Equipping Schools with Tech: Interview with Eric Sheninger - Shelly Terrell
I Know Now - Lyn Hilt
I used to think students should sit in rows. (Made it harder for them to chit chat while I was imparting wisdom on them.) Now I know they should sit...stand...hang...together. (Makes it easier for them to talk and learn from one another.)
I used to think I needed to cite standards in my lesson plans. (This handy-dandy cheat sheet will help me quickly identify standard 2.1!) Now I know we should evaluate the standards, using them to guide instruction, yet allow students to pursue their passions. (What does this learning mean for you, children?)
I used to think my good ideas should stay in my classroom. (I worked hard developing those lessons!) Now I know more students will benefit from the expertise of teachers who share. (Collective genius. Sharing is caring.)
I used to think I never had enough time. (Lesson plans...grading papers...surviving...) Now I know it’s important to work smarter, not harder. (Make time for the things that matter most.)
I used to think a child who scored poorly on an assessment didn’t study hard enough. (They had a study guide one week in advance! What is the deal with that kid?) Now I know a student who doesn’t perform well on an assessment does not have the problem. (The teacher does.)
I used to think sitting down with a parent was scary. (They’re older than me! They’re parents, for crying out loud! What could I possibly know that they don’t?) Now I know talking with parents about their children is enlightening and meaningful. (Parents are tremendous assets to every school.)
I used to think in-services were an opportunity for me to address my staff about important issues. (If I’m going to wear a suit to work, I may as well stand up in front of you with this PowerPoint presentation!) Now I know that I am not comfortable spending 6 hours of the day leading professional development sessions in which teachers have little ownership. (Let them lead the way).
The Principal's New Clothes: A Lesson in Relationships and Measurement- Kelly Alford
Our school has a new principal! We are blessed to have a principal that loves to visit our classrooms. I think building a report with children is so important, especially for the principal. Students need to see the principal as an important part of our building , not just a person that sits in the office all day…and Mr. Ellis is just that type of principal!
Mr. Ellis asked if he could come in and read to the students, of course we all invited him in. Watching him read the stories and interact with the kids was great…I got the feeling that this is the right fit for this principal and the kids LOVED it.
After he finished reading the book I asked him if he would mind if we took some measurements so we could make him some new clothes. I let the students decide which measurements we needed and they decided on the arm length, leg length, the chest and the hips…that was it. Part of me wanted to push for more measurements, but I wanted the students to have to think critically, so we wrote these measurements down. As they were taking the measurements, Mr. Ellis and I both knew that they were not correct, but again, I wanted the students to figure that out on their own. We thanked Mr. Ellis and after he left the room we started our creations.
I love this activity because students learn, in a meaningful way, what it means to create items using a scale. We have been looking at several maps of Michigan, so to help them understand what a scale was we started talking about our maps and I asked,”Is this how big Michigan is?” It took a little discussion, but we finally agreed that Michigan was much larger than the maps we had. Many students started to see that these maps were all different sizes…after some searching one student found the map scale at the bottom of one of the maps…and the light bulbs came on! After learning about map scales I said that is what we are going to have to do to Mr. Ellis…we need to shrink his measurements.
The Descember Issue
For our December Issue, we would love to hear about your favorite web tool and how you have used in in the classroom. December will be the time for all of the teachers to show off a bit and share their great lessons with the world. If you have an awesome lesson using a great web-tool that other teachers should consider using, please type up a post or share an older post with us at ProjectPLN10@gmail.com
or send us a tweet with a link to the post. The more we share as teachers, the better we will all be. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Nick and Kelly