Monday, June 24, 2013

Adobe Creative Cloud

Summer is in full gear and I am in slow motion here lately.  I had surgery earlier this month and am still doing recovery so I'm spending a lot of time in the house.  One of the things I wanted to do was make my lessons more discovery based this year, find creative uses for our technology, and get out of the textbook.  I've been scouring blogs, websites, twitter, and everywhere for inspiration and I've found some pretty cool things that I'm going to incorporate into class this year. 

One thing I want to do is make my own pdf's that I can download into my Good Reader account for students to use in class so that they can email me work instead of the LOADS of paper I ended up with last year.  But they can't just be normal Word documents converted to pdf because that would be too easy, and I want something with a bit of pizazz.  So I started scouring more websites, viewing YouTube tutorials to create the elements of things I've seen that I like and during this long meandering journey I found Adobe Creative Cloud. (CC)

CC essentially offers a huge amount of adobe software that usually costs hundreds of dollars a piece for a subscription fee a month.  Of course when I find out about it I see they have a student and teacher addition for an introductory rate of $19.99 a month that expires tomorrow, so not a lot of time to make my decision.  Out of all the crazy Adobe Applications they have to offer, I was really interested in PhotoShop and Acrobat XI Pro, but then I realized there were a bunch of other cool things that you get that I'm going to play with$19.99 a month.   Con:  It is a 1 year contract, so if I decide 3 months from now to cancel, I have to pay a 50% penalty fee.  (In other words I have to pay for 50% of my remaining contract).  I went ahead and made that 1 year commitment so I'm hoping that I will be a quick learner for my lesson plans and on the flip-side I get Adobe Photo Shop for my personal use as well!  I rationalized it this way:  Acrobat XI Pro starts at $499 plus you have to pay for the upgrades.  I get tons of applications for $240 and the updates are free. 

I'll post some of the things I make and learn along the way.  Are you enjoying learning new things for your summer?  What type of professional development are you doing?  I'm looking for some good reading material ;)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ah, Summer Time!

I'm a bit late posting this since I've been out of school since the 24th of May, but what can I say, I've been enjoying myself!  I have officially survived my first year teaching middle school and have come away with a wealth of information.

Here is a shortlist of what is needed:

1) Great classroom management skills.

2) A sense of humor

3) the ability to adapt to LOTS of changes

4) Organization!

5) Lots of Pre-Planning

Changes for next year:

1) Start with my end of the year classroom management at the beginning of the year.

2) Units instead of textbook utilization

3) Biblical emphasis within the curriculum

4) More hands on projects and activities

5) Standards Based Tracking and Dare I say grading?!

6) Common Core Implementation

7) Writing

For Now:

I'm revamping my lessons this summer.  I'm implementing more hands on projects and discovery based lessons and I'm even looking at working a flipped classroom.  I noticed one thing I did this year was get in a comfortable routine of how my classes ran.  Warm-up, lesson power point, workbook exercises, homework... rinse, repeat, quiz, test... rinse, repeat... BORING!

What I did get to do the last 9 weeks was more projects.  We did a cross-curricular literacy project. A cross-curricular music project, we threw in some history lessons of mathematicians, but I want to spread this out throughout the year. 

Congratulations to all the first year teachers who made it through the year!  I hope that you get much needed rest this summer, and of course lots of pre-planning done!