Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Infuse Learning Review

An interesting learner response system compatible with any device. 

A quick easy to set up virtual classroom. 
In the virtual classroom you can ask a questions out loud and allow students to answer using just about any internet capable device. 
Or you can create a quiz before hand and assign it to students as the come in. 
You can download the responses to an Excel sheet.

Answers can be in the form of:
  • freehand drawing
  • true/false
  • multiple choice
  • sort and order
  • short answer
  • numbers
  • Likert Scale (1-5)
With the prepared quiz you can watch student progress and see correct and incorrect responses. 

If you use this in the classroom I'd love to hear some feedback on how it works for an entire class. 

I just opened my sample excel sheet and it actually is very nice.

Friday, February 15, 2013


November is national novel writing month. Participants are challenged to write 50,000 words in one month. (For the math adverse that is 1666.67 words per day)

One group decided to take a different approach. they decided to write the entire novel in one day. So they opened a Google Doc and invited anyone to help with the writing. This is what they wrote. Title: Digi Daze

This may not be your cup of tea, but there is more. I was in a webinar with one of the organizers of this novel and we wrote a crowdsourced poem in half an hour. We wrote Mayhemism 

This might be possible in a regular classroom. However, as with most things some ground rules actually help the process. As Jesse Stommel says,
"A potential pitfall of this sort of work is a variation of the bystander effect, whereby participants will see a problem or gap in the document but assume someone else will fix it. The more collaborators involved, the more the effect is amplified. One solution is to delegate ownership of different parts of the process to each participant. While smaller scale collaborations (of 2 or 3) are simpler logistically, they still present certain challenges."

To see a 30 minute poem being written try the YouTube video (yes it is sped up)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Structured Support

The structured support people in our district are really pretty helpful. I noticed a lot of the kids (well not a lot but a few around the building) have this huge rubberband on their desk.

I'd never seen it before but it sure looks like a great way to keep an ansy kid focused when s/he needs to be. 

Then yesterday our Occupational Therapist sent out a list of 20 stations she has set up around the school. Some in classrooms, in the halls, in the cafeteria, just all over the place so students can find a workstation close by, wherever they are in the building. But the best part is the instructions:
These stations are for little jobs or breaks intended for our little friends that need a purposeful movement break.

Please use your best knowledge as to if the child should be chaperoned or are responsible enough to be independent at the school station(s) or exercises. Also, keep in mind if a child/job is in another classroom or special, to be respectful and considerate of the teacher/class if they are busy with something else please come back at another time and/or choose another station. 
I think it is the most awesome thing in the world for a teacher to have the option of saying, "I think you (and I) need a bit of a break. Why don't you go erase scuff marks on the floor." Or "Why don't you do the activity at station 1."

Lot's of educators say it is difficult on the students and teachers to be cooped up for 6.5 hours a day and make all that time productive. But this is a person who is doing something about it.

 Below are some of my favorite activities.

  • Move chairs Place chairs on top of or remove chairs off of the table.
  • Erase scuff marks on floors   Stick with tennis ball on end, erase black marks on floor.
  • Deliver mail or boxes to classroom Carry milk crate or delivery to office or another room  
  • Stack paper   Take packaged Xerox paper packs and remove or stack in/out of boxes under table.  
  • Sharpen pencils   Sharpen pencils with electric sharpen (please feel free to bring a class cup with pencils in to be sharpened) 
  • Tear paper   Tear paper in small pieces from recycle bin
  • Straighten paper  Make sure colored paper is in neat piles on shelves. 
  • Ride bike up and down hallway Ride bike up and down hallways with weight on back for resistance.
  • Window stickers   Window clings in motor room- Hang window clings on upstairs window by parking lot.  

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Friday, February 1, 2013


It seems to me that teacher evaluation is becoming a bigger and bigger topic of concern. I think perhaps most people are starting to realize that no matter how big or expensive, or well crafted a test might be, it is still just a test. Some people will do well even when they guess and some people will freeze up and do worse than they should.

The obvious solution of course is to work together with master teachers and constructively critique each other until everyone is an outstanding teacher. If we had money, time, and patience for such an endeavor we would be doing it.

Some companies suggest schools should implement a video evaluation system. I don't think a video is any substitute for an actual live person in the room and therefore shouldn't be used for evaluative purposes. I like the idea of working with colleagues in a constructive manner to improve teaching practices.

There are many methods that don't involve direct observation - LASW - PLC - Lesson Study - COP - Reflective writing, blogging, twitter, etc....But I think this video stuff could be one of the many tools teachers can use to improve their own practice. We just don't need to pay for it.

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