Assessments are being heavily debated in my district right now. When PARCC first arrived, we switched from Midterms/Finals to Marking Period Quarterlies. Now Quarterlies are up for discussion again. So, with assessment being so heavily discussed, I figured that should probably be the focus of this issue of MiddSouth Innovates.
First, you will find a glimpse into Mrs. Bach’s Biology class as we look at Thinglink and how she used it to provide more meaningful feedback on student-created study guides. Second, you find some key points from the book How To Grade For Learning, K-12. This book focuses on the research and writings of a variety of influential educational scholars and what they have learned about assessments in schools.
Happy New Year!!! And remember to click the image below to see the full MiddSouth Innovates Issue #5.
I apologize about forgetting to post our end of the year MiddSouth Innovates. One of the best parts about my new role as Educational Technology Specialist is going into classrooms all over the school and seeing how technology is being used. In this issue, I had a chance to join one of our math teachers in an Algebra I lesson using Desmos. In the last 2 years, Desmos has moved from simply being an online graphing calculator to a full activity hub for math teachers. As you will see below, this math teacher runs the entire lesson from Desmos using direct instruction, individualized feedback, and both individual and group responses. I was really impressed with both the lesson and tech application.
National Computer Science Week is upon us (December 4-10) which means it is time for the Hour Of Code!! I absolutely love the activities they have developed to get students solving complex problems. That’s right! Coding isn’t about typing words on a page. It is about figuring out how to put together a puzzle when you don’t know what the puzzle looks like. For the past couple of weeks, my students have been tackling simple and complex coding HW in an attempt to expose them to both Scratch and Python. First, they had to animate their name using Scratch. Now they are drawing snowflakes with Raspberry Pi Foundation.
I created the following Smore to remind my staff about the Hour Of Code. We are going to setup stations in our Media Center for students to participate, and have Certificates and 3D Printed badges for anyone who completes the full hour. Enjoy the Smore and check out #middsouthinnovates for pictures from our activities.
Recently I accepted a position to be the Educational Technology Specialist for my building. Basically I am a tech trainer for both students and teachers. I could be fixing computers, installing software, training teachers on new programs in small settings, teaching tech lessons, running the makerspace, doing mobile maker projects, assisting in Shark-tank style projects, running building PD, teaching administrators how to use their new laptops, problem-solving PowerSchool issues,….and those are just the things I know I will be doing.
And, I will be teaching 1 class which is not Chemistry. It is called Innovation and Design and there will be more to discuss on that topic soon. But, you read that right, no Chemistry. I have been teaching Chemistry for 17 years. Even when I was a District Director of Instruction I still taught 2 classes of Chemistry. I have been doing Chemistry either as a student or a teacher since 1993. And now…nothing.
Everyone asks if I am excited about the new job. Yes, there is no question that I am excited about the challenge this position represents. But, I am scared too. I have always had Chemistry to fall back on. When I was teaching
Research Methods in Applied Science years for the first time, I had no idea what that class would entail, but I had Chemistry as my safety net. When I was a Director, I had no clue what I was doing, but I had Chemistry as my security blanket.
Chemistry will always remain at my core (just like fencing). Every day I tell my students that they must be happy in what they are doing and to pursue their passions. Now it is time for me to do the same.