Friday, August 30, 2013

Props to us!

The goal right now is to get as many students registered with their device (laptop, tablet, etc.) as possible. If they don't do that by next Friday, the kids will be locked out of the network at school.

Next week we'll start handing out loaner Chromebooks to the freshmen (and then sophomores) that don't have a device so that they'll have one to use during the day.

So today, Sue (my afore mentioned partner-in-crime) and I sent notices out to the English teachers for each one of their classes. We highlighted the names of kids who hadn't registered their devices, asking the teachers to send kids down with their devices if they needed help.

I wish I had looked at our numbers before we started today to get a comparison, but I'm pretty sure that as a school (of around 1200 students) we were in the 30% range for registration. After today, we're at 55.92%. That's pretty darn good!

And our freshmen?  At 75%. That helps immensely in Chromebook distribution.  We're down from needing 125ish to 75ish.

This might actually go well next week!

I'm hoping that at some point I'll actually be able to get back to the idea of working with teachers and resources. But for now this takes precedence.

What do I do?

It's been really nice since I've been back to school to not have to follow the 50-minute period schedule. I eat when I want (after I coordinate that with my partner-in-crime), I get to go potty when I want (though I honestly don't think of it, which is probably a result of 16 years in a classroom), and I've been filling my days with all kinds of projects.

I think at this point my biggest problem is that I get started on one thing (like an email), get distracted by something/one and jump to something else, get distracted again, . . .

Yesterday at the end of the day I had 3 draft emails started but not finished. 

Here's a bit of what I did today:
I started the morning by going through my reader (I switched to Feedly) and trying to get caught a bit. Found some good things that I tried to tweet out but since my iPad is on the unsecured network at school, twitter is blocked, so I had to email them to myself. 

During second period, one of the special needs classes was on the computers right outside my office door. They were there yesterday, too, and I'd spent the time helping a couple of the kids through the log-in and signing-up for specific classes on Schoology. I made a new buddy, Colin, who is seriously the cutest human alive. About halfway through the period I went back to my office to plan out how we're going to do our Chromebook distribution next week (the school bought a bunch of them to loan out to freshmen and sophomores who don't have a computer to use during the day. Great idea, tons of stuff to do behind the scenes to get ready). This is basically what I spent the rest of my day on.

At one point I had 3 different conversations using three different platforms going on with the same person. And then I texted her once I left the building. Technology is crazy!

Anyway, I ended up at Anderson (my old school) for a little over an hour to talk with them about what they're doing and get a concrete plan set with Cary, our fearless leader. During that time, our district tech lady emailed out spreadsheets of kids who had registered their own computers last year but not this year and also spreadsheets of kids who had registered this year so we could look through them. 

After my 20 minute lunch where I satin my office eating, the rest of my day was spent on emails:
1. I sent emails to all of the freshmen and sophomores who had computers last year and still need to register them this year asking them to do it.
2. I sent emails to the home room teachers of the kids who had screwed up their registration because of their MAC address. The district is going to lock people off of the network if they don't have a valid wi-if address submitted; for some reason I don't think a home address, email address, or "n/a" is going to cut it. I'm hoping those kids get it fixed before they're locked out and we're bombarded.

My husband asked me what I did all day. I felt so busy, but I don't know that it shows in my accounting. That may be because every few minutes there's a student with a question or needs to check out a book or a new email to answer or. . .

Looking forward to this 3-day weekend!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Diigo Tags (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Adjusting

We've completed two days (with students) and I feel like I have gotten a lot done so far. 

1. I've talked to a lot of people. I think I remember everyone's name, but that's up for debate. I'm not the most outgoing type (I usually am more of an observer) but I knew that wouldn't serve me well trying to get to the place where people felt comfortable asking me for help. Everyone's been very nice and friendly, though, and haven't held back in approaching me either. 

2. I've been able to help people out with questions/problems. A lot of the questions people have asked have been about Schoology, the LMS we use with the kids. But I've also talked Google Forms with a couple of teachers; found some Geogebra stuff; a TI-84 emulator; a possibility for e-signatures; ideas for how to deal with students turning in homemade videos; and even figured out a way for a girl with special needs to get, complete, and turn in assignments. 

3. I've seen a lot of kids. We've been dealing with textbook check-out in the Commons (our new name for Media Center) so they've all been coming through the past couple of days. Tomorrow is going to be crazy - we've got two departments coming through instead of just one like the last couple of days. I do have to admit that I like to use the little scanner gun, though! That never gets old. 

4. I've helped out with getting a number of Chromebooks ready to check out to students. The goal is to get (at least) the freshman 1:1, so the district purchased a bunch of Chromebooks to loan out to the kids to do that. We (the "secretary" who is really running the place and I) are having to organize the machines and get them into carts to get ready for the mad rush every morning and afternoon. I tell you, it's going to be a crazy place for a while but hopefully we'll find a system that works. 

5. I spoke in front of the staff on our first day of inservice and didn't hyperventilate. If you're like me, talking in front of a bunch of kids is no big deal. But adults?! My heart pounds just thinking about it. It helped that I didn't know too many people and didn't feel like I had to live up to any preconceived notions. I even had one teacher (who I've known for several years) tell me I did a good job. That was nice. :)

So yeah, I've been busy. But I'm really looking forward to getting out and doing what I think my job is. I want to get in classrooms and help with ideas and push people forward a bit. 

And you know what? I miss my friends. I miss "my" kids. I miss being known. But I honestly don't miss having my own classroom. There have been teachers coming through the commons with their classes and I'm not envious at all. Of course that could change, but I was worried that I had made the wrong decision in taking this job and feeling this way comforts me. With that being said, one of the math teachers has to go to a 2-day training next month and I told her I'd help her out while she's gone. That I'm looking forward to. But I don't think I want to keep them. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Diigo Tags (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Analogies

Bear with me here as I pretend to be an English teacher. :)

Several weeks ago I cut off some branches of a pretty golden pothos plant that is hanging in the corner of my kitchen.  It was getting kind of long and interfering with the chair (and all of the stuff on the chair) below it.


I stuck it in a vase of water and was happy to see it root a couple of weeks later.

So last night, the night before my first day of my new job at my new school, I decided that I was going to pot the cutting and take it to school.


That got me thinking.  The nice healthy plant? Me as a math teacher. Everything was going good, growing well.  It just needed a bit of maintaining.

The cutting?  Me as a Digital Learning Coach. Right now it's just getting off the ground... an off-shoot of a career. It's going to take time and work, but hopefully this job (plant) will someday be as strong and healthy as its predecessor.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Diigo Tags (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Diigo Tags (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.