August 21, 2012

One week down! and 40somethingtogo!

Well with week 1 down, and let's say about 40something more to go, I've had a few days to reflect,  and think about the school year ahead. I must say, I think this might be one of the most successful starts to the beginning of the school year I have witnessed in a long time. Although I feel that my "to do" list never gets shorter, and it never ends,  I do find joy in being able to have a job/career I absolutely love!
This week I have...

  • prepared 9 laptop carts for students/teachers
  • Inventoried, tagged, and Imaged over 25 iMacs 
  • created more bulletin boards, signs, posters, labels than I'd like to mention.
  • On top of that, I had to come in on Sunday in order to get most of it done because of course, everybody needs you during the school day.  Speaking of Sunday, let me share a funny story about that.
Imagine being at your school at 10am in the morning on a Sunday. Of course no one else is there but you, so that's pretty much why you came at that time. Well, its not so fun when you lock yourself out of your office. Your car keys, cell phone, and computer are all locked in your office. What do you do? You start pulling every door in the building until you find one unlocked. Thankfully, I found a room with a computer, I was able to email the secretary to get the phone number of the building custodian, who then contacted the custodian on duty. Whew! After 2 hours, I was finally rescued, so much for getting work done.

I did get to scratch a few things off of my "to do" list. But most importantly, I had the opportunity to expand my Personal Learning Network this week. I created a website, professional twitter and Facebook, Pinterest EDTECHIE board, and update this blog. I actually had some time this week to find some excellent blogs to follow, articles to read and share, and a ton of technology ideas.  I am so excited about all of the goals I have for this school year, and I can't wait to share!
This was the first week we started computer lab rotations. I always like to start the year off by leading the sessions. Check out the videos I show to students to introduce the computer lab.
Big People video (grades 3-5)

Little People Video

The kids always get a kick out them :)

Last year our district implemented the use of Gmail/Google Docs. It has become a wonderful way to collaborate and share information throughout our district simply, and efficiently.
 A lot of teachers ask students to share assignments with each other, and most importantly with them. In the current method, teachers receive an email every time a student shares a document with them. This can be quite annoying.  I found this great article with a new way to share documents in a more organized and effect way.

1. Encourage Teachers to Create an In Box with a Google Form

One of the challenges of using Google Docs with a class full of students is in managing all those Google Docs. While it's fairly easy for students to learn to share their work with you, the clutter that ends up in your email box can be overwhelming. Last year I was thrilled to discover an awesome idea from John Miller that utilizes a Google Form as an Assignment Tracker. The idea is innovative, efficient and simple. Here's how John's invention works:
    • Teachers create and publish a Google Form, or In Box, in a convenient place for students to access. 
    • When it's time to turn in a Google Doc, students complete the simple form and submit a link to their Google Doc.
    • The information submitted by students automatically populates a spreadsheet to be used by teachers to keep track of assignments and also to quickly access those assignments for grading and review.
Here are a couple of tutorials to help you create and use an Assignment Tracker as an In Box to keep your mailbox clutter free.

Student Tutorial

.Teacher Tutorial

Check out the entire article here

Last week I received a random email from a communications director from the company wix. is a web design website that I just so happened to come across during a random google search. I decided to build my website using one of their web templates. I loved the way I could customized the template to make it my own. This is very rare, usually the templates are very limited in what you can edit. Anyway... I received this phone call because he stumbled across my website as part of their outreach initiatives for two upcoming education and technology events.

Rock Your Class with Free High Tech Tools
New York City Lounge Educators Meet Up: August 23, 6-8pm!home/mainPage
San Francisco Lounge Educators Meet Up & Panel Discussion: August 23, 6-8pm!home/mainPage

I was very excited to have the opportunity to talk with him and share some of the wonderful things the teachers are doing in my district. I was asked to be available to share my resources and talk with other educators about ways to integrate technology. I believe this will be a beginning of a great relationship with this organization. It would have been nice though to spend a couple of days in NYC or SAN FRAN. #ijs. Maybe next year!

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