Monday, April 28, 2014

Preparing Rising 6 & 9th Graders with Multimedia

As a 6 and 9th grade teacher you prepare every year to get a brand new crop of wide eyed students that have no idea of what they are in for as they move into Middle and High School.  Most of these students will not get much information in the way of what to expect as they move from one school to the next.  This is a big step for either grade level.  So what can we do to prepare them?

Most of these students will not know what to expect until the first day of school.  It can be overwhelming to some perplexing to others and even frightful to a few.  So how do we help prepare our students for the next level of our education?  Well let's see if we can reach them on their level and make it fun and make it fun at the same time.  Why not create a real world scenario using Problem-Based Learning to have your current students design a video for incoming students to help ease their minds and answer some of their questions.

It makes a good argument for teachers to build off the Research Writing that falls into the fourth quarter curriculum.  As well it can bring in needed Information Technology Essential Standards that may not normally be seen in the classroom on a regular basis.

The Scenario:
You are a rising 6/9th grade student and you do not know what to expect from the school that you are getting ready to start in the fall.  What information would you want to know about ahead of time so that you are prepared on the first day of school?

From this your students should be able to:
research information about the school
create a list of possible questions 
produce a video outlining what a rising student would need to know.

So then it comes down to what do you need to know to be a 6/9th grader?  Have your students collaborate to come up with ideas on what the most important things are that they should share about the school.  Let them be as creative as they want to be, the sky is the limit.  Some of your students will more than likely surprise you with what they come up with.  

It is a great focusing activity for the end of the year as well for your students that might be starting to tune out due to the impending summer vacation.  Most will not even realize that they are doing something curriculum based or part of a lesson because they will be entrenched in creating a video project.  

Who knows you might have a up and coming screenwriter, director or actor in your class and this will become the launching pad for their career.  

photo credit: MACSD via photopin cc

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's In A House, What Can You Live Without?

So I recently decided to put my home on the market to see if I could take advantage of the recent uptrend in home sales in my area.  

When I decided to do this I panicked a little bit, not because I would have to keep my home clean - that is easy, because I would have to pack up all the gizmos, gadgets and other technology items that I use every single day!

The first week I was frazzled because I was trying to figure out what I could actually do without while my home is on the market.  

I sat down and looked at what I have and how I used it.  

The work technology vs. the home technology was an easy compromise because I figured I would not worry about the work tech except for my work phone.  

When it came down to figuring out my personal technology, that was the hardest part.  

What to do with all the actual gizmos, gadgets and computer equipment I own.  This is when the panic really set in.  

I never realized, even being a Digital Immigrant, how much I rely on technology in every part of my life.  With a lot of effort I paired down to what I thought I actually needed to keep.  

So here is what I did as my personal technology purge:  

  • I need to have access to email but do I really need a computer or laptop for this?  
  • I need to pay my bills, can I go old school and write checks?  
  • Now the mobile devices, how many does one person really need to have at the ready?  

I also looked at my "massive" video collection I had amassed over the years and the video equipment that goes along with it.  I never knew there were places locally that would buy used movies and I was able to sell the box I had put together.   

So in a nutshell I reduced all of my tech down to one single computer that I do everything from.  I still have both my work and personal cell phones but outside of that nothing else.  

I was surprised that everything that I thought I needed I really didn't.  

As the weeks have gone by now I have come to a realization that maybe I really didn't need to have all of the electronic stuff around after all.  

I even noticed a change, however small, in my electric bill too and that was nice to see.  So maybe I really do not need to have all of that electronic stuff around me all of the time.  

Or maybe I just need to move more often.... Nah.  

photo credit: mystuart via photopin cc