This summer I was privileged enough to attend the Google Geo Teacher’s Institute at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. It was two days of pure Google-iciousness that focused on the geo tools, Google Maps and Earth. In class today, I had students complete a short Google Form about their travels this summer. That information was then imported into a Google Map, and here is the result:
If you click on each of the map pins, you’ll be able to travel the world with seventh graders…without actually traveling with 36 seventh graders.
I decided to try something new with my teacher’s desk this year. One of the student jobs that I have for my students to do each week is Quote Writer. One pair of students has to find at least one inspirational quote each week to share with the class. Last year, students were supposed to find a quote and add it to a Tumblr blog that I had created. That proved to be rather painful. I spent too much time trying to get students to do that job.
Then inspiration struck! I decided to paint my teacher’s desk with chalkboard paint and then ask my Quote Writers to write their quote on the teacher’s desk with chalk. How motivating is that! And it looks fabulous!
Thanks to Lindsey and Katie H. for being the first to add a quote to the teacher’s desk!
Mean old Miss McMillan gave her students homework on the very first day of school! Seriously! I asked my new students to complete two Google Forms to share their opinions on two questions: What is a fair teacher? And what makes a great classmate? I took their responses to those two questions and created two separate Wordles. In case you don’t know, Wordle takes the words you enter and creates a word cloud with the words used most often being the largest. For example, in the first Wordle below, A Great Classmate, you can see that the most popular responses from my students were “helpful” and “kind”.
I really enjoyed their responses to “What is a fair teacher?” I think I can fulfill these requests. :)
While our students are probably still tucked safely in their beds this morning, perhaps dreaming of the adventures they will have later today, their teachers are returning to work today to begin planning for the adventure that will be the 2014-2015 school year. I woke up this morning feeling quite anxious, in a good way. I’m anxious to see my friends and meet our new staff members, including our new principal. I’m anxious to start planning for a new year with a new class, anxious to try new lessons and new tools. This will be my ninth year as a classroom teacher and I’m planning on this year being the best one yet!
On the first day of school I will ask my students what expectations they have for me as their teacher, and I’ll talk about what expectations I have for them as my students. But right now, I’m thinking about the expectations I have for myself for this new school year. Many of them involve stepping outside of my comfort zone, something I ask my students to do quite frequently during the school year. If I expect my students to take risks and try something new, then I have to be willing to do the same. Great things can happen when we step outside, but we’ll never know what’s out there if we don’t take that first step.
Here we go…
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote in our Goodbye to Cliches Contest. I can’t tell you how much my students and I appreciated every vote…all 198 of them! I especially loved seeing votes coming in from three different continents, places like Colombia, Saskatchewan, and Australia!
But, without further ado…here is the presentation I created to share with the seventh graders which sentences were voted by you as being Smarties worthy. Enjoy!