Today, for example, I was all over the place. An ideal perk of our district is that we are in one, beautiful K-12 building. For a person like me, this means it's incredibly simple to foster collaboration amongst teachers and students and across grade levels. It also affords me the opportunity to get the most out of my day with virtually no travel time between bookings. (Except, of course, my 'three minutes to pee'). Here are just a few highlights of my very busy day!
I had the pleasure of working with the nicest bunch of 4th and 5th grade gifted readers in our elementary again today, making final changes to their Prezi booktalks. If you don't currently use Prezi, you should. As with any presentation program, it can be easily overused, but with the right use, think of it as a PowerPoint or Keynote on steroids. It allows for exceptional creativity in a venue that's just a step above that traditional presentation software. What's better is the ability to tap into your Prezi from any internet device, including i-devices (free in the App Store).
After that, I quickly buzzed into kindergarten to work on letter sound review with another of our terrific teachers. One of my favorites for this is Sound Sorting: Beginning Sounds. Not only can you have kids select certain sounds to match your letter of the week, etc... but you can challenge kids to make their own choices for sounds to work on.
The app is a mere $.99 and is visually appealing, has sound effects that don't make you want to tear your hair out, and contains audio support for picture identification. I highly recommend it for students who are learning letter sounds and matching objects by beginning letters.
Three class periods of my day today were spent with freshmen and their physical science teacher, a good friend and fellow blogger (check out her new blog here). Joy and I worked over break to develop some powerful lessons for her kids. We want them thinking deeper, examining their own learning, and taking more ownership for their academic and personal goals. With a post from an Edutopia article as a springboard, we decided to have kids create an e-book about their goals, learning styles, and plans for making academic gains. We found an online resource that provided questionnaires for the above components. Joy, then, made a fantastic rubric for each to follow and placed them on her class Moodle page. The best venue for this e-book, we felt, was Flipsnack. If you haven't scoped out this resource, please do. I have used it (FREE) for years, and I truly love the interactive features that make it about as close to a tangible book than almost anything I've used. It's shareable, embeddable, and something you can access and edit any time (from an internet capable device).
The kids seemed genuinely intrigued by such an endeavor, and got busy right away taking their "selfies" for their cover. While "work" for most kids is something they dread, and they have a tendency to whine when being made to think, we heard a lot of talk and many giggles as they began answering their survey questions and pondering how they might actually learn. Some even came the realization that they don't, in fact, learn by osmosis by shoving the science book under their pillow... (who knew??)
So, it's Friday night. I'm kicking my feet up and preparing to dig into a plate full of saucy ribs that have been slowly roasting to perfection all day. My kids aren't pounding on each other, my dog is lazily snoring on his pillow, I am sipping on a killer glass of Moscato, and I'm again reminded that it's great being me...