Innovative School in Our Backyard

I just finished watching this video about Project Based Learning at King Middle School. King is right down the street from us and they do incredible work with kids. I often wonder if we can do some of the projects they do with our students. Why not? Take the time to watch this video – it’s worth it.

TLC in the News

Our TLC work has gotten a lot of good press this year.  First, with our use of iPads in the Early Childhood program; then with hosting EdCamp Maine; and now our TLC work specifically was highlighted in this recent news story from Channel 6:

Click here for the full story from WCSH. Both of our TLC groups have worked hard to advance the use of technology in our classrooms.  Even though we never seem to have enough time to accomplish what we want, everyone involved has contributed in some way – having thoughtful conversations, taking chances in changing curriculum, challenging their students to do more, taking time to learn something new, and so much more.  Thanks TLC for bringing the conversation to a new level and making the school more aware of the exciting opportunities available to us.

Introverts

As a fellow introvert, I enjoyed this NY Times essay by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which led me to her TED Talk:

Cain brings up some good questions.  Do the extroverts get the positions of leadership because they are extraverted or because they are leaders? Is it always the squeaky wheels that get the attention?  I think the issue is similar in the classroom – just because a student is quiet, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t learning.  Some students (people) take a little longer to process ideas and cannot respond immediately in a discussion; some are better at writing their ideas; some are better at expressing ideas in ways that are not verbal or written.  Everyone has a different style – learning, leading, processing, etc. – and hopefully, everyone will have the opportunity to see and understand where they strengths lie and how they can use them.

Mathelicious

cross-posted at the Waynflete TLC Blog

It seems like it is a pretty good time to be a math teacher.  Every week, I see several new resources for math problems, math projects, and real world math applications on Twitter and various websites.  These resources along with the potential for programming online and game access at the click of a mouse could produce a much-improved, more relevant math class.  Ahhh – if it were only that easy!  I’ll save that for another post.

I thought I’d share a few resources that I’ve seen in the last few weeks:

  • Bedtime Math - http://bedtimemathproblem.org/ - I read to my two boys before bed.  We cuddle up and read a few pages from a book before bedding down for the night.  But, being a math geek myself, I have also added something additional –  just before I leave their room, my son prompts, “Math problem please…”  Music to my ears – I give him a quick multiplication (or now, we are moving on to division) problem for him to figure out before I leave.  The site, Bedtime Math, picks up on the idea that we don’t just have bedtime stories but we can throw some math in there too.  The site provides a math word problem everyday broken into different age levels, like this:

Wee ones (counting on fingers): If 2 cars, 2 trucks and 1 bicycle drive past your home, how many vehicles is that?

Little kids: If 32 cars and trucks drive by in an hour, and 12 are trucks, how many are cars?  Bonus: If half the cars have a dog riding along, and half of those dogs are sticking their heads out the window, how many dogs are hanging out the window?

Big kids: If 47 cars, 15 motorcycles, 4 buses and 2 ice-cream trucks drive by, how many vehicles is that?  Bonus: How many wheels is that in total? (Assume the trucks and buses are 4-wheeled like the cars.)

  •  NCTM Twitter Feed - http://twitter.com/#!/nctm - While we are on the subject of daily mathematics problems, check out the Twitter feed from NCTM (the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics).  The provide a challenging problem everyday (except for Mondays, I think).  What a great way to start off class or challenge those students who seem to always finish before the rest of the class.  Here’s a sample:

  • Finally, you can now touch algebra.  Algebra Touch is an app for the iPad/iPhone and it allows you to interact with algebra equations.  The app takes advantage of the “touch” of the iPad and you can swipe, tap, slide, and move terms and equations around the screen.  I know there are some students who will be relieved to use this app.
 

EdCampME

It’s official – there will be an EdCampME (Maine) this March and Waynflete will be hosting!  Our TLC (Technology & Learning Cohort) came up with the idea after a bunch of us attended EdCampKeene in August.  We all enjoyed the “camp” and came back thinking that it would be a great thing to put on at Waynflete.  That enthusiasm did not die so we began laying some groundwork to bring EdCampME to Waynflete.

I had several initial conversations with the Head of School and Director of Finance and Operations and they both gave me the go ahead to find a date.  Finding an open date was a little tricky as our facilities are used a lot on the weekends for Admission events, athletics, and arts.  I found a few options in March which is a good month overall because it is between sport seasons, it is just before the “end of the year” craziness begins, and stress levels seem to be in check.

After a few more conversations, I found a date that would work and got full approval for a weekend in March and reserved the space.  Before I left for the weekend, I decided to post the date on the main EdCamp website and reserve a website wiki - EdCampME.wikispaces.com.  (Seem to make it even more official). On Saturday morning I woke up and checked my twitter feed and found that the “edcamp guy” (@dancallahan) had tweeted that he was looking forward to EdCampME in March (yay – instant press). Then he followed up that tweet a little later telling me to check in with @jaimesteward who (along with @alicebarr) was also planning an EdCampME. I checked the edcamp site and sure enough, she had put an entry in for EdCamp Maine for March 17th.  What are the chances?

So I tweeted @jaimesteward and @alicebarr to see what they had planned and asked if they wanted to team up. They said they were working on reserving a space. We all thought it would be silly to have two edcamps so we teamed up.  Not only that, but in the course of the twitter conversation we had about 3 or 4 other Maine educators volunteer to help us – yay Maine.  Here’s the shortened twitter conversation:

Now we have 10 teachers from Waynflete plus an additional 5 or 6 educators from the whole state working together to plan this EdCamp for March 31st.  Now the fun begins.  To get things started I created a Google Doc to share with everyone to begin brainstorming some ideas for the day.  Once we get the big picture down, we can begin to assign jobs.

We don’t have the details worked out yet but stay tuned to twitter (#edcampme) and to our website (http://edcampme.wikispaces.com) for more information on:

EdCampME

Saturday, March 31

Waynflete School, Portland ME

We hope you can join us!

More iPads

We just got the green light to purchase a few more sets of iPads to use in classrooms across campus. I think we will be buying classroom packs of 15 or 16 for each the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools.  I asked the members of TLC for input on the apps we should load on them: PuppetPals, Pages, Syncpad, GoogleEarth, etc.  I’ll continue to logged the apps as they come.

I am also trying to determine what kind of storage to put them in (and where).  I am looking at a few solutions:

From Bretford:

This one from Uptime Business -

And this rig sent to me from @mrtalmadge – his own “home-grown” model:

So many choices….are there other ones out there that I am missing?

On another note, we all (except one!) managed to meet together for a quick photo this morning – what a group!