August 1 has always signaled the end of summer for me as a teacher. It’s when I really started putting in a lot of hours in my classroom, creating new lessons, etc. Basically, putting together all the cool things that I’d learned about over the summer while I was ‘on break.’
This summer was much different. I found a good balance between work and play time with my boys. June, my team of tech coaches and I ran a Technology Coach Seminar course for any interested high school students. It was a blended course and they could attend help sessions if they needed them or they could choose to work at home. The students were required to become proficient users of Google Apps products, create and use tools such as social bookmarking, advanced searching, discussion boards, wikis, blogs, screencast software, and other web tools that they might have chosen. Students had to create a tutorial in whatever fashion they wanted that would walk a person (like grandma) through setting up a social bookmarking account and why you would use it or a wiki, etc. Each project they completed needed a tutorial to go with it. Students also built e-portfolios and reflected on their work.
The objective of this course was to create high school Help Desk trainers for our high school. We knew we needed more than the four Tech Coaches and the four IT guys to keep the district running and make sure that 2400 Chromebooks were functional and being utilized. Some of our students really excelled with the online learning and some found it wasn’t for them yet. Our Help Desk students are now ‘certified’ by us to train other students, go into classrooms and help the teachers with the technology, and do some of the basic troubleshooting or maintenance on the Chromebooks. We have two retired teachers who will supervise the Help Desk, while the Tech Coaches are out and about. I’m pretty excited to see these students flourish and continue to add to their portfolios.
The summer also saw me spending an abundance of time working with the Common Core math curriculum. The math scores in our district need a boost and the staff were asking for new strategies and resources. I took a lot of time and built a website for the staff with lesson plans, resources, interactive games & manipulations that are all tied to each individual common core standard for K-8. I wasn’t what you would call a “math” person before doing all of this work, but I fell in love with the CC math curriculum and the resources I was finding. I haven’t released it to the district yet, mainly because I’m nervous about what people are going to think. Lame. Yes, I know. The few staff members that I have shared it with are loving it and have told me that I need to sell it. Anyone know how I can do this? 🙂
August 1 this year found me at EdCamp Oshkosh. #Oshedcamp. Thanks to the Oshkosh staff members Lexi Ballweg (@lexiballweg), Kristi Levy (@KristiLevy), Jeff See (@JeffreyASee), and Nicholas Levy for making that such a great experience for me! It was my first EdCamp and I was happy to be having wonderful conversation with people who really wanted to be there and who wanted to drive their own learning and professional development. If you have a chance, don’t just go to an EdCamp, RUN there.
This next month will see a lot of changes in my department. We’re in the midst of re-structuring or re-organizing our ISC (instructional support center), our director of curriculum will change due to a retirement (We’ll miss you John! and Welcome Danica!), and we have 2400 Chromebooks being distributed in the next month. Over the next few weeks, my team will be working with administrators by themselves to help them learn more technology; we’ll be holding technology PD sessions on Google Apps, Flipping the Classroom, SMARTboards, Haiku training, and even a Tech Unconference. We’re finalizing our registration day plans for the high school as well as our Chromebook roll-out in September.
My goal and I’m posting it publicly is to blog twice a week. After being at EdCamp Oshkosh, I know that I have a lot to say and I know a lot more than I thought I did. So keep watching for new posts!
On a personal note, I will also be blogging about my personal life. Why? Because I want to keep a record of my boys. They are four and two and crazy. I never knew the things that would come out of my mouth as the mother of two boys. I will also be blogging about freezer meals (I’m a once a month cook), whole foods cooking, and gardening.