The Litmus Student

studentAs an educator, over the years, you wonder if you are actually making a difference daily. Are you increasing the production of students’ dendrites? Every teacher unconsciously looks for the student, usually the (static) ‘smart one’, to see if learning is occurring; or to verify that all actions towards learning isn’t futile.

I charge teachers to select not the brightest but someone (dynamic) else to target learning goal/objective achievement. This is the ‘litmus’ student. The best one would be selected randomly each day or each quarter. Just a quick informal feedback to self to see what is really going on in the classroom.

Luddite Educator (The New Oxymoron)

Sounds like a great title for a book or movie, eh? Here I am on my 2013 Spring Break dropping a few thoughts on some educators that exist that are still resistant from making the leap to embracing anything that requires electricity (other than the overhead projector) to support classroom instruction. Hey… Maybe it is a stigma to be a nerd and geek at the same time. What do you think?

I know a few awesome teachers that use none or minimal technology in their classrooms and are still effective. However, my question is how long will the routine of the luddite educator routine last when teaching millenials? IMHO, I believe that BYOD (the straw that breaks the camel back) will be the catalyst to promote the transformation.

There are many resources out there to help resistant educators to observe and try out new things in small increments. It is a fact that you only fear what you have very little or no knowledge of, therefore there is where you and I come in to share information such as TPACK to give an organized strategy in merging the use of technology and teaching pedagogy. This leads to my next blog post, if in 2020 if you are still considered a luddite educator, would your action of refusing to deal with technology be considered resistance or rebellion?

Student inventories are done, now what?

On the first day of school, I usually have my students complete a student inventory worksheet. This worksheet allows me to get to know them. Last year, I attempted to create a spreadsheet to organize this data. Unfortunately I got inundated with other school related stuff. So this year, I am going to at least go through ten per day for each class and quiz myself by having brief conversations with my students with the related the information from the student inventory. Yes, a successful execution with its intended purpose…

2012-2013: Immediate Reflection – End of 1st Week

What went well: Students are following routine of entering classroom and completing warmup immediately. Lessons pace are  smooth. Taking time to learn students names on the first day paid off as usual.

Proof: Completion of work that I have to grade this weekend! I was able to recall students names when speaking to them at opening football game. (I impressed myself!)

What did not: One of my blocks is behind a day due to schedule challenges with assemblies and a few students still “not getting it”. Will catch them up next week. Noticed some students are not used to group work and had difficulty in participating in interacting with other students. I will not give up on them!

Proof: Executed two activities that required student movement and interaction and on an average, maybe 40% students from all three blocks participated without being encouraged.

Action (What I MUST change for Monday): Maintain pace and allow students to see the measurement of their learning from pre/post testing for the rest of this unit and the others. Also review classroom limits and procedures. Need to survey students to gauge their interests on my lessons.

Next reflection update: At end of December