#SatChat: Time to Adjust my Listening Skills

Ah, two Saturday’s ago I was awake and in learning mode rather early so I jumped into a Twitter #satchat, a fantastic learning and networking opportunity each and every Saturday.   The topic was based upon student listening skills and how we teach those skills.

I had to admit that I do not formally teach those skills in my class, I emphasize them throughout lessons, but do not actually  formally assess student listening.  As I thought more about the topic, I also realize that I need to improve upon my listening skills, in class and real world.

Often, especially in the classroom, I am multitasking as students are asking questions.  This prevents me from giving my full attention to the student which is not only impolite, but it may cause miscommunication between those involved in the conversation.  I am making a concerted effort to address this ASAP.  Modeling skills we want students to use in our classroom is key, if we cannot meet the expectations we ask of our students, WHY should they.

Some other take aways I will implement in my classes are exit questions and peer to peer review time either at end or very beginning of my classes.  This will allow students to reflect with a classmate and practice listening skills while reviewing course content.  To keep this from being a full fledged chat and gossip session, I will have to float about the room and engage the students, which IS MY JOB.  A quick student reply/summary of their peer to peer would allow for students to earn points for their efforts and hopefully give me insight to content with which they are comfortable or need further assistance.

I will post further as this endeavor moves forward.

In the meantime, if you get the chance and are awake by 7:30 AM on a Saturday, check out #Satchat.

#satchat March 5 2015

It has been a long time since I participated in a Saturday morning educational Twitter chat, called #satchat.  I thoroughly enjoyed today’s on Digital Citizenship, I archived most of it via Storify.com. The hashtag #satchat was either continued or highjacked after our conversation, so I had to manually create the Storify today.  It took almost 2 hours of work on my part…from now on, I will create my Storifys as the #satchat ends.

 

Storify from EdCampPGH November 7 2015

EdCampPGH is a free “Unconference” where educational stakeholders gather to discuss how to improve education and share ideas.  Below is a Storify of Tweets from EdCampPGH.

 

PAECT Radio: Member Showcase Rachelle P

Last night we interviewed Rachelle Poth, PAECT member and foreign language teacher at Riverview School District.  You can access the show recording here.

This is the Storify of our Twitterfeed from last night.

 

Admittedly, we have not had a lot of Tweets, but we will continue moving forward.  It will catch on.

 

School Year 2014/2015

Well, the current school year of 2013/2014 is coming to a close…as of Thursday, June 5, 2014, my students are sone for the year. Before the end of the year we started having what was called “Step-up Day” where students would go around with their next year’s schedules and meet their teachers for the upcoming year. We are a smaller school, so most of the high school students and teachers can at least recognize each other on site if not know each other already. The big introduction comes from the Eighth Graders who come up from the middle school. This year due to a myriad of issues, there will be no “Step-up Day.”

I will have two Ninth Grade Honors Civics Classes next year. The transition from 8th to 9th Grade is a tough one for some students; add to that jumping in to an honors course AND the non-traditional structure of my course…it can take a bit of time for them to adjust. To combat the changes I have already set up my Edmodo classroom for the Honors Classes and emailed the code to their 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher. Students will not be given mandatory summer assignments, but will have the opportunity to voluntarily check out resources and items that will be posted over the summer.

Those who participate will receive badges, or some sort of fun reward for taking the time out of their summer to peruse the Edmodo group. The direct benefit for them will be that they will be comfortable with the online classroom and resources before the school year even starts. Hopefully they, and their parents, will also be comfortable enough to communicate and ask any questions that may arise during the upcoming year. My goal is to make them more prepared for the challenges they will be facing next year and beyond…(sorry Buzz Lightyear, I could not resist stealing your line.)

It has been less than 24 hours since the students have had the Edmodo join code and 4 students have already joined the group. They will be greeted with a typed message and two Touchcast videos from yours truly, but that is another post…

Class Expectations 2012

Hello, my name is Mr. Salvucci, most students call me Mr. Sal. I teach high school social studies, specifically Honors Civics, World Cultures, and Econ/POD. I am looking forward to a productive year with all of my classes. I have a number of expectations for my classes and students this year. My main academic focus is to be able to engage the students in the learning process and motivate them to participate beyond basic levels. The students will hopefully be able to go out and apply what they learn in class in the real world and contribute to society in a positive way. As for expectations with technology, the goal is for the students to be comfortable and confident with the tools we use. I am hoping they can become student leaders in the effort to create a wider usage of the tools throughout the district. These actions would also tie into the curriculum expectations.

The expectations for the course curriculum are rooted in my hope to get students involved beyond the classroom. I hope to get them participating in such projects as the model United Nations and voter interviews at the polls. Other activities such as students learning about the community and government through primary resources and first person experiences. Hopefully these activities will allow then to remember and understand key concepts beyond the classroom assessments.

My technology expectations revolve around the students becoming comfortable with the classroom tools, so much so that they become mentors to both students and staff when it comes to technology. This level of competence also allows the students to not view the tools as novelties, but as objects as common as pencils once were. This is important so they can focus on the concepts to be learned instead of the technology we will be using to learn the curriculum.

Time will tell if these expectations can be met. Throughout the year I hope to reflect back and keep readers updated on the students’ progress.

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Orientation 2012/2013

Once again, school has started at NBHS and we are getting into the groove of the year.  This year I have 3 senior Econ/POD/Psych/Soc classes, 1 World Cultures Class, and 2 Honors Civics Classes.  The grades in order listed are 12th, 10th, and 9th.  I run a basic orientation every year to introduce the students to the tools we use in class, such as Edmodo, Edublogs, and the iPods and iPads.  Over the years I have scaled back what I introduce to the students, some of the items introduced were rarely used, or used so much later in the year students had to relearn how to use them, no need to mention them here.

This year is nice, orientation is moving much more quickly, almost all of my seniors already use the tools that were introduced, a few need to learn Edublogs, but have used Edmodo, my are similar.  All of them used Edmodo last year, but need to learn Edublogs.  A few of my freshmen have used Edmodo in the past, but none have seen Edublogs yet.  Almost all of my students, if not all, have read or written blog posts, so they understand the basic concepts, they just need to see the specifics of Edublogs.  Every one of my students has had experience with some sort of mobile device, specifically iPods or iPads, possibly just not in a learning situation.  The students familiarity with these tools makes my job so much easier. No longer do we need to start at square one and move forward, most students have some experience and they willingly mentor those students who may need assistance.  This frees me up to troubleshoot issues like resetting passwords, reconnecting devices to the Internet, or working with students who need a lot of assistance.

Three days into class and all but one of my classes have logged in to Edmodo and field tested the iPods with Edmodo, along with the new Edmodo interface that will soon be released to the public.  The only class that did not log in will do so on Tuesday, we hd abbreviated periods due to a pep rally schedule.  We had a few hiccups and bumps in the road, which is par for the course when using technology.  Fortunately we turned all of them into learning situations, with students helping each other out, mentoring others, and even helping me troubleshoot and test different workarounds to the issues.  The most important lesson students learned was patience and not to stress if things go awry, I emphasize the fact that if things don’t work as planned, we adjust and move on without penalty.

At the end of the day, only about 4 students had to use one of the laptop computers to access Edmodo and complete the assigned tasks.  if we would have had more time, or preferably block scheduling, I could have kept those students on the iPods and worked out a solution to the log in issues. If time was not short, I also could have had the students start on their blogs.  The biggest consumer of time today was the handing out and collecting the iPods from the students.  Most of my classes are 20+ in student numbers, it takes time to hand out the devices and collect them with the system in place, manually handing out the devices and students initially a sheet of paper.  The good news is that it took under 10 minutes to hand out and collect devices in each class, and history has proven that the time improves as the year goes on and we all become more familiar with the process.

Next week we jump into Edublogs and students start writing posts about course expectations, then we move into the course curriculum.  The students’ familiarity with 21st Century tools and skills as enabled us to move forward at a faster pace into the purpose of the courses, the actual curriculum.