Sunday, August 23, 2009

This Year I will be more interactive

I have written a few blog entries, but not consistently. I want to join the large community of interactive educators out there. What are your hopes and fears for this school year? What would you like to talk about?

For me, I'm hoping to find ways to organize technology and websites- for myself and for my school. How can we recommend things to students? How can they recommend things to us (maybe more important!).

How can I sort through all the things I receive on Twitter so I can choose things to meet my needs? I'm thinking about starring things daily for future reference, and then 1x per week looking them up and sending out the best ones for school and friends. How do others do it?

Best wishes to everyone beginning another journey in schools. Let us know the highs and lows!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

The End of the School Year- exciting and disappointing

May is crazy in schools, and ours is maybe even extra crazy. Most of my student's projects were year-long, so they are trying to finish up almost all of their school projects in 2 weeks! Plus I need to write 3 senior Special Ed "out-take" reports, lots of progress reports, print up transcripts, do ending rubrics, etc. etc.

I am sad that lots of my hoped-for changes didn't occur. I wanted to be more free from timelogs, more outcome-based, with students that were able to demonstrate their progress in all sorts of new ways. I had hoped they would be using Write Online for help with spelling and organizing, with hints from me in Wordbars. I had hoped the seniors would be pretty well done instead of ....hopeful but fairly far from the end of their schooling.

However, I am happy that we tried some new things, and that many students progressed in all sorts of ways, from social, to speaking in front of groups, to improving in reading, writing and math. Just surviving the school year is an accomplishment, and our spring celebration went great!

I hope all of you had some great things happen as well!

Friday, April 10, 2009

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The Student-led continuum

I have been on many places of the student-led continuum (where students do various amounts of leading their own education) in my teaching career.

I started in a traditional school , making lesson plans that were supposedly tailored to my students (I teach special ed- I get to do that, or at least try to).

Then I "unschooled" my own children, trying NOT to make plans but following their lead.

Now I work in a "project-based" school, where I try to help students come up with projects that are part their interest and part the State Standards.

It has been a very confusing journey, and I can see good and bad things about each point on the continuum. Sometimes teacher-led lessons seemed very effective and helpful, but sometimes they brought about rebellion or fear. Following student's interests sometimes had them bored and restless, wanting more input and/or friends and activities. But sometimes they were happy as clams, busily play/working all day on their current interests and passions. The current effort to design projects around state standards (or vice versa) can bring kids to new heights, but also lead to dissatisfaction and boredom.

I guess it's all exploration. And whatever the results, I hope it benefits the students I work with. So far, so good :)