Monday, August 24, 2015

3 Tools For The First Day

As many of you know, a new school year is upon us. Like most teachers I do take some time off. However, most of my summer is dedicated to teaching at a unique school that does not use overwhelming technology tools with students. The philosophy of the school is to kindle communication through socialization and vocational education. Allow me to rephrase that, we teach students to use different technology tools to provide tangible results, such as various hand tools, carpentry tools, various farm equipment, and the most important tool, your own voice for communication. As I start my new school year, I  reflect on my summer experiences and the emerging tech I used last year. Here is a quick list of tools I plan to use on day one with my students.

Socrative: This is a great student response tool, but on the first day, I plan to have a space race with some basic science questions and few tricky logic questions thrown in there. I'm not sure what the winning team will get yet. It will most likely be something simple, like some big hero 6 stickers or frozen stickers. Who knows, maybe I'll award them with some impromptu poppin'.

Google Classroom: I use Google classroom as my virtual classroom. It doesn't have as many public features and parental involvement options like schoology might have, but it is a nice tool to streamline google apps. I use Google classroom to share my course syllabus, any paperwork that needs to get home, and of course for classroom discussions and assignments. I find it to be a very simple way to create a pseudo virtual classroom.

Google Maps/Earth: I teach earth science. This is a solid tool for almost everything in earth science. I have students make maps for climate, weather, natural resources, geology, plate tectonics, stream morphology...etc. I would argue that this is my "workbook" for my classroom. On day one, we will make a map of our local area naming mountains, lakes, rivers, streams...etc. It's a fun activity to introduce the tool for more than stalking a friend on street view. I group Earth and Maps together because they talk to each other fairly well, and each tool offers it's own strengths. I won't go into the two here (keep an eye out for a future post.)

The final tool we will use will guessed it, our own voices for communication. It's an underestimated piece of technology, yet, many students forget how to use this tool and forget how to interact face-to-face. So, I have a unique challenge planned out, one that takes away your sight and only relies on your voice to communicate your needs. Lets face it, as a student you need to be able to voice your concerns, otherwise you're left behind, even though we aren't supposed to leave any child behind, so if you learn to communicate Every Child Achieves.

Day 2 will be saved for all the boring paperwork, developing classroom expectations, discussing the "no grading" grading policy, discussing my "no homework" homework policy, and most importantly discussing the expectation to have fun while learning.

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