Friday, October 2, 2015

Common Sense Media
Common Sense Education/Common Sense Graphite

Common Sense Education posted a list of the best PD/PLC sites at the link below.

Common Sense Graphite posts reviews of video games, movies, music and websites that are advertised as appropriate for children and teens. Check it out if you are looking for solid information about a video game, website or any other media for your students or your family.

New Movies in Theaters This Weekend

In the mood for a book-based sci-fi thriller, a gravity-defying drama, or an inspiring documentary? Read our reviews to find out which film is best for your family.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mission Skills

Although my one person PLC may be coming to an end, I'll share my original goals and hypothesis,

Hypothesis:  Mission Skills can be taught/nurtured in a school setting.
Goals: Find empirical data that could be emulated as best practice by other schools hoping to improve a Mission Skill component.

Anecdotally, there are clearly activities like Robotics and Forensics that lend themselves to developing a mission skill.  In this case resilience....the success/failure cycle would seem to intuitively build that skill.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Entry Event for PBL

On Monday, September 14, I delivered my "entry event" for a PBL unit I am trying out on immigration.  The project is linked to the novel we read, which is about a Jewish family fleeing Russia in 1919. The entry event is supposed to get the students interested/excited/engaged in the project, but also should introduce the driving question that will push the project forward. During the session the students listened to the poem from the base of the Statue of Liberty, looked at different documents related to immigration, studied photographs of different immigrant groups across the years, and analyzed a graph showing numbers of immigrants coming to the US by year. At the end of the class, they were given a boat ticket to travel to America. (A blank ticket, that they will later fill out with the fictional details of an immigrant from a country of their choice!) 

The driving question is: "Why do people leave everything they know to move to a new country?" 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences

This year, I've decided to take another approach to Vocabulary homework in Seventh grade. Students were given exams to identify their learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic). They were also given a multiple intelligence test to help them understand that an I.Q. number doesn't necessarily define a person's intelligence.
With this information, students will decide the best way to learn words and definitions. They discuss strategies in small groups and may choose to work individually or in groups. At the end of the week, they inform me how they studied and how much time it took to study. Then they take a quiz. Every week, students will also learn to "tweak" their studying strategies. Since this is my first year trying this, I will update any progress made in class.

Here are some links if you would like more information:

Strategies for Different Learning Styles

Visual Learners:
  • use visual materials such as pictures, charts, maps, graphs, etc.
  • have a clear view of your teachers when they are speaking so you can see their body language and facial expression
  • use color to highlight important points in text
  • take notes or ask your teacher to provide handouts
  • illustrate your ideas as a picture or brainstorming bubble before writing them down
  • write a story and illustrate it
  • use multi-media (e.g. computers, videos, and filmstrips)
  • study in a quiet place away from verbal disturbances
  • read illustrated books
  • visualize information as a picture to aid memorization
Auditory Learners:
  • participate in class discussions/debates
  • make speeches and presentations
  • use a tape recorder during lectures instead of taking notes
  • read text out aloud
  • create musical jingles to aid memorization
  • create mnemonics to aid memorization
  • discuss your ideas verbally
  • dictate to someone while they write down your thoughts
  • use verbal analogies, and story telling to demonstrate your point
Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners
  • take frequent study breaks
  • move around to learn new things (e.g. read while on an exercise bike, mold a piece of clay to learn a new concept)
  • work at a standing position
  • chew gum while studying
  • use bright colors to highlight reading material
  • dress up your work space with posters
  • if you wish, listen to music while you study
  • skim through reading material to get a rough idea what it is about before settling down to read it in detail.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Integrating Technology in PreK

We have started working on a  PreK blog but it isn't ready for prime time yet!  We have a few parents who are on the no photo list so we will wait to talk about it at Back to School Night.  Our blog will go live in October.  In addition to this we have are go through the tutorials for Three Ring.  Three Ring is a documentation app where we an capture moments, photo, audio, and video.  We can make notes just for our eyes,  share information with individual families or the entire class if it is appropriate.  We hope that this tool will help us with launching provocations and project work in small groups with our class. But more importantly  creating a portfolio of information that will paint a picture of where each child is developmentally that will be easier for parents to understand during conferences in January. 


For the coding study group, click the link below to find out what we're doing here.

What is the difference between doing a project and project based learning?

Here is a site that has a great chart showing what is the difference between projects and project based learning.
There is also other info on the site as well.