Along with the project, I included a rubric on how they would be graded and they had to write an essay about the religion of Egypt after they finished their mummification. What do you think? Kathleen
Mobento is a great site I stumbled upon to find videos for the classroom. I use short videos alot for homework and classroom activities. I find that with this media filled generation that we are teaching, short videos can get the message across so much better than I can! While I love getting them to make their own videos to share with the class...sometimes it is just quicker to find something of quality and put it on the class website. Mobento is different because it allows you to search videos for spoken words in a particular video. AND...Mobento not only tells you which videos have specific words spoken in them, it will also show you a timeline of where in the video your specified words are spoken. Yes! How do you use video clips in your classroom? Kathleen
Last week Google released new maps for Brazil and Mexico! This includes streetview for 30 Mesoamerican archeological sites. I'm so excited because in my world history class we are beginning to talk about Mesoamerican peoples (the Olmec) this next week. Here is a website to introduce you to using Google Earth in the classroom if you are not familiar with that application. If you haven't considered using this fabulous website, I encourage you to! There are no limits on subject, curriculum or lesson topic. by Kathleen
My students in World History talked about early human migration last week. I wanted them to be able to do some research and then show me how they learned about early human travel. What did I think of? M&Ms, of course! They tracked the different people groups with different color M&Ms and created a Stopmotion using the cellphone app Imotion. It was so easy - just take multiple pictures using your cell phone and the app puts them together in a video. You could do this with so, so, so many things! Just get students to take pictures and put them together! Check it out! Kathleen
I had such a great time at professional development today! Since I am reviewing tomorrow for our first unit test, it was super helpful! To recap, we talked about:
1) new & good - getting your students to have a dialogue about what is new and good in their lives or what they learned in that particular unit that was cool. I like to have regular classroom meetings where students can give me feedback on how they are learning and what activities are working or not working.
2) Some of our new & goods: charades, Stu,Pu,Hu, Decide Which Side, bead bracelets, and alphabet activities. I loved them all! I wish I could make myself a bead bracelet to remind myself of all the things I need to do in a day!
3) Figure it out: It was fun trying to figure out new review games for the clip art on the table. There were some great ideas for the red tickets! I think I will try some tomorrow. Also, the beach ball ideas of whichever color your thumb lands on dictates what color activity or question you do is really creative. The badminton birdie toss is something I like to try to get them out of their seats and when you allow them to create the games and determine what information is useful and needed, you use higher ordered thinking. Finally, the cell phone idea was for www.zoho.com where you can take an online timed quiz. Check out my world history website under quizzes in the Assignments tab if you want to see an example! www.worldhistoryde.weebly.com. We also learned about the buzzer app that students can buzz in with during a review game. (Bang! Buzzer app) I always let them use kazoos but it can be kindof crazy!
4) Splat - an awesome game using fly swatters on the dry erase board. That was super fun! I loved seeing the competitive side of teachers come out! I know it would be that much more fun with students who are SUPER competitive. Such an awesome idea!
5) Rocky Road - it was nice to be able to talk about what frustrated me the first week and get positive feedback from my group members.
I love professional development! I always learn so much from other teachers and am encouraged to always do my best in everything. Thanks guys!
If you know me & have been around me for very long, you know that I love the idea of the flipped classroom. I think it is amazing when students own their learning and we serve as facilitators. A tool I heard about this week is called: Knowmia! Knowmia is a new service that has gotten a lot of press this week. The site was started by the same people who brought us the Flip camera.
Knowmia is a iPad app and a website for viewing, creating and sharing video lessons. The website houses a collection of videos made by teachers for students. Right now there are about 7,000 videos.
The Knowmia iPad app is an app for creating your own whiteboard videos. I read that the app has far more creation options than the similar Showme and Educreations apps. You can draw free-hand on the whiteboard screen or insert pre-made shapes. You can also use pictures and video clips in your video lesson.
This week in our video challenge, we talk about using cell phones in the classroom to allow students to create their own flipped classroom videos to study later on in the curriculum. This also can assess their knowledge in a less conventional way than a quiz or a closure activity. Unfortunately Knowmia does not have a student section yet but hopefully they will soon!
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