Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why I don't want my daughter to be like me.

This is where she got stuck and cried tonight - and it's where she stops every night.
She whips through the majority of the page with no problems, but when she gets to that last question that asks her how she did them, watch out! Tonight's episode involved an hour-long dinner break while she calmed down and was able to listen to my questions about her process. 

This is why I like Common Core. Sure, I'm not happy with the testing (I'm sure you can imagine the gasps and groans from the staff at my school when we saw what the kids will have to do this year!) but if you take a look at the Standards themselves and especially the Math PracticesI hope you'd agree. I don't like the drama of that last homework problem but I like that she has to think about what she's doing. 

Would I have liked them as a student? No way. I was one of those "Just give me the assignment and let me start the 50 problems and I don't want to do the group work" type of kid. It worked for me. I made it through all of my schooling not understanding (or caring) about the "why" and just doing the rote memorization of the process. But I don't want that in my kid. I want her to be able to think, to generalize, to look for patterns, to communicate her thinking, to understand why she's wrong. 

And (unfortunately in her way of thinking), this kid's mom isn't going to let her (or her big brother) be like me. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sharing Resources... the Google Site

I spent some time last week messing around with the Google Site that I put together last summer for my school. The original intent was twofold:
1. Give teachers the opportunity to reserve space in the Commons (Media Center) electronically.
2. Share resources with the teachers.

They seemed to embrace the idea of making their own reservations. I thought it would be nice to give them the ability to reserve space (and computers, if necessary) whenever the impulse hit them. Otherwise they would have to email to see if there was space available (and wait for a response) or stop in during the school day. There was no reason for that!  I created a Google Calendar and set up appointment slots with all of our periods listed. They click on the time/day they want and hit save. Voila! The only problem is that they can't cancel the appointment - we have to do it. But I'll take it!

As for sharing resources, well... I don't think that happened so much. I found a way to embed all of my diigo tags on the site so that they would automatically update. I even set up some cute tabs across the top that were subject specific:

I'm guessing that no one ever clicked on one. But I could be wrong (though I doubt it).

On Friday one of the teachers (who is very tech savvy) emailed to suggest I create a repository for all of the resources that I've been sending. She didn't want to lose track of them if she didn't have a chance to check something out immediately.  So I responded, reminding her of the site, and told her I was keeping everything there too. I was able to embed my Google Drive folder of all the resources and how-tos I've put together for them on one of the tabs.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

We have a staff meeting tomorrow; I'm thinking of sharing this with them (again). Just as a little reminder. :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Resources, Take 2

I just sent some resources out to the teachers (and I'm excited to use them, too!). I totally agree with the comments that were left on my last post; I'm going to send specific department links to that department only (but I don't think I'll get to it this week... to much little stuff to do).

Need to combine pdf's into one file?  Try http://www.pdfmerge.com/
Need to split pdf's into separate files?  Try http://www.splitpdf.com/
Want to type or write on a pdf?  Try http://www.pdfescape.com/
If you are a user of Google Forms but haven't checked them out lately, you need to! Google has added some fun new themes and added customization. You can now change fonts, background colors, and add your own image to the header. (Go to your drive, then Create -> Form)
On that note, any data that is collected in Google Forms ends up in a Spreadsheet. But I just discovered an add-on called "Save As Doc" that will take all of your spreadsheet data and turn it into a Google Doc.  This converts your info into a much more readable format. (In your spreadsheet, go to Add-Ons -> Get Add-Ons, then search for Save as Doc)

I'm excited to be heading to a math classroom tomorrow to help him with some of the Desmos activities. Woo hoo!