Thursday, August 21, 2014

The first weeks and Kindie Highlights

We are ending the first complete week of school with students. I love this time of year... once I am finally finished mourning the loss of my summer, sleeping in, and morning workouts. The start of the school year to me is a time when there are endless possibilities, and that is so exciting. I love allowing the creative, dreamy side of my brain to wonder and think of new ways to improve, create, and innovate.

 My very first week with students is spent repeating the expectations and guidelines for the class. This is also known as my stand up comedy routine; because I always try to balance laughter with the serious. 

Now that I am finally rounding out to seeing classes for the 2nd week, we are starting to get to the learning. I was super excited to have kindergarten this morning. I start the year talking about different vocabulary such as monitor, cpu, keyboard, mouse, laptop, desktop. We compare laptops and desktops, identify the different parts and then... We make a laptop out of paper. It is a great way for them to start understanding the parts, and I get to see how their brains work. Some put lots of detail, almost always is there a picture of their favorite computer activity on the screen, and some design new parts. Today I had a student design a trash button, another shortcut keys to favorite games, and another reminded us all that computers all have a power button. Its a fun little activity. Its a great way to use the vocabulary, and best of all- I get to go from table to table and create with kids. Having those little moments to bond and chat with kiddos is a definite perk to the job.

 Below is my half- made laptop and an example of our first activity from the first day of Tech. We take pictures on photobooth. It helps me to learn names and faces, and its a great mommento for parents as a picture from their first days of school. I didn't realize how much this meant to parents until last year. A  child in kindergarten was having a really rough time adjusting to school. She cried everyday. We were all giggling and laughing and making silly faces with a camera and she joined right in. I print them all and hand them out in week 2 of class. She took it home and the next day her mom thanked me and had tears in her eyes. It was the first time her kindie came home excited and proud of something she did at school. Its a good reminder that one little thing can be so big to someone else. I hope your first days of school are full of excitement, possibilities, and lots of laughter.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why don't you teach in a lab?

For the longest time, I have felt the need to talk/type on a few topics. Its just taken me a while to find a way to say it all. So here it goes- the first post to a blog I have owned for years. 

My current job is a wearing of lots of hats, and I love that. Switching gears all day and being involved in several different things makes the days go quickly. The primary job I was hired for, was teaching. Over the years that has moved from a classroom teacher to a  Technology teacher.  I am the first Tech teacher at my school, and I have been able to adapt and change as I go.  The school is short on room, so I have had 2 carts full of macbooks that I take to classrooms to teach for the last 5 years.  Everyday I pack up my backpack, and push two carts down the hall to classrooms. This year, I have the luxury of having 1:1 students in grades 8,7,6,5,4,3 and 1 class in 2nd grade so the 200 pound cart parade happens less than it has in the past; but its still me and my backpack every day. 

I get asked quite often "Why don't you teach in a lab?" 

First off, yes- we have one of those, and I do teach in there for 1 period a day. However, the class I am in there with have 1:1 devices, so I am only using the space not the machines.  That feels a little like a waste of resource; but my middle school Tech classes are anywhere from 32-37 students. A regular classroom just doesn't fit us. We were in the library and were relocated. 

Here's a few of the reasons why I love roaming the school. 

My job before full time teaching was roaming an entire 120 bed hospital with a phone and keys. I served every department in the hospital. Going to the teaching world and being in one box all day, was really hard.  Moving to the Tech job and getting to roam and just have an office was great. Plus, I get far more steps in a day by moving around than being in one place. 

I love not being responsible for a classroom.  You don't realize how much comes with having walls to decorate and a room maintain until you don't have to do that anymore. 

Going into Elementary classrooms means that classroom teachers have already sorted students. Location in a classroom is key to what you can accomplish. Classroom teachers have taken a lot of the guesswork our of things for me by having name tags on desks and student seating arrangements done. Student needs such as preferential seating is also done.  Most of my classes also have behavior systems such as cards, which means I can use their behavior system and the consequence is quickly taken care of because they are in the room. 

Teachers usually stay in their classrooms to work during my class. That means I have the chance to check in with them to see what they need. I get to see what they are working on and tie that into tech time. AND It shows them that technology can happen in their classroom. I am with their students in their environment, so it shows how possible 21st century learning is with their students. 

I am more connected to the teachers I serve because I am in their environment. 

Don't get me wrong, I could be saving a lot of set up and clean up time by being in one spot. I also know a lot of super amazing Tech teachers who have a lab environment. 

My final thoughts, I love what I do; and I love not having a classroom.