What’s goin on round here

work-004.jpg  Some great things going on around here–I’ve been so swamped with professional development and our library renovation lately that posting to my blog has been limited.  But I did want to highlight a few cool things going on around here, some of which are coming out of our staff development or from workshops from last year.

Math teacher Bob Witowski came by Thursday to invite me to participate in a text message assignment he was conducting with his students on Friday.  He asked students to text an algebra problem, and try to get answers from both inside and outside the campus.

The idea was inspired by Darren Draper’s Pay Attention video, which we shared last week at our staff development workshop on 21st century learning.

Other interesting web 2.0 efforts on campus this year–

Our ap government teacher Kris Phelps has embarked on her first blog effort the last few weeks, and there are some fascinating and astute comments by her students on a post about Facebook and politics.  They’ve made some very insightful comments which I hope to follow up on.

Our American Sign Language teacher Barbara Vinson is creating videos teaching ASL vocabulary on TeacherTube to help students review, and her students are preparing to do an assignment using Microsoft Producer –combining static photos with digital videos of themselves signing about the photos.

Also, thanks to Darren Draper’s suggestion, English teacher Bill Martin is using NiceNet for students to write about books they are reading for ISR.  In fact, a number of our English teachers are also using the threaded discussion boards built into the School Center software which our campuses uses for book discussions.

work-003.jpg And I have to say, something about watching everyone put on headphone mics last week at our staff development workshop for a self-guided tour of web 2.0 sites, reminded me of my dream in last week’s post of the future teacher.  It was empowering for people to grab headphones and explore sites and find tools that would be useful for their classrooms or listen to K12 Online conference presentations of interest to them.

This is just a sampling of some of the web 2.0 tools teachers on our campus are finding helpful in extending the learning in their classrooms.  I applaud every teacher who is trying something new, and continuing to model life long learning for their students.  And isn’t that the point–extending learning beyond the school walls, beyond the school day, and extending the learning in a way that is meaningful and significant for students?

Update: info on cell phone assignment directly from Bob Witowski:

On Friday we did a lesson where the kids had to get someone to text them an answer to a math problem from the unit we are studying. The only real rule was that they could give the person at the other end the answer to the problem. Some of the kids used their picture phones to send a picture of the problem to someone. If the person did not understand how to do the problem the students were to teach the person how to do the problem (learn by teaching). This lesson exceeded our expectation by really engaging the students in the lesson. We had one  child that has not said two words all year get really excited about getting a correct response from someone!Here are some of the results:1. We recognized the first person in each class to get a correct response.

2. We recognized the person that could get the answer from the closest to the classroom without being in the classroom. Each period was able to get responses from kids in many different classes including a slew of Math classes, Art, Latin, Language Arts, Spanish, Choir, AP World History, Football, World Geography, Orchestra, Physics, Band, and Dance. With the amount of responses coming from inside school I guess this lesson could be called “If you can’t beat them, join them”

3. We recognized the farthest location which was Antigua (a small island in the Caribbean southeast of Puerto Rico). I confirmed this with a phone call the person that sent the message.

4. We had responses from all over North America including Toronto, Puerto Rico, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Georgia; In Texas we got responses from El Paso, Fredericksburg, Williamson County, New Braunfels, Bastrop, San Antonio, Lakeway, and Wimberley.

6. The network the kids have extends into other schools in Central Texas. We got responses from Bowie, LBJ, McCallum, Regents, St. Stephens, Pflugerville, San Antonio Reagan, and Cabelli Art School.

7. One student was able to get 8 correct responses in one period.

8. We had one kid correctly respond to two questions from two different classes for the Double Dip Award.

9. One student called John Kelso at the Statesman but he thought it was a joke and hung up on her.

10. One student got a response from my wife and another got a response from Ms. Rawlings.

11. We overheard one parent saying they would not help because they thought the child was asking for help on a test!

On reflection, I would improve the lesson by adding maps to the room where we could use push pins to locate the responses or maybe do some type of coordination with the World Geo teachers to locate the responses.

2 thoughts on “What’s goin on round here

  1. That is so exciting, Carolyn!

    How have you seen the students react to such “web 2.0” assignments? Do they applaud the efforts of the teachers to embrace new technologies and methodologies?

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