Grade all the things!

Seriously, this is the most fun I have ever had grading. It’s WAY more fun if the student has not done well though… I feel like I should find a way to turn that around.

A little while ago I followed the directions on Alice Keeler’s site to start using Bitmoji (it’s a free app that create a cute little version of yourself) outside of text messages. In Chrome, I installed the Bitmoji extension so now I can drag and drop my little avatars.

Since I’ve been using Google Classroom with my seniors, and this great little digital interactive notebook I got from Teachers Pay Teachers, it’s super fun to use Bitmoji as comments on their work. I cannot even tell you how endlessly entertaining I find this. I wish I could make my own in order to customize comments. I bet I can, actually…

Google Certifications

I use Google Apps. I love Google Apps. So why has it taken me so long to start going through the new certification process and actually take the exams? Who knows.

GCE_Badges_02

 

Anyway, one down and a few more to go…

Updated for Level 2 badge! And now onto Trainer (and probably the Chromebooks side quest too)!

 

No Teacher Desk

Okay, I had no idea this #noteacherdesk was a thing. The district is taking away my beloved desktop Mac (all teacher desktops, actually, not just mine) and gave me a MacBook Air instead. This left me feeling angry and resentful because a) my eyes like the bigger screen and b) it was not my idea.
So, since I am working hard to be a marigold instead of a walnut tree I decided to reframe my distress and rethink how I use my computer.

Well, my desk is always messy. I have piles of papers the really just need to be recycled or scanned/filed. But my desk is a holding place for that desktop computer. If I don’t have the desktop, do I need the desk? I have a tendency to use my desk as a private, messy little oasis where I can hide out. I get overwhelmed sometimes by crowds but that means I also get stuck at my desk when really I should be moving more.

I read “Ditching the Desk” on Edutopia and then asked The Nerdy Teacher, Nicholas Provenzano,  for an update on Twitter. He said he still loves it so I began planning for a quick spring break rearrange.

So, on Monday, I moved it. I can’t really get rid of it completely right now because it is heavy. And, there isn’t really anywhere else in the school to put it. It’s cleaned off and pushed up against a window. My desk calendar is still there, and the charging cords for various “teacher” only devices. There had been a table there with two older Macs but kids haven’t been using those much at all so they will be repurposed and the table was moved for student use.

My hope is it will be a good compliment to the alternative seating that is already prevalent in my classroom. Honestly, losing that barrier makes me a little anxious so maybe trying this in just the last quarter of the school year is a good thing. If I hate it I have enough time to troubleshoot and make better plans for next year.

 

 

Digital Interactive Notebooks

I feel ridiculously proud of myself right now because I figured out how to make an interactive notebook that students can keep in Google Drive and edit as they (and I) see fit. There are some outstanding ones on Teachers Pay Teachers so my new goal is to make great ones that are specific to AP Language and AP Seminar. Wish me luck. I’ll need it.

So, here is what I came up with. My friend Amy got some outstanding tips on multiple choice from the AP conference this summer and so we have been incorporating more consistent reflection after full-length multiple choice practice. The issue though is that my students lose their forms from the last go around of reflection so can’t comment insightfully enough to help them grow as I would expect.

I just adapted the form that we use with the school colors (black and gold) as the background and their junior class color (blue) as the editable areas.

DIGITAL notebook AP MC Profile

Satirical videos

For the last few years in Digital Composition, a senior English elective, we have been making satire videos. The course covers rhetorical modes of composition in alternative ways, integrating technology in creative and thoughtful ways as compared to traditional English classes.

Students work on the films over the course of a semester and are asked to satirize some aspect of our high school community. By this point in their education there is much for them to poke fun at about the school. Embedded below are some of my favorites from the last few years. Because this is an English class, we have never had a budget for technology – students film on their iPhones or other personal devices and edit their videos using whatever software they have available to them.

The assignment is intended as more of a storytelling exercise than an assessment of technological or video prowess. Students do have access to a publication from the Director’s Guild of America, Making Movies: A Guide for Young Filmmakers.