Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Ideal School

When asked to construct a picture of my ideal school and classroom, the following description came to mind: The school would have an aesthetically appealing buildout. Many schools appear to be reconstructed prison camps, for lack of a better reference, from the outside. I would like to create an environment that children and their parents enjoy visiting. The play yard will be outfitted with sports equipment and large, muck like the grass area at Mariners Church. We will also have a school garden. Not a priority, but live animals would b a great addition and connection for sciences across the grade levels. I don't have much of a preference on front office and classroom orientation, as long as all of the classrooms have access to the same technology and size. No portables on the other side of campus. As far as the inside of the classroom is concerned, the student desks would be LARGE. Not in terms of storage area, as little will be permitted to be 'stored' away inside the desk, but a large workspace. The students would sit in collaborative groups. My class size would be 15 students - small enough for individual focus, yet large enough to create a classroom community. The classroom rules would be agreed upon in a democratically modeled process at the onset of the school year. The classroom will promote the democratic environment for voting, participation on every given school day. Each week would introduce a new community or global issue and the students will be given time in a small group, as well as whole class to propose solutions for the issue by the end of the week. Technology would be threaded into the curriculum. By 4th grade, students will be laptop based in a partially flipped classroom. The idea would be not to lose the students who just aren't doing the work at home, entirely. Technology will be understood as a supportive tool for their learning, as well as an enhancement to the preexisting features, such as in the area of reading. The students will also be instructed on the curriculum for technology such as introduction to tools, software an applications for their productive use as well as in the area of coding, for website development. The students will each use a blog as their classroom, interactive journal. Parents will respond to their blog posts on the forum. Eventually, I would have website coding threaded into the writing curriculum for students. Throw out cursive hand writing instruction and toss in keyboard shortcuts and typing skills. The students will leave the classroom each day with their chin up; they feel their time has been valued and they have learned more they can DO with once they leave the classroom. In my ideal classroom setting, I will be a favorite among the students. An approachable mentor. An inspiring teacher.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Video Animation - Our "Current" Age of Education

RSA Animate - Click Here to Watch!

How do we educate our children so they have a sense of cultural identity?
I watched a great video animation (awesome tool for a marketing, professional, educational audience - very engaging) that spoke on our current educational system. 
It claims the current system of education was designed for a different age: for the intellectual culture of the enlightenement and the industrial revolution. It views public education as a system set up with two distinct pillars: economic and intellectual and that this model has developed chaos. 

Another interesting component to the video is the connection of the ADHD plague to the traditional format of classroom school settings and the larger divide from the outside simulations the child is accustomed to receiving.  Students are getting medicated because they are increasingly 'hyperactive' in the classroom, when really they are just bored. I'd love to hear your thoughts. 
My thoughts: we have to think differently about human capacity. Collaboration is the stuff of growth. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Tool to Provide Tech Inventory for Common Core

Online testing for all students on common academic standard achievement could arrive sooner than we think: New Tool to Provide Tech Inventory for Common Core.

Thoughts to consider: Will this type of testing overwhelm district infrastructure?
Where will the $$ come from?
How will this impact those states still deciding on adoption of Common Core Standards (currently @45 states, with Minnesota, the 46th only opting for ELA standards).

Monday, June 25, 2012

ED 240 - Technology

Today is the first day of eD 240 - and I am excited to learn about the many ways I can integrate technology into my teaching. I have a particular passion for SCIENCE and this is an area that is advanced with the ability to connect the students to life happening outside the classroom. Therefore, the web is a powerful tool for videos and other visual aids to assist students in making these connections! I am also particularly fascinated about early reading instruction and the iPad software programs that have been developed and has assisted thousands and millions of new readers. Technology is a powerful tool!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 - In Recap

Well, ALOT has happened since my last entry, I'll try to bridge the gap with a brief little recap.
I traveled to Chicago and ran the best marathon of my life - more than a 3 minute PR, coming in at 3:35:26.....yes for all you Boston Marathon scholars, exactly 26 seconds short of a spot in Boston, given their new time requirements. Bummer? Yes. But I was too psyched on a PR, and our wedding which was just 11 short days after.We got married at The Condor's Nest Ranch and it was a day truly above any other. From there, the Mitchell newlyweds took off first class to Kauai, for a stay in Princeville. Relaxing, romantic, perfect. We got home, finished moving in together...and unwrapping wedding presents and started construction on our Christmas Tree Lot, which we ran along with our full-time jobs for twenty-eight consecutive days. A successful season; installing stands, delivering trees, marketing, late nights, loading cars, fast food three times a day, zero working out and meeting new customers and returning customers. Then, we brushed off the pine needles, donated our remaining trees, locked up the gate and left Newport at midnight to hit the trails of Cottonwood Arizona, hunting on Christmas Day. We spent 4 relaxing days there, then took Fargo's buck home in tow to catch a flight from LAX to Indiana for a winter wedding honoring his older brother (Steve & Jen). Phew. Today, it's January 2nd, 2012 and I can't wait to tell you what's in store for this year!