Friday, May 13, 2011

Tenure and Promotion Portfolio

Username: visitrobin
Password: angottivisitor


Sometimes my students get in a rut. They sit near the same people in class and always work in the same small groups together. When they discuss an article, they are only hearing the same voices, the same ideas. So, borrowing ideas from other colleagues, I started implementing strategies to change this...using playing cards.

When students come into my room, they each get a card. If I have 32 students I would use the cards from 1-8 for example. The students who have the ones would all be in a group together, the twos, etc. I also have a second deck of cards. When doing class activities (discussing an article for example), I randomly select a suit (say a club), the club has to start the discussion, they get 2 minutes to share their thoughts on the article. The rest of the group gets 1 minute to comment back. Then it progresses around the table with each person getting two minutes to share. At the end of the discussion, the group has to come to CONSENSUS about what they learned from the article.

In order to have a whole class discussion from this, I pull a card at random from my deck (say the 3 of hearts). The person with that card has to explain their groups thinking (not their own). The purpose for this is for each person to be accountable for the discussion, that is, there is no place to hide. After, I draw a second card (say the 4 of diamonds) and ask that person to summarize what the first group said. This second draw of the cards keeps everyone accountable for listening to their classmates.

Regrouping has made a profound impact on my classes. It gets them listening to each other and to different ideas. It has been one of the best regarded classroom procedures I do. The students stay in those groups the the entire class period for whatever various activities we do. My evaluations have risen about .5 of a point since I started this strategy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Will Richardson's Book

I am excited to read Will Richardson's new book about PLN's. Hopefully it will give me some ideas.

Personal Learning Networks (An Excerpt)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ipad advantage

The Ipad does have some GREAT advantages. I don't have to carry around a heavy computer. It has a great display. It is easy to use. It has great sound,especially when you plug it into some speakers.

I have been disappointed in some of the apps though. Even ones that I like on the Ipod haven't worked as well on the Ipad. Some of them need more development also, like the Prezi app. Which is REALLY too bad, because I like using Prezi and I would like the convenience of only carrying the Ipad around rather than my laptop, especially to conferences. But if I can't play the prezi on it, it limits its capability.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Interested to try this

One of the new emerging technologies I am using in both the tech grant I work on and math classes that I teach is Tableau Public. It is a data visualization software built primarily for business, but now being used by bloggers worldwide to add interactive visualizations of data to their blogs. A friend of mine works there and is specifically working on an Ipad application of the software. So with that said, I decided to embed a vis in my blog to see how it looks on the Ipad.

This vis was created by Annette Greiner using the USDA's Activity Rates and Health Living Data Set. It gives a picture of the Geography of Diabetes:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Online PLC

Still struggling with the online PLC concept and how to get it going. I know it is going to take ME initiating and putting myself out there and blogging first for them. I am just overwhelmed by all I am doing and blogging with them is one more thing. I know I need to work this out, but I might have to clear a few things off my plate first.

Friday, February 25, 2011

First "glitch"

I had my first glitch while I was grading student papers. I realized that just viewing the papers changed the format. But I thought that downloading the papers would display them as they actually were. So I took some formatting points off on students papers that I thought were formatted wrong. But I should have taken the time to open them on a pc. They were actually correct which means I had to listen to complaints about taking points off inappropriately. UGH.

Monday, February 14, 2011

IPad First Musings

Well, my first impression of the IPad, very cool. It is a big Iphone, without the phone. I wish it had a camera, that would make it more versatile. It seems to me to be a great vehicle for the social media aspects of the web...checking Facebook, Twitter, reading blogs. I find it hard to blog with it because it is very hard to type with it. And I am going to try to use it for communicating with my students, grading papers, etc.

It does have a sweet sound system though :).