Thursday, August 8, 2013

Inspiring quotes, Inspiring students

17Fn recently posted a comment on a post on my other blog (Teach 'em How To Fish) that was Gandhi's quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

She said, "And recently, thinking backing on it Mr. Warkentin, I realize you were a big influence on my continued growth towards having a love of reading, writing, and environmental activism. Please keep doing what you did. You never know how many more you may unwittingly inspire by living as the change you wish to see."


Of course, this is a huge shot in the arm  as a teacher, since we all have seasons of our career that are more inspiring than others. The year I had 17FN in my class was one of the best years of my career, I would have to say. Since then, I have had a few very difficult years.

It was great to read the comment, but also great to browse over some of my thoughts from previous posts. The quotes that were important to me, and things I was learning at that time... Now at a season that is very stressful for a teacher-the beginning of the school year.

Some other powerful quotes from that blog:
“In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.“ – Eric Hoffer
This was a quote that I found 17 years ago, when I was student teaching. It is true now, more than ever, since I am now in the midst of very significant change:

  1. Shifting to Common Core Standards
  2. New principal & admin
  3. New grade level teaching partners
  4. New grade level (although I've taught 4th grade years ago)
  5. Some new technologies that I want to use in my classroom regularly
    1. my own teacher iPad
    2. class sets of iPod Touches to share
    3. class sets of iPads to share
    4. Edmodo

And, finally, a post about Digital Natives-Digital Immigrants had some good stuff in it.
"We need to educate our children for their future, not our past." - Arthur C. Clark

This was inspiring, given the list above! This gives me energy and more inspiration, especially when I would be tempted to enter into these things more slowly. While it's wise to not bite off more than I can chew, I shouldn't be more timid than I need to be.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Edmodo 101

Here are my notes from the Edmodo session I attended. There will be incomplete sentences and outline-format ideas here. Enjoy this with taht in mind:

It's like Facebook for schools
It's a "walled garden": a protected, safe social networking environment
Students can't go "out" and make friends. They can't even connect to other classes that I set up, unless I configure it that way.
Teachers see everything, can monitor everything.

No email address necessary (good for younger-than-13-year-olds)
Write their username and password in their agendas/daily planner
Teachers can change their usernames/passwords

1. Polls is a good option - a good way to use cell phones acceptably in school
Edmodo's Poll function might be a great way to to check for understanding, both mid-lesson, or at end of longer lesson/unit

2. Assignments (classwork/homework)
3. Tests & Quizzes
Multiple-choice questions - Students see scores instantly!
Fill-in - students must type in EXACTLY what you typed in
Short answer - teacher must grade
all is paperless, though! :)

4. Student and Teacher Collaboration
Huge potential for this. Hard to fully convey in a verbal conversation.
I think I'm just going to have to jump in to fully understand how this can work, and grasp the full potential of what this tool can do.


Had a fantastic talk with the folks at the Edmodo booth in the Exhibit hall.
Very encouraged to see how folders can work.
For example, if there is a resource in a group I'm a part of (like Basal Alignment Project) that I want to share, I can share that resource with my teacher colleagues by sharing it with a group that we are all in.
Then, if a teacher wants to use that resource with his/her students, the resource can be shared with a group for just that class or period.

The chat/discussion feature is fantastic. I can choose the settings so that any comment that a student posts has to go through me first. This makes me, the teacher, the filter, so that I can teach my students about online netiquette...what is appropriate and what is not, how to make wise decisions about their online footprint, etc.

With all of these powerful features, I naturally had some anxiety about my class/school/district/etc investing time and energy in understanding and using Edmodo, and then it becoming a fee-based service, since many free online services have gone this way. The rep assured me that they "are free and always will be".


I will probably update this blog post as I continue to talk more with the folks at their booth, and rub shoulders with other teachers that have used this tool with their students and colleagues.

Google Sites: Simple, Yet Sensational

Thanks to those planning on attending my session “Google Sites: Simple, yet Sensational

I hope that you gained (will gain) some inspiration about creating a Google Sites for your classroom website, or perhaps another purpose.

Whether you attend or not, I hope you can use my presentation, which can be found here.

It covers:

Creating a new Site
Name vs. URL
Types of New Pages (Web page, File Cabinet, Blog)
Layout of New Pages
Live Links
Sidebar (Automatically or Manually)
Upload files (non-File Cabinet way)
Embedding Google Products
Embedding other things (HTML embed code)
Sharing (various degrees of privacy/publishing)

Examples will be shared

Live Demo and Q + A at the end

Rubik's Cube Instructions in JavaScript

Can Rubik's Cubes fit in Computer Science or Math?  I say YES! Read on to find out why. This past summer, I learned how to solve several...