Wakelet Student Ambassador First Badge: Curation All About Me

Okay everyone, the first badge we will be working on is Curation:  All About Me.  I am posting the assignment in Wakelet, the link is below.  I will also post the directions in the email I send out and here on my blog…redundancy is cool…no matter what others say.  I want to make sure everyone that wants to see this information has access to it.

Here are the written directions for the assignment:

Step One:  

Create an account in Wakelet if you have not done so already.  Email me your username.

Step Two:  Here are the instructions for you!

  • Create a collection about yourself with at least 15 items included. Please make sure you set your Wakelet to Private or Unlisted.
  • Showcase talents, favorite things, and hobbies.  (School Appropriate.) Use images, links, word art, draw images, snap a pic and upload, be creative.
  • Share a place you would like to live or visit. (Once again, share a or image.
  • THIS IS IMPORTANT, MAKE SURE YOU USE GOOGLE ADVANCED IMAGE SEARCH to look up photos.  There is a link below. Choose the Usage Rights option “Free to Use or Share.

Step Three:

Share your collection with Mr. Sal and another student, they do not need to be participating in this assignment.

Step Four:

Turn In the link to your collect with Mr. Sal via email.

Here is the Wakelet:

 

 

The Grand Experiment

So, during this quarantine I have been doing work for school, attending virtual staff meetings, working on family crafts, reading books, watching movies and shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and getting outside when the weather allows..  Today I came across an offer for THREE MONTHS OF FREE GUITAR LESSONS, I happened across this on Social Distortion’s Instagram page.  I will chronicle my travails here, please do not judge…I do not play well, but I play LOUD!  Self taught to play loud…now I will try to play well.  Stay tuned…we’ll see if I can even tune my guitar…

 

This post is currently under construction.

Wakelet Student Ambassador Create an Account

So…here is the first step to the Wakelet Student Ambassador Extra Credit Assignment.  Just create an account, I also encourage you play around on the site and see what you can do with Wakelet.  The detailed instructions are on the embedded video below.

For those of you who do not want to watch the video, here are the instructions:  Go to Wakelet.com and click on “Sign Up It’s Free” and create an account.  I suggest using your school Google Account to do this.  Once you have done this, email me with your username, so I can keep track who is who.  Lastly, play around on the site and see what it does, studies on learning indicate that people learn more by experimenting and looking around on their own before being handed a set of instructions.

PLEASE DO NOT WORRY, instructions on how to use Wakelet and a brief video tutorial will be sent out tomorrow, along with the assignment for the first badge.

In the mean time…take care.

Wakelet Student Ambassador Optional Extra Credit

Hello, this is an optional extra credit assignment for my students.  The video below gives them a general overview of the assignment.  I will give them specific details later on each task.  Those details will be posted here on my blog as we move forward.

 

My ISTE Certification Intentions

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ISTE Certification: The Beginning of a Journey

Earlier this year an opportunity arose for me to take a course and attempt to become an ISTE Certified Educator. The decision to make the attempt and become certified was not an easy one. Considerations that I needed to address included impact on family, cost, time to complete the certification, timing of the course, school district approval to get out for the training, and other smaller considerations.

It took some time and a good bit of self reflection to clarify details, organize resources, discuss the available opportunity, and eventually make the final decision to take the leap and attempt to become certified. I will not go into the specifics of working through all of these considerations in this post, I will just say that they were resolved in a positive fashion.

The process consisted of two days of face to face training, with nine more weeks of online coursework, then we have approximately six months to create an ePortfolio of evidence to be evaluated to achieve our certification. This ePortfolio will be discussed later.

As of yesterday, November 8, 2019, I completed the two day face to face training. It was intense, but well paced, with plenty of opportunity to reflect on how all of the information fits into my classroom.

I am currently in a cohort with sixteen other educators, many of whom I already know through PAECT. This familiarity helped me settle into the course and remove some of the jitters that arise every time I take a new course in my professional development journey. The educators that I did not previously know are welcome additions to my PLN and I look forward to working with them.

There was one major consideration that I have not mentioned until now and it is the elephant lingering in my subconscious…what if I fail to achieve my goal?

Even after I worked through all of the other considerations and was in a position to take the course, this thought hovered just below the surface in my mind. I believe I am a good teacher and already implement many of the ISTE Standards in my classroom, but having a total stranger judge my efforts was an entirely different level of evaluation. The concept of one evaluation to assess my entire effort is a bit overwhelming. That being said, I have no choice but to work within those stated parameters.

Individuals are to submit an ePortfolio of artifacts to show how we meet the standards, our evaluators will not know us, nor will they be able to infer any other information about us. Our portfolios will exist in isolation with only our submitted artifacts as evidence. There is no opportunity to clarify, rebut, or add to the ePortfolio once it is submitted. Talk about an uncomfortable finality…

I had talked with other educators who had started the course earlier this year to gain some insight into the process and their thoughts on everything. Though the sample size is limited, just a handful of educators, all were in agreement of the rigor and intensity of the ePortfolio creation. My stress level remained a bit elevated.

After talking with many members of my cohort, it seems a number of us have the same anxiety/concern about the ePortfolio. This fact of not being the only one with anxiety over the ePortfolio helped ease some of my anxiety. Weird, I know, but that is how my mind often works…beating to its own irrational, illogically logical drummer.

Anxiety aside, I am in this marathon learning experience as a full participant. Hopefully my blogging stays somewhat constant as I journal about my experience through the ISTE Certification process.

Spontaneous Review

This post was originally written many moons ago, but somehow got stuck in the iPad and I never noticed it was not published.  Well, better late than never…

My Period Four US History and Government II students have a test on Friday, it is based upon their presentations to the class on the 1950’s and vocabulary from the Civil Rights Unit. Actually all four of my US II classes have a test on Friday.

We created a Padlet from questions the student generated based upon their presentations. Student projects were posted on the class wiki and all of this information was wrapped up nicely and neatly in Edmodo for student access. Students were encouraged to use class time to collaborate and see if they could use their notes to answer the review questions. I used this method to study in college, I dislike studying in isolation.

As students worked together, I floated about to see if there were any questions they were having trouble with and if they were staying on task. We had mixed results, most students were on task and few had questions they could not answer. There were some students who were off task, redirected when I came by, and then went off task once I left. That happens, I did the same at their age.

Today, a couple of students started playing Hangman on the Interactive WhiteBoard in the front of the room. A number of other students jumped in and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I made a suggestion, which seemed to catch them a bit off guard. I did not tell them to get away from the board and study, I suggested that instead of playing Hangman with random words, why don’t they use the information from the class and use the game as a review.

They seemed to enjoy the effort, the majority of the class worked together and played in a large group. They assisted each other with the terms being asked and what some words meant as they were guessed. I had a few students who are not as social in class continue to study on their own. Overall, it seemed like a productive class. Students worked on their reviews, seemed to enjoy themselves, and it broke up the monotony of conducting the usual reviews. Sometimes going off the beaten path can be a good thing.

PETE & C Reflection 2019

This year’s PETE & C was very rejuvenating and a great learning experience.  I picked up a solid mix of new tools and new pedagogy. Many of the tools I was exposed to I have heard of or seen before, but I picked up new ideas on their usefulness.  This is always enlightening, it also precludes the need to learn and/or pay for new tools and apps. I believe these experiences out and about, immersed in these conferences improves my overall concept of education.  

My previous thoughts on some “Old School” practices, such as handwriting, which I am biased against due to my messy handwriting, and a few other ideas were challenged.  I was forced to look at those notions and adjust accordingly. I see where some concepts, such as reading cursive is necessary for looking over primary documents and still a basic skill set that is necessary, albeit not often used.  

I continue to push for student creation of content and challenge the students to think outside of the box, but I need to break projects and lessons down into smaller, more manageable or basic parts.  This allows for students who may not be comfortable with these concepts to hopefully have a higher rate of success. (Author’s Note: since returning from the conference, I have experienced my theory in a real world learning situation.  That will be a separate blog post.)

I am very interested in Mindfulness and creating a more effective learning environment in my traditional classroom and online class setting.  The changes have been instituted on my part immediately, although in small pieces. I find that my students adapt better to incremental changes rather than one major paradigm shift.  This is especially true with my Honors US II class.

As stated earlier, I am working incorporating these strategies and tools into my classes by modelling tasks repeatedly, and creating more and more video tutorials.  My students have also stepped up and have been mentoring each other more, especially on the current project utilizing my class Padcaster.

As more specific ideas and tools are rolled out, I will add to the story at MrSal.edublogs org.

I am also breaking assignments into smaller assignments to try and monitor and reward students more often.  I will follow up on the results via my blog.

 

Student Realizations…

We had a “pop” quiz in my regular US History and Government II classes today, there are four sections for that course.  I usually change the quizzes in some fashion, either rearrange answer choices, vary the questions, change essay topics, there is USUALLY some difference between the classes.  Today was no different, I once again shifted questions between classes.

A student from one of my earlier classes came into a later class to collect homework for a friend who was absent.  From across the room I hear the comment, “You lied about that.”  Taken aback, I looked around the room to see what precipitated the comments and to whom they were directed. The comment came across again, “You lied about that.”  The student from the earlier class responded promptly, “No, I didn’t.”

Part of the situation was was now clear, I knew who had issues, but did not know what the issues were or why they existed. I stepped in verbally with a comment.  “It was ‘Axis’.” came from across the room.  “No, it was Allies.” replied the student standing next to me.

The picture snapped into focus and I relaxed and let the students “argue” for the next minute or so, with my sudden smile almost turning into laughter.  The quiz questions had been shared, either in person or through social media, and the difference had thrown students off.  This was the point of contention between the students.

I asked a few questions of the class and was amazed to find out that the students have been taking quizzes, tests, and answering open-note writing prompts since early September and had no idea that all of those exercises have been tweaked and adjusted between class periods.  I explained how the items are changed and saw many students with incredulous looks upon their faces.  Many seemed truly surprised that I would do such a thing.

I explained that way back in the dark ages of the 1970’s and 1980’s, my friends and I also exchanged information about tests, quizzes, and other random assignments, however we did not have social media to spread the word.  I also explained that switching up items on assignments is not new, I am fairly certain my teachers did it back in the dark ages, as did many teachers before them.  It was an interesting scene to watch and even more interesting fact to learn about my students.