Sunday, October 9, 2011

A disappointment stumbling block.... (sigh)

Well I must admit I thought we were rocking along in math class, and then I get to test day.  I realize two things:

1)  The kids don't know the material like I thought they did.

2) Since so many of them don't get it, I know the problem is me.

So today I am spending time trying to find a million ways to teach my kids about positive and negative integers and about greatest common factor and least common multiple (this for my 6th graders) so that we can retest on Wednesday.  I feel bad for the kids that completely aced my test, but I'm more worried about the ones that failed dramatically.  20%, 30%, and yes I even had a 0%.

It is official.  Come Monday I will be off track on the lesson plan the teacher has left for me to teach.  It is also official that my teacher will be coming back November 16th, and I need to ensure when she comes back in it was like she never left.  There is a lot of pressure for a long term substitute.  It is much more different than if it was your own class of kids.  Whatever I get off schedule with will impact her future teaching, and I can't afford to just keep moving because in Math, everything builds upon itself, especially at this level.

I must admit it was a disappointing week, but this is my first lesson in really modifying, adapting, and overcoming so that my kids can succeed.  Wish me luck!

Oh and if you have any suggestions about where to look for great interactive lesson plans, drop me a comment!  I'm all ears!

Monday, October 3, 2011

My first Pencast!

I couldn't stand to wait too long because I wanted to demo my new pen to my students.  Right now I'm working on a math website for them so that they have a place to go straight to for help with their math topics or math homework.  I'm doing this through a website called CourseSites which is free for up to 5 classes.  Currently I'm only  teaching 6th and 7th graders, so I'd really only need two classes, but if I broke them up by the 5 periods I teach, then I'd need all 5.  Unfortunately I can't show you the site as its an invitation only, and  I only want my students and their parents to have access, but I can show you my first pencast I've made for my 6th graders!

I've noticed several things after viewing my pencast:

1)  I say "so" a lot!

2) It is much easier to teach to active students than to talk out loud to a sheet of paper, and picture my students being there.  I'm sure You Tube users know exactly what I mean, or anyone for that matter who makes tutorials for others who aren't around.  Oh well, practice makes perfect!  Let me know what you think of my new Echo pen!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Inspiration and a Smart Pen

I finally figured out how to work my little interactive white board tablet in my room.  I used it on Friday and my kids loved it.  I like it to, and it was really my inspiration behind getting my Echo smart pen.  When trying to figure out how to use my interactive white board tablet (we will call it IWBT) I thought well I'll just google it and go from there.  Turns out... it isn't made anymore.  Never the less, I was able to figure out what I was doing, and it is great for my classroom.   It operates a lot like a Think Pad.  At any rate, I've seen several blog post referring to smart pens and LiveScribe on several blogs I subscribe to and I thought I would check it out.  I found an Echo pen in Best Buy and fell in love.  I was on a spending splurge today and decided this was going to go one of two ways.  I either was going to get an iPad, or a Smart Pen.  Well... I got the Smart Pen.

So I've been sitting at home and right now the new drivers are being done on my new pen and I can't wait to use it!  So I decided it would be a good idea to watch some videos because I really want to be able to use this for my students as soon as possible.  So if you don't know what a smart pen is for, I'm going to give some insight into what you can do with one, but for the rest I would recommend going to Livescribe's website, more importantly, their educators website.  

There are many things a Smart Pen can be used for,  and my ultimate goal is to do Pen Casts for my students.  I want to be able to do pen casts of problems that we are working on in class, and upload them to a site accessible to the students when they are at home.  Students can access the pen casts to use as study aids or homework aids.  I think this technology is phenomenal and can't wait to use it!  I'll get  a short pen cast rolling soon and put it up on my portfolio but also put it on my blog. 

For now, it is time to play!