After 2 months of getting used to my job as a technology coach, I’m back in the classroom teaching French. I have taken over 2 of the 3 classes that I taught for 2 weeks at the beginning of the year. Yes I thought I was done…guess I wasn’t! I’m telling myself that I will be in this position until the end of the school year to get my mind right. Like I told the students, the only thing that we can control in this situation is how we react. I’m trying to emulate flexibility for them. I have a lot of work to do to reign the back in and classroom management will be a challenge. But I am staying positive and hoping that I will also be able to be an example to other teachers for how to meaningfully integrate the iPad into lessons. We shall see 🙂
We (the technology coaches) started going into the elementary classrooms last week to give mini-iPad lessons before the students get their iPads. I’ve been in classrooms from KG1 (3-5 yr olds) to grade 3. It’s definitely been a learning experience! We’ll continue to go into ES classrooms throughout the next week. I’ll also be subbing for the Language B department head Sunday through Tuesday. I’ll be teaching her DP1 and DP2 classes. Guess I wasn’t quite done 😉
We’ve also started planning PD for the teachers. We asked teachers to complete a needs survey so we could tailor our offerings throughout the year.
About half of our staff completed the survey and @MrLaymanSS made a nice infographic in order to share the results with the admin team.
Starting on Monday, we’ll be offering staff 3 levels of iPad Tips & Tricks and teachers will be ablle to choose which they’d like to attend. I’ll be facilitating the level 3 sessions…any iPad or iOS6 tips & tricks would be much appreciated!
I’ve been working on a Google presentation (will share later), but today I decided to download the Reflection App. I tried the free version first and went to my twitter PLN before paying the $15 to get the full version. I got good input (merci beaucoup!) and decided to go for it. It seems completely worth the price and I’m eager to experiment with it! The first video I created is for my upcoming level 3 PD showing teachers how to create an appointment in the calendar app. Would love feedback 🙂 Enjoy!
Today is my first school day in just over 3 years that I am not teaching French. Wow…that’s a pretty big statement! Although it feels good to no longer be the short term teacher this year, it’s also a little weird to think about!
Luckily we have a great middle school French teacher who invited me to come into her classroom this morning. Her students are learning how to interact with people they’ve just met. I “surprised” the teacher by popping into her class. We then told the students that I only spoke French (they were a little suspicious when they asked my nationality 😉 and they proceeded to ask me questions and get to know me a little better. It was fun to pretend and an awesome idea on the part of the teacher! The class seemed to enjoy it and I hope it helped them learn a little too. I’ll be going back this afternoon to surprise another class 🙂
I just taught my last class as a temporary French teacher at AIS 🙂 The new teacher arrived on Tuesday morning, shadowed me yesterday & today and will take over her full schedule (my 3 classes plus another French and a Spanish) on Sunday. It feels great to be done and I’m ready to be 100% committed to being a Technology Coach. I am, however, grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know some of the students at our school. In total, I now know 51 students in grade 9, 10 & 11. It was also nice to meet the Language B teachers and speak French. The head of department (HOD) also asked me if I would be willing to sub for her later in the year. This wasn’t the start I had envisioned for my school year, but overall I’m glad I had the opportunity to help the school 🙂
The fact that I am not teaching does NOT mean that I’ll stop collaborating with teachers across the world. I’m incredibly eager to introduce the staff to Twitter and the myriad of learning opportunities awaiting them and their students. If you are interested in class exchanges (for any subject & grade level), please contact me! We have 200 teachers and 1800 students to keep busy with iPads 🙂
Quick edit: it was incredibly interesting to be in a classroom in Kuwait as everything is going on near the US Embassy’s in our general vicinity. It was refreshing to have a conversation with students who can acknowledge that what the Americans did who made the movie was horribly wrong…but also that the response by some people in the Muslim states is juste as wrong. It’s not all Americans and it’s not all Muslims…and it’s too bad that a few people represent all of us.
The week after our full day of professional development, I was out for 2 days. It seems like I’ve been out a lot lately 😦 (2 days for international job fair, 1 day for PD, these 2 days…). Usually it seems nothing productive gets done when I’m not physically in the classroom, especially because the students are supposed to be learning French. I usually have them do independent work, partner work, speaking exercises and watch movies. [Luckily my content tends quite well to movies! My students really enjoyed Asterix & Obelix and we were able to have some great discussion about White Material during Black History Month.] This time I decided to experiment with having my students use the Chromebooks while I was gone.
Students’ homework was to bring their headphones to class with them. I also explained to each class that they would be using the Chromebooks and I would be giving them more responsibility than I’d ever given other groups of students. I told them to make me proud and that I looked forward to bragging about them when I came back. I stayed completely positive and emphasized how much responsibility they were going to be given.
I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with the sub the day before I was absent. This made me feel so much better since I was leaving her with so much responsibility! Here is an excerpt from the letter I left my sub…
Students will be using Chromebooks today and tomorrow. Ms. Smith will come open the Chromebook cart. I have written the number they will be using on the roster next to their names (in yellow). I have also noted if they have turned in their user agreement (in orange). Please collect (and record) any missing agreements and encourage them to turn them in ASAP (there are extra copies). Each student will have a task list/assignment sheet in his/her email. The two allowed sites are their google mail/docs & my.hrw.com (I have printed out their usernames & passwords in case they forgot). They should ask you if they need to go to any other sites.
1. Get Chromebooks. Log in to their email. Open the file I’ve shared with them (assignment sheet). Do as much work as possible.
2. Put Chromebooks away correctly (do not plug in).
3. Please remind them to send me an email. They should tell me a) how much work they got done, b) how hard they worked and c) questions they have.
I made assignment documents for each of my classes (French 2 block & French 2 year long). About 30 minutes before their class period, I shared each document with them.
The biggest differences between being absent in the past and being absent this time were that I was able to see their work (in real time) and that I was able to communicate with them. At the end of the class period, students emailed me their progress. The evening of day 1, I read all the emails and emailed back any of my students who had questions. I LOVED how this worked and I am so excited to now be able to brag about my students! Our high school sometimes gets a bad rap but I always love to tell people how wonderful my students are. We have a great relationship (one of the most important classroom management strategies I’ve learned in 2.5 years) and they are (usually) wonderful 🙂