Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The First Day 2013

Things I missed today as school started:  The teachers I taught with last year.  But I get to work with lots of wonderful teachers at new (to me) schools.

Things I did not miss today:
First day jitters
Lack of sleep the night before
Teaching procedures and rules and then more procedures and rules...
Announcements interrupting my teaching
Recess/bus/hall duty
Kids (I enjoyed seeing them in the halls and classrooms I entered)
Paperwork to go home
Figuring out who goes where at the end of the day and getting them there

I think I'm going to do just fine with not having my own class.  :)   I'm really enjoying my new job so far even though I still have lots to learn and it is stressful, it's a different kind of stress and I will learn it and even be good at it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Day of School

Lettering from
Tomorrow is the first day of school here.  It's going to be interesting to see how I handle not having my own class.  So far I'm rather enjoying it.  There's probably an equal amount of stress, but it feels like a different kind of stress.  The complete pressure to work miracles with students is off, and I can tell.  That's been replaced with the stress of trying to support the teachers at my schools as they go through those pressures.

To all of you out there who have already started or are starting soon, I wish you a wonderful new year filled with the joys of learning and childhood.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Teacher Week: Now Teach! Organizing for Instruction


Here are some organizational tips for teaching with technology.

1.  If you use mobile devices, change the lock screen or wall paper or both to show a number or name for each device.  On my teacher devices I also add my name, e-mail address and phone number on the lock screen.  Then if I lose it and an honest person finds it, they can still contact me even though the iPad is locked.

2.  On IOS devices, if you want a student to stay in a specific app, turn on restricted access in your setting->general menu.  Make sure to remember the password you set.  Then get the student into the app you want them to stay in.  Click the home button (the button with the square on it) three times and tell it to start restricted access.  The student won't be able to exit the app until you click the home button 3 times and put in the password you set.  This can also be used to restrict students from touching on certain parts of the screen (such as links to the internet).  I'll write a post on that another time.

3.  When planning to use technology for project based learning, it is always a good idea to help your students plan ahead before they use the technology.  For example, last year I taught my first graders to use this wonderful app called Tiny Tap.  I took several steps to help them be successful in creating their own tiny tap apps.  First, I showed them Tiny Tap and we looked at all the options and possibilities.  Then, we built a class version of a Tiny Tap app so they could see how it worked.  Next, we went to the non-tech portion.  I explained the parameters of the assignment:  they were to create their own app that had at least 5 different questions that reviewed something they learned in first grade (it was the end of the year).  After that, I modeled how to write a storyboard.  The students basically had to draw what they planned to put on the screen.  Students had to show me their storyboards with their plans before they got their hands on the devices.  They were very successful in building some great apps.  Many of them chose to add more questions to their apps once they finished the original 5 just because they liked it so much.  Finally, we rotated around the room and each child got to play every other child's game.  This can be done with almost any visual project you use with technology.

4.  Dropbox is the best thing ever.  If you don't have it and you work with mobile devices you should get it and learn to use it as soon as possible.  It's the easiest way I know to get things on and off of my iPad.

I'm sure there's a lot of other tech organizational ideas.  My brain is fried now after two days at my new job, so I'm going to stop there.  I hope this is helpful to at least some of you.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teacher Week: Classroom Digs

Today I have no pictures to share.  Why?  Because I really don't have a classroom.  I have 4 computer labs and help out in many different classrooms.  This is a new thing for me, and I have to say, I kind of enjoy not having to prepare my room.  Of course, now I have to prepare two whole schools with their technology, but that's different.

Today was my first official day as a School Technology Specialist.  I'm very excited to learn new things and to help the teachers and students of my schools out.  So far, my biggest challenges have been all the stuff I don't know, and keeping track of everything that needs done.  Oh, and also I've managed to get lost probably 50 times today.

Since my instructional plan isn't quite all the way in place, I think tomorrow I'll just give out some ideas on ways I used to keep myself organized.  Or I might skip posting if I'm too braindead after Day Two of The New Job.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week: Let's Talk About Me

Hello friends,

I'm going to see if I can manage to post this week despite it being my first week at a new job.  Here goes:

1.  I play English Handbells in my church's bell choir.  I like to play 4 in hand, which actually means holding 2 bells in each hand.  I hope the embedded video below works.  I haven't tried this before.

2. I have a goal to visit all 50 states.  I'm over half way there.  This summer I added Oregon to my list of states visited.  I saw every lighthouse in Oregon while I was there.
Coquille River Lighthouse, Bandon, Oregon
3.  I used to be a big sci fi/fantasy geek, but not so much any more.  My favorites were: Star Trek, Star Wars, Quantum Leap, Highlander, anything written by Anne McCaffrey, Lord of the Rings...and I'll just stop there.

4.  Before I became a teacher I worked as a sign language interpreter.  My signing skills have gone downhill due to disuse.  It's such a beautiful language, I miss it.  Here's a video I found that has some nice signing.

5. I have a cat named Katie who is 16 years old.  Her favorite thing in the world is a pizza box.  Every time I get pizza I have to leave the empty pizza box laying on the floor for her to enjoy.
Katie on her pizza box.

6. Although I've lived in Utah almost my entire life, I have never gone skiing.  When I was young and reckless I was too poor.  Now I'm too scared I'd break something.  Besides that, I don't like being in the cold that long.

7.  I have a teacher website that is in transition as I've changed jobs.  There might be some helpful links, especially for early grade teachers.  Here's the link:

8.  Though I have no kids of my own, I have several nephews and nieces.  Some are all grown up, but there are a few young ones still around.  The youngest enters first grade this year.  

9.  This one kind of goes with #8.  I am happily single.  I enjoy it most of the time.  The worst is when something breaks and I can't fix it myself.

10.  I finally got to 10!  I can't believe how hard this seemed to be.  Maybe I'm just boring.  LOL  I have met many online friends from around the world in real life.  I think it's safe to say that I'm not an axe murderer and I haven't met any yet.  The people I met that were farthest from me came to Salt Lake from Sweden.  It was great fun taking them around and they especially loved the real cowboys they saw while they were here.

Tomorrow's supposed to be a classroom tour, but I don't have a classroom any more.  If I remember and have time tomorrow, I'll try and get a picture of a computer lab or my office, but even that's not quite ready to go yet, so it won't be anything exciting.  I might just skip it.  We'll see.

Yay!  I actually posted something!