Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week 12: Using and Reflections on Rubrics

This week was an interesting perusal through many valuable resources on the topic of Rubrics. Not only was it a great refresher on how to "rubric", but I also gained a better understanding on how to use Rubrics as applied to Grading with a Rubric. I think rubrics are an instrumental way of grading and definitely easy to use for teachers and students. As I was doing my undergrad, I was very unfamiliar with Rubrics and to tell you the truth they were a scary "new" thing for me. I have since broken out of that mindset and enjoy using Rubrics for a variety of things in my classroom.

This week, I have been grading a Greek Mythology Webquest project and as I was in the process of converting grades over, I caught myself doing percentages. So some kids passed and others failed! Realizing that this is not how I was supposed to be doing it (I knew this and forgot) I went back and corrected their grades. Now it is more evenly distributed and no one failed unless they did not make the effort to do what they were supposed to do. I do know how to do it though and must have been having a brain fart. :)

Several of the Rubric sites, I bookmarked  for future reference. There were several though that I thought were very repetitive and provided very little insight beyond the terminology. I did however, really enjoy and benefitted from this link.

I also created an account with iRubric and shared it with fellow teachers at school who are fans of creating rubrics. The one thing that I found to be AWESOME with iRubric is that is extremely versatile when it comes to classroom uses and management. I was also quite impressed with its extensive collection of Rubrics created by other teachers on a plethora of topics separated by content area.

Happily, my curriculum page has been coming along quite nicely. One question that Kelvin asked me about it was why the separation between Standard and Advanced classes for the final project. Well to answer that question, at this point, I do not have the resources or the capability to take them to the lab to create all of the required materials. With the advanced students, 9/10 kids have a computer at home or have access to one. For the first attempt with this project, I want to have a small percentage of my 106 kids doing the digital version before I relinquish the awesomeness of this project to all of my students. If I am still teaching Language Arts next year, then I will probably do it with all of my students. :)

Here's a link to my updated Rubrics Page.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blank Message

Sorry I cannot figure out how to delete a post once it's created. :(

Friday, November 13, 2009

Week 11: Evaluation of Educational Technology as a Current Classroom Teacher

This week, we're supposed to reflect upon the evaluation of educational technology as a current or future classroom teacher. Well this is an easy reflection. I have to honestly say, that I feel like after having taken several classes at UCF over the last three semesters, I feel like I have gone from being lost in the stone ages of "current" classroom technology, to ahead of the Learning Curve for once in my life in something that is becoming such an integral part of a classroom. What's amazing is that most of the technology and resources that I have been introduced to have made my life so much more productive, both in and out of the classroom.

I have learned is that by checking out technology/software, then using it and creating examples, truly does help you determine the worthiness of that technology and how or "if" it pertains directly to your teaching style and individual classroom needs. Since Web 2.0 tools have quickly become the trend that all classroom teachers should learn to incorporate, I have become a hot commodity at my school because of the resources that I ahve been introduced to from UCF and in this class, that I am able to quickly share with other teachers. I think the most important thing is that the learning curve is easy to pick up on even for the most staid teachers who are set in their ways. Just this week, I can honestly say that I was thrilled to be offered a position on a technology committee at my school. A year ago, I would have never been asked, so I think this is pretty neat! My knowledge is setting the stage for changes that are hopefully going to start occuring at Lake Asbury Junior High School. I didn't tell them that I am looking to go to the new high school opening up close by and teach some form of technology course. :)

Since we are supposed to be integrating technology into our classrooms, one of the most important aspects of that is making sure that we are not going "techy" crazy, but learning how best to make technology meet the goals and curriculum first and foremost, not the other way around as I had originally stated earlier this semester. One of the best evaluation words of wisdom that I have picked up this semester is try new things, if it doesn't work find something else. Not every new technology trend out there is going to meet every classroom's needs. It's up to the teacher to determine how best to implement that technology or not at all. No one else knows their students like that of a classroom teacher who works with students on a daily basis.

I do have to say that one of the best resources that I have discovered this semester thanks to this class is a social bookmarking site where you can store cool web 2.0 resources for a later viewing or for sharing with other teachers. Not only does this allow you time for more productivity, it also allows you to evaluate at a later time. I think this is a key tool for classroom teachers to make use of.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cool off with Wikis

I have come to a stopping point on my curriculum wiki for now. I figured out how to add in navigation and other doodads. My presentation for Dr. G. went well on Saturday and I even learned a few new tricks from my talented classmates. :)

Here's the link again for my Vacation Research Project Wiki.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Week 10: Curriculum Wiki Page and Wanting to Kick One's self. Grr!!

I am not typically a procrastinator, but this has been a week of procrastination for me!! :( I'm not sure if the November funk has taken grasp of my work ethic, but this is also going on in my classroom as well. In the last several hours I have been regretting not starting this week's assignment sooner, but there is nothing I can do about it now. I don't think I would have waited this long if I had not been working 4-6 hours each night on my Wiki presentation that I'm presenting Saturday morning in Dr. G.'s EME5053 class. I've never presented for two hours, so I've been stressing about that instead. Go figure. :(

Anyways, here's my reflection about this week's assignment.

I really enjoyed perusing the links on Building Curriculum Pages and Digital Storytelling. I think I must have added delicious bookmarks on each one and will probably recall the sites often as I look for inspiration, ideas, and resources for future use. I really liked the Jamestown link and even shared it with my mother who is a fifth grade teacher and my friend who is an 8th Grade American History teacher. I will be going back to to take a second look at TrackStar, Filamentality, TeacherWeb, and  zWebQuest over the weekend.

I have Diigo installed on my Firefox Explorer and really enjoy making use of it and seeing how other people add sticky notes to various webpages. I was not aware of Diigo Web Slides and made the mistake of pulling that one of the webslide examples up on my teacher computer during class. There were several interesting not entirely appropriate slides, so I had to quickly shut that down. When I have more time, I'm going to reexplore that page. It looked "quite" interesting. LOL!

Typically, I do not create "zipped" files, but have wondered how to do so. 9 out of 10 times I am unzipping files to use with powerpoint presentations or access someone else's work. At school I love to unzip new powerpoint backgrounds because we are still stuck with Office 2003 and the templates there STINK! So I regularly access and find creative backgrounds that require a quick unzip and I'm off to the races. It's quick and easy to download a zipped file and usually very quick to unzip them.

Curriculum Page Specs

Here it is:

I am quite proud of myself for what I have created in the last five hours. I'm just glad my children are not home because dinner has not happened this evening, nor have my dogs been watered or my jacket removed.

Here's some background on my curriculum page. For the last 4 years, I have been using a Vacation Research Project rather than teaching an old-fashioned Research Paper on a topic that my students will have a hard time writing about. So.....I found something near and dear to them. Planning out a Summer Vacation Project that is integrated with every academic content area.

I have never created an entire webquest from start to finish. I've used handouts with this project and a few web activities, but never something like this. Since I am only recently a Wiki Believer, I can 100% guarantee that I will be using this curriculum page with my students this year. I have to say that I am quite proud of it, but it still needs a few things. I have left out one of the most important things at this point (OBJECTIVES), but will quickly add them over the weekend for a late grade if necessary. Overall, when it is 100% completed, it is an easy vacation project wiki that any teacher could use without recreating the wheel at all. Except perhaps for the Google maps user and password. It is a generic user/pw created specifically for this project, so I don't expect any issues with this account at this time.

I think given the time that I actually allotted for this week for this class, I think I've created a pretty thorough and well thought out Wiki Curriculum Page that I will use this year with my students. :) I'm off for dinner and it's not even 10 p.m. yet! Yay!

Have a fantastic weekend!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009