Reflections of Blending English and Technology in the Classroom

Archive for August 2010

She Will Be Famous, I Can Feel It…

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The freshmen continue to awe and inspire me as the days click on at BCLUW High School. One of my students brought in an imovie yesterday that I must share with all of you. She found a karaoke version of her favorite song and laid the track in garage band. She then recorded herself singing a harmonized version and shared it to imovie where she added pictures inspired by the lyrics. This was all done on her mac, no special microphone or application. As she played her music to the class it brought a tear to my eye, her fellow classmates beamed with pride, and I witnessed yet again the powerful impact of providing a tool to a student that otherwise wouldn’t have one.

I Introduce to you Kelsey singing “Almost Lover” and I promise, this is her voice on both parts, get ready to be amazed!

Written by sfarnsworth

August 31, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Pleasant Surprise

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Tuesday marked the beginning of my sprint, not literally, but metaphorically. Along with introducing high school to the freshmen, I now was in a race to catch them up with all of the essential skills needed to manipulate their new classroom tool – the laptop. I started off basic – photobooth, to ichat, to transferring documents. That is where I lost them. By the end of my first freshmen class, I was frazzled; half of the students had the rules I transferred, and half were still trying to figure out how to access their downloads. At the end of the day I was exhausted, even after the extra help that showed up in my other two freshmen classes (some of the seniors I recruited who had study hall). I smiled, the only thing I could do to keep from crying, and realized how little the freshmen actually knew about technology. Sure, they all used it everyday, but they used technology to listen to music, facebook their friends, or search the internet. I had a lot to teach them to maximize the learning for the rest of the year. Wednesday started, and in bounced the freshmen, excited to come to class, eagerly unpacking their laptops. Today we would move to organization and manipulating a Pages document. I was about to begin the lesson when a student raised his hand and asked to share an i-movie he created the night before. Shocked, because we hadn’t even touched upon that application yet, I agreed and sat back as he hooked up his computer to the projector.

Wednesday I left with a smile and a new inspiration for a post!

Written by sfarnsworth

August 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Posted in 1:1 School, Students

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Last week I started following and connecting with enpsteacher on Twitter. Reflection on an interaction we had has led to the post you are now reading. We were discussing how to assess student creativity on assignments/projects with thenerdyteacher when enpsteacher suggested a category on a student rubric labeled as “go all out” . This “go all out” category would be difficult to assess yes, but aren’t most of the things we grade subjective? #GOALLOUT began morphing into more than just a measure of creativity on a rubric and at the end of the exchange  we decided to adopt the slogan as our motto for the year. #GOALLOUT would be the focus for teachers, students, and administrators – producing the most effective year ever on record. Although it may have originally been amusing and unintentional, I have decided to adopt this for my focus. I promise to #goallout this year – for my students and myself. I am willing to put in the hard work because I know success and effective, engaging teaching will not fall into my lap. It is not easy to be an exceptional teacher, or else everyone would be one. I do not want to be remembered by my students as a mediocre teacher, I want to be remembered as someone who has influenced their lives and made them thirst for knowledge. It is with this thirst that I will make little differences and send them out into the world to make big ones. I will be prepared, I will challenge thinking, I will engage students, and I will demand greatness. I realize that this is the only 2010-2011 school year my students will have in their lives. I will not take the easy way out and slide by with poor lessons or useless assignments; nor will I allow my students to coast through the year and end up in the same place they began. This year I will #GOALLOUT – will you?

Written by sfarnsworth

August 23, 2010 at 2:52 am