Consider why schools were created. Cordially, because we need a place to safely admit there are things we do not yet know. Crassly, because people are dumb.
Which definition does your room foster?
If we remind our students of the first definition, we allow positive failure fight “comparative failure.” You have seen CF, it stops a voice from speaking up by whispering, “I know everyone else knows the answer. I will just look stupid.” Or a student answers wrong and others snicker at their, “stupidity.” See how it works? Students compare themselves to others, not to set goals for growth, but to decide to fail.
Notice how contradictory CF is to school’s purpose? We want to scream to students, “All of you are hear to learn something, we already know you don’t know everything! So work together and learn!”
Set your room up as a fortress against CF by frequently, fervently reminding your students that you already know they have questions. Instill in them that honest questions never yields scoffing, shock or demerits (and don’t do any of those). Never let students mock each others’ thoughts and answers.
Students aren’t the only ones plagued by CF, teachers are hit just as bad. Look to your colleagues’ strengths and grow.
Model to your students that you are learning too. Expressly say when you are trying new things, experimenting or even better failing at new things.
Grow and help others do the same.
"The smell of bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils in the air…"
*You’ve Got Mail’s* classic description of the start of school stirs us to see school with hopeful eyes.
What are you looking forward to adding/trying/updating in your classroom this year?
We all love apps full of thoughtful, useful features especially when the price is right, and no price is better than free. The Kno app fits this bill serving as a full featured PDF reader complete with highlighters, sticky notes and a time-saving journal feature. Though textbooks are its first function, it handles PDF’s as though they were its first purpose.
Kno textbook reader offers simple access to textbooks from Kno.com as well as easy PDF importing. Once in the app, you are free to create terms and courses for organizing any imported content. Reading functions work similar to the Kindle app but with a powerful twist. Every highlighted item or sticky note is added to the Journal, allowing easy visual reference to any marked content, complete with thumbnail of pages.
Additionally, a flashcard and drawing function are available for diverse learners. All combined, this powerful app should not be labeled merely as a “textbook” app because of its incredible ability to make large PDF’s manageable with a single tap.
Triposo is a loaded little iPad app built to give the traveler ideas for where to go, what to see and what the culture of their destination is like. I love Triposo for its connection to wikipedia. Love it or hate it, wikipedia is a great spring board for research or a wealth of information.
In the app, you can search for cities, countries or special attractions, which leads to seeing the “guide” your search is contained in. For example, “Mecca” is housed in the “Saudi Arabia” guide. After a short download, you have offline access to pictures, wikipedia and travel ideas. When you project is done, delete the guide.
Great for exploring the world’s cultures, places and people. Also great for researching countries and people.
This blog is the culmination of a summer of reading, thinking, trying, failing and finding. I am a teacher. I love teaching. I love Middle Schoolers. I love nerding out with tech.
However, I found myself in the middle of a spectrum of interests. When I thought about technology in my classroom, intimidation, jealousy and intrigue flooded in. Intimidated by all the “hyper-techies,” going full-tilt technology, jealous of those who knew so much more than I and intrigue because I wanted to get my nerd on and see what the internet offered for passionate learners. Becoming obsolete is what I truly dreaded.
When I read blogs or talked to techie teachers, I sometimes felt an unintended undertone that said, “you are part of the broken system.” But I was seeing student achievement, wasn’t I? Middle Schoolers were learning! Sure I needed to improve but broken seemed like a overstatement.
So I dedicated a summer to reading about technology, researching the facts of implementing technology, listening to fellow teachers and creating a technology implementation plan for the Elementary at my school. In the end, I came out with a rich new perspective on my tested theory of education.
"Passionate teachers and motivated learners make education happen."
Now I set sail on a new year looking to successfully use all my resources: digital and unplugged to create passionate learners.
Wind is strong, sails are up…