Rules For Posting To This Blog and Weekly Blog Question

1. Only use your first name (no last names, addresses, IM screen names, etc.)
2. Show respect and consideration of others when posting and commenting. This includes individuals, students, organizations, political parties, colleagues, etc.
3. Check all posts for spelling and grammar errors before posting.
4. Protect the privacy of others. Gain permission from other people before you write about them. Avoid sharing someone else's last name. Use job titles or pseudonyms when writing about experiences with your co-workers or students.
5. Watch your language. Use politically correct and non-offensive language.
6. Make sure you write about things that are factual.
7. Keep your postings education-oriented. Avoid discussing plans for the weekend, etc.

This week I would like you to use your imagination. You have just won the lottery and will leave your teaching post immediately to travel around the world. As you leave your keys you meet your replacement. You are asked to give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice. What would that be, and why? Enjoy your world expedition!

Blog Post - Week 7
This past week in my own teaching I felt a little disconnected which prompts my question to you, "What was the moment (or moments) when I felt most disconnected or disengaged as a teacher - the moment(s) I said to myself, I'm just going through the motions here?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 6
For the past couple of weeks you have experienced asynchronous online learning (doing modules by yourself). Previously this semester you have experienced synchronous online learning (all together in the Collaborate room). Which do you think is more effective and why do you think that? Which do you like better, and why?

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 5
This week we have what we call "open mic." You can write a post about anything related to your teaching that you would like responses from your classmates.

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 4
Here is this week's question: "What was the event that most took me surprise this week - and event that shook me up, caught me off guard, gave me a jolt, or made me unexpectedly happy?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 3
Please write a post about the following question, "In thinking about my past week teaching what is one thing I would do differently, and why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 2
Please write a post about the following question, " In thinking about my teaching activities this past week, of what do I feel most proud? Why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 1
Describe something you used in your program in the first weeks of school that you learned in the summer NTI program. How did it work? Did it get you off to a stronger start than last year?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Open Mic................... where do I start????

This year has been so much better than the rest but for some reason the challenges seem to only get worse. I work so hard to find variables for the students, I want to make sure that the learning styles of all can be reached.Putting in many hours of overtime to work with the students, taking time away from your own family to attend events and preparing students for competitions. But what do you do when you feel you are not get any support from your administration staff? Our school in the past had a warm family feeling and now it seems so divided. Everyone seem so unhappy which I think trickles down to the students. I feel that the low teacher moral in the building is effecting our students. In a school the students are the most important then the teachers, but where is the support? Its so sad when you see many veteran teachers unhappy, these are the ones we (new teachers) depend on, if they start leaving education where will it all go???? I am really concerned because I see so many changes that are not for the betterment of the kids. It seems that everyone is out for themselves!!!!!!!

No Work?!?!?!?!

One of the issues that I am having, actually this isn't new, but students not turning in work. Especially with projects that we work on, and sometimes spend days in the media center, but no visual work is produced. I have tried having students journal, initial areas of completion, reporting the status of their project, and trying to follow up with them frequently, only to have them say, "I don't have it". I would much rather a student turn in incomplete work or SOMETHING, rather than nothing at all. This tells me the student believes their time in the media center or time in the classroom was completely uneventful and useless. I think this goes back to their perception of consequences too because at the end of the grading period they are asking why their grade was so low. I recently gave a student a generous extension of time to complete a project, in front of her mother no less, and she still did nothing. I know this goes back to work ethic, professionalism, productivity, etc. But how can I instill in students the importance of completing tasks?

open mic

Open Mic:

This school year has been different in more ways than one. I have tried new teaching methods and behavior methods. I feel like I hit the ground running. However, I feel like I am treading water. There is not enough time in the day to complete all the planning, admin. work, and teaching. I feel completely drained when I walk out of the building. In turn, I don't think I give enough to my students or family and isn't that what we got in this profession to do? Maybe someone has some ideas for time management or just some shortcuts. I have never been the person to take shortcuts but it is catching up to me now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Open Mic

Today, I tried something different with my fourth period class. We played a game which is called, You Be the Judge. First, I had my class get into six groups with four people in each group. The game is played with cards that have different court case scenarios. I gave each group about thirty different cards in which each card had a different scenario. The groups had to answer the question to the scenario, did the court find for or against the defendant? I had the first group read their scenario and the second group answers the question. If the second group got the correct answer, they received one point and would read the next question to the third group. If they missed the correct answer, they did not receive any points, and the third group would read the next question to the fourth group. This method of rotation kept going until the end of the period.
It was amazing how involved each student became in the reading and answering of each question. Using this simple game turned out to be a great teaching and learning experience not only for the students but also for me.

Open Mic

I would have to say that teaching an independent study class has been the most challenging of my teaching experience thus far. Keeping this group of kids engaged is turning my hair gray by the minute. It isn't that there is lack of work to do, it's lack interest on the part of the students. Perhaps the projects I assign aren't interesting enough. A friend suggested that during down time, I should have the students "log editing hours." When they have completed their part of an assignment, they can use that time to practice editing. They can also do the same for "logging video hours" when they practice different camera tricks. I hope to implement this next week.

I have given them a lot of latitude. I let them choose their own video projects, but all they want to do is watch videos made by other people. I encourage them to emulate the videos they enjoy so much, but it's like pulling teeth. I am very disappointed in this class. I had a lot of high expectations because I would have a good sized class of third year students, and I've been let down. I'm convinced that these students just don't care because three years ago, they signed up for a class that had no rules or boundaries. I don't think I can rehabilitate these students. There's a handful who want to do well, but most just aren't motivated.

All of you video broadcast teachers! Give me everything you have for 3rd year students, the independent study class. I need suggestions; I need ideas; I need a miracle!

Monday, October 27, 2008

What worked, what didn't

Starting off this new school year, I was determined to make learning the History of Mass Media fun and interesting. Last year I heard too many times, "Why do we need to learn about Morse code?" I never really had a good answer other than it is the precursor to radio. This year, I had it all planned out... thanks to our Integrating Technology Daily Lesson Plan activity from this summer. The students were to log on to the computers, pull up a web site and read a page on Morse code. Then they come back to their seats and I give them a worksheet that I devised all by myself on how to translate Morse code. Students were to write a short sentence, and based on the Morse code provided on the sheet, they were to write out their sentence in the dot dash fashion. We would tap out the sentences and try to figure out each others sentence. Cool!

What went wrong? My set induction - a skit from the Jay Leno show about Text Messaging vs. Morse Code that proved Morse is faster than texting - was blocked by our school's network, so I had nothing (until a week later). The computers, having recently been plugged back in due to renovations over the summer, were not working properly. This took up a lot of time. By the time everyone finished reading the web page and started the activity, it was nearly time to go. The students had a hard time grasping the concept of the dots and dashes and how to express them by tapping them out. Basically, I got a full class of blank stares. Sounds like a new Nurse Ratchett scenario.

Class Activities

I worked with a journalism class this week trying to publish the school's first newspaper in print and on the school's web site. It is amazing how much talent these students have, especially their creativeness. students were put into groups and given different assignments. Some of the groups were to make pictures, some to do interviews, while others did art work. The art work that these students produced was amazing, and the interviews were very interesting. From the intrviews we learn so much about different cultures and different countries. We have students form twenty nine different countries. Also, we got to know some very interesting things about our teachers. However, the most important thing is that the students had so much fun doing this project. I can't wait to see the final product.

What didn't go well.
Once every semester our students do a theme. This semester they are doing a medival theme. all of our classes are involved in this project. The project is headed up by the language arts department and they coordinate with the history department, math department, music department, science department, and engineering department. The students build catapults, castles, bow and arrows, and other items that were used in this era. The school is working with Medieval Times at Discovery Mall to set up this project there. There will be music and other activities that day. Our students will be there all day. The problem is it is going to cost $30.
00 per student and some of the students cannot afford it. We are $5000.00 short. I was assigned the job of coming up with the $5000.00.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Activity that Did Not Work

I was teaching my Level 1 class about the healthcare delivery system.  In particular, I assigned homework last Wednesday that the students were to bring to class on Friday and use as their entry into class.  Only 2 students handed it to me upon entry - out of 2 classes.  Most did not complete it.  I ended up allowing them time in class to complete it.  I think I'll take off points for the students who did not complete it prior to class.  Hopefully this will show them that the activity was serious and worthy of completion. What I'm disappointed about was the fact that I reminded them each day that they should bring the assignment as entry into class on Friday.  Also, I never give homework assignments, so I'm disappointed that the one homework assignment they have, they did not complete.  No one said at that time that they had computer issues at home or any other issue that would prevent them from completing the activity.  One student even commented, "why would I want to complete it if I could have the chance to NOT come to class on Friday.  I reminded him of the alternative to coming to class - office, ISS, etc.  It would not be a free day.  Of course, he was one of the students who did not bring it to class as instructed.  I think when I try this again, I will stress the consequences of not completing it as instructed.  INstead of using the class time to discuss the individual comments, we used it to continue research and was not able to have the discussion (which would have led to an additional review for their test on tomorrow).

Penny's Activity Gone Wrong

So just last week I tried demonstrating a new software program to my advanced class of juniors and seniors. Nobody had used the program before but I had tortured them the previous weeks with hand drawing so they were ready to use the computers. As soon as I started my lesson my projector bulb blew out. With none available in my lab or the media center I was out of luck. So, the vultures in the class began the "what are we going to do now" chants....

After a brief period of "oh no" I decided to change my plan. I divided the class into small groups according to where they were seated (computer stations) and assigned a "quick sketch" assignment while I demonstrated an easy skill on the computer to one of the groups. I cycled around to each group and it worked. I moved as quick as possible to prevent any whining. :)

So - my materials planned did not work (and the overall lesson plan) but my solution did.

Activity for My Students

On last week my students were to interview several teachers and students regarding school uniforms. The students were to complete a storyboard and come up with questions for their particular groups. The objective was to see how teachers and students like wearing school uniforms. For the most part the students were on task conducting interviews with the assigned students and teacher.

I was real impressed with some of the students and their abilities to create storyboards and to conduct sound interviews. This activity was set up for students to complete in two class periods. Unfortunately some of the students lost interest in what we were doing and decided not to participate. I would like to conduct this activity again but I would have to find a way to keep other students engaged.

Classroom Activity

This semester I assigned projects dealing with the Gun violence in the United States the students had to do a research paper, Visual aid poster or Powerpoint was also needed with the paper. Also I assigned for reqirement a Word citited page. Some of my students enjoyed the work and research and gained good knowledege from stats and the UCR - uniform crime report. The displayed their information and verbally submitted their projects to the class. On the other hand I had students who didn't try or make a good effort towards their projects. I reward the students who took their time with gifts like notebooks, pens, jumpdrives and highlighters. This caused the students who received a bad grade to get an attitude with me and the other students. I was very surprised with the response. I'm not sure if I would do this again.

4th and 5th week post

Earlier in the year I had an activity where student were given a list of well known documentary film makers. Their mission was to research each and then create a movie poster of each film makers film which was given to them as well. Using Power Point they really got into the assignment. The students knew that there was going to be judging by their classmates in a gallery like setting. The student had to decide which of their posters they wanted to be judged.  I placed the paper rubric scales in front of each computer. Then students walked around and rated each poster, then a winner was chosen. Overall it went well. Some students just didn't get it but I worked with them and they understood. I will use this again and make others based off this idea. 

Activity, Worked & Didn't Work

Earlier this semester, I did an activity for Safety. I let the students pick their groups, but told them one student in the group had to be someone that they didn't know. Each group had to "dress up" one student for Personal Safety Protection. They had a sheet with guidelines, and specific protection devices. Then the class had to rate which team did the best. I had issues with getting the students involved to vote which "safety" student was the best. Then they "dressed up" a student for unsafe personal protection practices. They had a blast with that. The issues were getting the class involved to vote on a winning team. I switched the voting for the next class period to "points of safety/unsafety". This worked better. The dressed up student got points for safety or unsafe practices. The students had fun, they were all laughing and being competitive the second class that I did this activity in. When I took the "voting" away from the class, and just asked the class "how many points of safety are covered on this dressed up student", it worked much better. I wasn't really sure why one class period was just not interested in the activity, but the students learned what they were supposed to, and we moved on to the next lesson.

10/26 Blog

One thing that I have recently done in my classroom is to have the kids create a PowerPoint presentation on a career of their choice. I gave them specific guidelines as to what should be included in the PowerPoint and also required students to present the PowerPoint as a test grade. I gave students four full class periods of 54 minutes to gather information for their PowerPoint's and gave them a specific website to use to pull the information. This was an independent assignment and each student had access to a lap top computer to conduct research.

Students worked fairly well independently. Most stayed on track and were able to finish the assignment within the time allotted. However, the thing that I found the most challenging about students completing this task was the fact that many students within my classes work at various paces. I informed them that if they could not finish the task during class time, then they would have to finish it on their own. I repeated this everyday while encouraging students to use their time wisely. Of course, on presentation day, I had students coming up to me saying, "I'm not ready," or "Mines not finished." I ended up allowing those students to present on a later date for points off.

I felt like I explained the expectations of the assignment well, allotted enough time for assignment completion, gave students a clear rubric of how they would be graded, and provided them with adequate resources to complete the task. But, in the end, there were still those that did not complete it. The most surprising thing about this assignment was that some students actually turned in nothing! I questioned myself on this part because I thought I did a good job of monitoring students while they were working, however, it was evident that I could have done better by the fact that I had students that turned in absolutely nothing! What did they do for the four hours I gave them to work on this? I am sure they were playing games or visiting websites that they were not instructed to be on.

Although I am a fan of technology and do think that this assignment worked out mostly well (I would do it again), it reminds me of how careful one must be when allowing students access to the Internet. There are just too many possibilities out there for their active little minds to explore!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Presentation-good points and bad

My first PowerPoint presentation project for my Introduction class was good in theory. They were to research an assigned part of the HIPPA law and complete a PowerPoint presentation to the class what they learned. They used their time wisely and I thought all was going well with the groups until they got up to present. Only 2 groups actually presented what they had learned about the law. The other 4 groups had copied and pasted and basically read their presentations straight from the slide show. They really did not have any grasp of what they were reading and they even mispronounced some of the words in their own presentations. I had given them a rubric on what was expected and had gone over in class before they began their research that plagarism was not allowed, but when I mentioned this to the groups after their presentations, they really did not consider copying and pasting for a presentation plagarism because they put their websites on the end slides. The next PowerPoint presentation worked better, because we discussed in detail what I expected from each group-no copying and pasting and they needed to be able to answer basic questions on the material without notecards or the slides.

Class Activity

Early this year I tried a lab activity and chose the group leaders myself. I then allowed the group leaders to chose their own groups. Surprise! three out of five groups excelled while two failed. This was a major lesson to me and is supported by our fall class. Since this failure I have taken the lessons learned in this semesters class very seriously. While three groups did well, the two that did not was not acceptable, the activity was scraped, time was lost, and I needed a replacement activity. The replacement activity was not as good as the first, but worked out well.

Lab Activity

Lab Activity

I recently conducted a lab on ABO blood typing that followed a lecture on the circulatory system and blood components. The students were divided into five groups (no more than four per group) and given slide plates for four different patients plus simulated blood and anti-sera for all four patients. They were also given a study guide plus an analysis and assessment package to complete after performing this lab. I reviewed the study guide aloud with them prior to the beginning of this lab. Basically the questions were along the line of which patient had what blood type, which were Rh+, and how these answers were determined.
The lab itself went very well, only one student needed to repeat the sampling. The problem occurred during the analysis portion. One of the assessments was based on the creation of a Venn diagram and a few other questions required critical thinking. It worked out in the end but there was a lot of whining up to that point about the inability to complete the analysis. This was a simulated lab kit for grades 9-12. I think I assumed too much regarding the ability of my students.

Breast cancer awareness

My classes focused on breast cancer awareness month the past two weeks. They had to create a public service announcement (psa) about breast cancer for one project and create ribbons and psa signs for the school. The student played a lot (of course) and completed the ribbons and signs for the school. The hallway in front of my class looks amazing. I was like a proud mommy for the work that the students completed. However, some of the psa were not that good. They had the content, but little creative thought when into them. So, when we began to video tape themselves, the students began to realized they needed or wanted music and some type of background. I believe that the students are not use to doing this type of work in class and don't believe me when I say we will record it. I tell them that I want their work to be good enough to be on TV or radio and they look surprised of my expectations. I think they are coming around in believing me, but the assignment is due now. So, my heart says let them do it over but the time clock says that we need to move on to the next topic. How do I improve the quality of the project? How do I grade the students work? (yes, I gave a rubric, but if I use it to grade their project the grades will not be that great)

Lab Activity - Vital Signs

My students have been practicing vital signs for about a month now. The first few weeks we did each vital sign separate per class period. Each vital sign had a worksheet used to prompt them with general questions, a few math problems, and obtain the readings on five other students. We did height and weight and then they had to convert inches to centimeters and pounds to kilograms. We did temperature and they had to convert Fahrenheit to Celcius. We did pulse and I had them take resting pulse and then exercise for 2 minutes and take another pulse reading and compare. I combined apical pulse with respirations so they could listen to heart sounds and breathing sounds along with counting respirations. These labs done individually per class period kept everybody on task the whole period and I didn't have a hard time monitoring them all.

Well, we have gotten to blood pressure, which is much harder to do than the other vital signs, and everyone is getting off task, wasting thermometer probes, etc. I know the main reason is because of the attention I need to give individuals is not allowing me to monitor the whole class like I was able to before. The students have a vital signs spread sheet and rubric on how they will be graded on performing a complete set. I have instructed everyone to practice blood pressures and then begin getting complete sets of vital signs on each other, a minimum of five, before they can come to me to get a final grade. To ensure that individually are correctly reading blood pressures I use an electronic manikin arm to set a blood pressure and then the student takes it and I know if they are correct or not. I think it is important to give that one-on-one attention to ensure they are doing it correctly. I just don't like the time that is being wasted by the other students as I work with individuals. We have already taken our unit test over the book knowledge so I don't feel like there is any other worksheet or book work that needs to be done. They just need to use the time to practice and most are not.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Didn't I Learn This Over The Summer?

I decided to have a few of my advanced groups (each in different class periods) work together to build a scaled-down house model. These model kits come with pre-fabricated lumber correct to size for the job, and large poster size papers with a 1 to 1 scaled layout of each wall to be built. So, to build a wall, all the groups needed to do was lay the pre-fab balsa wood on top of the layouts and cut the wood to the correct size. No measuring with a tape, or converting different scales... Sounds easy right? For the most part it was.

What went wrong was the collaboration between periods. I assigned each period's groups a different wall so to not confuse anyone. When your specific wall was complete, I would assign a new wall until all the walls were complete. But what happened when we ran out of walls to start and there were just a handful of walls left to finish? I thought I could let each period work on the remaining walls to try and finish up the house. However, that did not work.

I never heard to much whining from teenage guys. "2nd period built this wall wrong." "Why did 3rd period take apart our wall?" Big disaster! The remaining handful of walls took as long as all the others combined!

But we did finally complete the house model, and it was built correctly. Next time I will adjust my strategy and not mix the period's work. Too much freedom was given for this assignment.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shoot off Competition

 In my production class of 28 students, I have the kids divide into seven groups of four kids. They are all given the same "shoot off session".  They are given the same assignment to film. The contest is to see how creative and varied that they can be with their projects. This competition keeps the students interested and active. When the students are completed with their short videos, the class watches all of them. It is a fun and great learning tool.
  The negative side is that there is so much activity flurrying around for one body to manage. I personally now check out every camera, battery and piece of equipment to ensure its safe return. 
There are many technical questions with the cameras and editing systems and all at once. I can't possibly meet all the demands expediently with the students.
  However, I much prefer the overwhelming interest and activity of the students, as opposed to the boredom and lack of creativity of a stagnant classroom. Any tips regarding crowd management would be greatly appreciated. 

Lab Activity

I completed CPR certification with my classes and I must say everything really went well. I inspected every manikin for any defects, damage, and markings before the sessions. I carefully review the lab rules and classroom rules with the students and explain that abuse of equipment would not be tolerated and the plan of action if equipment was damaged upon return. I developed a sign in and sign out log and required students to sign out the manikins and CPR equipment every class period. I assigned the same two students to the CPR equipment station and they followed all rules as mandated. I assigned two other students as a time manager and my daily room managers assisted with attendance. Students were assigned in groups of two by their own choice. Only one student was allowed to check out the manikin for each group. All students performed exceedingly well during the opening and closing CPR procedures by cleaning the manikins and maintaining proper care of equipment. Students were careful to inspect the manikins on checkout because they did not want to see a charge for a damaged CPR manikin their 12th grade list of fees due before graduation.

The only problem experienced was lag time in checking out the manikins. Students would stand around and talk while checking out the manikins. Jesse noted the lag time during my observation and made a suggestion to offer an incentive for the students who would sign out manikins and return to their seats in a timely manner. Well, I did offer a "No Homework Pass" coupon to the first four students to return to their seat, clean manikin, and insert manikin
lungs, take a seat, and ready for instructions. Well, the students really brought into that idea and almost ran to the manikins station trying to be the first to return to their seats.

Next time I will change the way I offered the incentives. I think I will just observe for those students that are on task and give the incentives to those students. Overall, everything went well.

Class Activity, A tale of two classes

During the lab portion of my classes I divide the class into work groups or work teams of two or three members.

During most of the classes the groups work fairly well sharing information as they learn and assist each other. Sometimes it gets very busy with people calling out my name for assistance. That is good since they are active and learning. Although they are like all groups, even adults, they can get off track but can be encouraged to get back on track. They enjoy producing things and meeting the challenges. The students show positive attitudes with respect and responsibility to each other and the equipment.

But all is not perfect. In one of my classes there are a couple of students that do not take much of anything seriously. I have tried to apply motivation and understand their modality or preferred learning. I have come to the conclusion some students should not be in some classes either because of their individual ability or capabilities. These students do not have the touch or patients to work with some equipment. I have seen drill bits burned and dulled by using to much pressure, hydraulic lines and air lines improperly connected, plastic material wasted because of rushing through the module to fast and damage not reported. This seems to follow just a few students. Some students are just sneaky. Again I am speaking of only one or two students that just seem to not get it.

As I have tried many techniques to resolve this, I have become increasingly aware that some students do not need to be in some classes. They often end up in a class because they do not fit anywhere else and end up in a class at a cost, a cost that can sometimes be counted in dollars or even worse an effect that cannot be measured. I/We continue to look for solutions for these special students and hopefully there will be a positive pay off somewhere in their future.

RS in Alpharetta

Class Activity

How to Search a Crime Scene –Using the Grid Search Pattern

During my fourth period, I went over the five different search patterns with my students. First, I showed the class a power point on the five different search patterns. Then, I divided and set up the class into four precincts. I gave each precinct a tape measure, crime scene tape, and a clip board to be used in conducting a grid search of four different areas. The areas were located outside on school grounds. I gave each of the four precincts a different area to cover. The class’s object was to conduct a search of a 12x10 foot area. Each precinct was to locate any evidence they could find. The students would then indicate the location of the evidence found on a grid drawing of the scene. This activity was working great the first day because the weather was perfect for this type of activity outside. On the second day, the weather did not cooperate with the activity since it was cold and windy. The wind made it difficult to tie the evidence tape to the stakes needed to make the 12x10 foot area for the search grids. The students did a great job and suffered through the weather to complete their assignment. This activity is not recommended in the classroom due to the area needed to setup the grid search.

Not Work that great

Okay one thing that I tried was for the students to take different sections of a chapter and to review and present it to the class on powerpoint presentation. So I broke them off into groups and they worked on their sections for about two day and it was then time to present. I told the students from the start that they would be tested on the information that their classmates would be giving them, and that I would be pulling my questions from that information..... Well it didn't go to well I even let them use the notes on the test and for the most part everyone failed. The highest grade from the class was around a 72. Later they told me they didn't like that way and that they would rather for me to give them the notes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New active in class

Hi ever one this has been a long week in class but good. I am working with the students on how to make steps that go on a house or porch. This has been a good active to do with my students because they have a lab hand out that with step by step instruction for each part or task they haft to do to get from point a to b in how to do it. This active is still going on in my class and it is working grate for now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Classroom Activities

I noticed that my students retain information better when I present it in a fun way. So I enjoy playing games when it is time to review for test or quizzes. So when were concluding the chapter on cooking methods, we played the review game. I check out buzzers from our media center and each team member had a chance to come to the answer table. Overall I think the game went well but it was so much moving around, because I wanted each student to have a chance at answering a question. For the most part I feel that the majority of the class gained a lot from the activity but others were still a bit confused. The game was rather fast paced and required students to be attentive to the questions that were read. They all stated they enjoyed the lesson but when it came to test time I still had a few that didn't do to well. I have been looking into designing more games/activites that can be used to help students study for test/ final exams, they seem to have a better response to activities of this nature.

Body Movement

I recently did a short unit on muscular system. I wanted to cover the material quickly but allow the students to have fun with it as well. Students were divided into groups and given a topic for body movement (abduction, adduction, etc.). This is sometimes a hard concept to get, especially when using correct "medical terms". The groups were given a day to research their topic and design a script. The second day they had to demonstrate the movement as well as give verbal meaning while being videoed. We watched the video and laughed a lot, but they also learned in the process. The remaining part of the class period was set aside for a pilates video. All students, and myself, exercised our muscles. This is an easy, but effective way to introduce the muscular system. One thing that I would change is I did not grade either of these activities. I would like to try having the students come up with a rubric for the video since this was a new type of activity for them. I also believe this would have made them think more critically of their work. It was definately fun, but if I were to put it on school TV they would have died!

Josh - Here's My Post

I recently had my students participate in an in-class film festival. This is in preparation for the county film festival that is currently underway. Overall it was a good experience as the kids could see what all it takes to put together a movie... even one that is just five minutes long. The thing I mot liked was seeing the creativity that the kids exhibited. The thing that did not go well was shooting on campus. When you do a project like this, you need good costumes and sets. We didn't have any of that. The county film festival is done off-campus and gives them an opportunity to display skills in those aspects of production.
Activty that I tried or implemented would be small groups. I love having set small groupsl I do not have the confusion or the group problems that I encountered in the past. Last week I tried to have a discussions with my small groups. That did not work out for me. The students began raising their voices and getting out of control before I knew it. In the future I will have to set more guidelines prior to the activity.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Activity Success and Woes

I have several activities stashed away as my favorites. The one that I have had a great deal of success with is creating a scavenger hunt for students that can help relate them more to the content instead of book work or notes. Each group is assigned a camera and a scavenger list. The students become detectives to solve the clues. They are assigned their safety identification vests and each group is given a handheld radio for communication. I review my rules and expectations with the group prior to dismissal. I make it a contest and the students get really motivated, competitive, and very creative. Probably because it’s something they all get excited about, I have yet to have any behavioral problems. My 2nd block even performs at their best.

The only activity that has not worked well with me is the Read and Run. The students said they loved the idea, but my classroom is just too small to accommodate such a fast paced activity that requires ample room. I set aside a section of the room just for book bags to keep them out of the high traffic areas. I also had to rearrange the individual student desks to form group tables; however it was a maze for them to wrap around the tables to get to the questions. The small space didn’t allow for chairs at the end of their groups, so I used the whiteboard tray to hold the stapled questions. Even after placing the students in their groups and reviewing the rules in depth, the seriousness of the activity wasn’t taken by all. A couple of kids thought it would be funny to try and trip people as they ran by to get the next question. I was able to catch it before anything happend and correct the problem. Some groups wrote so fast, they couldn’t read their writing. Some groups didn’t read deep enough into the content to produce a thorough and/or complete answer. Some groups did just the opposite and pulled out great content, but “lost” because they didn’t complete it as fast as the other group and complained thinking that their high quality work didn't pay off. The first to finish missed the boat so to speak because they didn’t have the content I was looking for (ie: giving partial answers or phrases instead of the whole picture or concept). I thought I was playing more referee and babysitter than facilitator and instructor.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New GSU Student Mail

Hello All,

Please check your ULearn email to download a flyer that explains the new GSU student email system. You should start using the new email system immediately! This system has some really nice capabilities such as online storage space and instant messaging.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I'm going to try something new with one of my lessons in about 2 weeks and would like some input from my NTI class friends. Students will be studying cultural diversity and as an end product I would like for them to make a documentary on their particular culture and the needs of the people within the culture. Students will be required to include family, religion, social, nutritional, medical, etc. in their project. Video production really intrigues me and the students enjoy watching themselves so I thought this would work well together. Students will work in groups so I will be able to include some of the stratagies that I have learned this semester, but what should I look for in their video. I can make a rubric, but I'm sure that I will find that I leave out some key elements for production and/or grading. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Laboratory Management

My challenge with laboratory management is getting the students to stay on task once they complete the assignment.  Instead of continuing to practice the task or study, they tend to create distractions for their group.  I find it difficult to manage all groups while checking off individuals. While I'm working with one or two students, they are sometimes socializing and goofing off on the other side of the room.  Help! How do you get all groups to stay on task while you're not with or near them?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Week 4 a Great Week

I am having a great week. The students are not making noises with their chairs, misbehaving in class and the Classroom is very quiet. I seem to have a little more time to try and catch up. Did I mentions that the students are not here and we are all on fall break ;>).

RS in Alpharetta

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Week 3 - classroom or laboratory management

Time. I need more time. Then I could manage my class/lab better. I could also use another pair of eyes. More supervision. Then I could manage my class/lab better. I really need updated equipment. Yes, equipment that works. Then I could manage my class/lab better. Oh wait. I'm supposed to pick only one problem with class/lab management. I'd have to say, that if I weren't putting out fires all day long, trying to fix one equipment issue or another, and trying to monitor all my students scattered from one room to another... time management wouldn't be an issue. I have lesson plans that I follow, or try to at least. There are so many other things that demand my attention: planning period meetings, responding to e-mail from parents, teachers, admin, etc., Ok, Ok. That all is a part of being a teacher, but without administrative support and professional learning in my content area, things would be a bit smoother. I could use a refresher course in broadcast (I need an engineering course!), maybe I could be more effective. I'd like for the admin to better understand my position and the class I teach.

However, looking back at what I've done with my classes last year, and thus far this year... maybe I shouldn't be such a perfectionist. Maybe I shouldn't want my program to be nearly identical to a real television station. Maybe I should let go a little and give my students a substandard education in broadcast video production...


Monday, October 6, 2008

Project Based Learning...Expanded?!

I have been wanting to try something for awhile now, but I'm not sure how to fully implement it. Also, it doesn't completely go along with NTI instruction, but I still believe I could make it work with my advanced students including using set inductions and transfers. Here's the question....I have a class of 3rd plus semester students who are taking a new (to me too) pathway, General Medicine. I have been doing the traditional model of covering a unit and testing with some skills and research added to the mix. These students have a variety of interests in health care so I would really like to tailor the information to each of those interests. I would like to allow students to pick from content that I have provided to them and work at their own pace, with prompting. I can only think of 3 students that I will have to watch closely, the others are highly motivated (I believe). I would set timelines for due work, design projects that can be shared with classmates, and work 1:1 or in small groups on skills. I know this will be a lot of prep work for me, but ultimately the students will benefit. Am I biting off more than I can chew? Does anyone have ideas on how to implement this type of lesson plan. Our school is doing a lot of work on Unit By Design which goes along quite nicely with Project Based Learning and again, I believe this type of freedom would benefit my advanced learners. HELP!

Week Three Post

I have an on-line health class that I have been having problems with students not doing their work. Up until this week I was not receiving any information form the on-line instructor.
When I found out that the students were not doing their work, it was too late, they had already received a zero for a grade. I could not go into the course to see what they were to be doing that day and did not have a syllabus. Finally I received a syllabus and was given the instructions on how to go online and check to see if the students were doing their work. Now before the class period is over, I can check their drop box to make sure that they have completed the day's assignment. All the students are passing now. The bad part was the parents were receiving their grades and wondering why their student was flunking and we were not reporting it to them. Problem taking car of now.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

One challenge that I have encountered this year is that I have an unfavorable number of students skipping my classes. This in turn puts more work on my plate because I not only have to call home but have to right a referral and fill out a call log as well. Because the students keep doing it week after week I am growing weiry of even contiuing the process. The funny part about all of this (yes there is a funny side) I haven't even had a chance for the students to develop a hatred for me because many of them have skipped nearly the entire month of September. A few of them have made their way back to class but there are still quite a few out. When they do return to class it is a challenge to get them on track because they are so far behind. The other challenge is that the students may end up skipping again after my attempt to get them on track. I will continue to help my students strive for excellence but seems to be proportionate to their own desire to succeed.

Week 3 Post

My biggest challenge is the writing of the lesson plans. I am late and it takes me all night to complete them. I have the disk from the state, several books with lesson plan, the internet and tons of other information, but when it comes to the pencil on the paper--I just get overwhelmed about all the possibilities and then I can't write one word. Everyone tells me that I am putting too much into them, but I want the best.

Another problem with my lesson plans is that I think more holistic and the information is in sections. For example medical terms, health career and vital signs are in different units, but I want to combine the information in some way to keep the class more interesting for the students and myself. If I combine the information the way I want, then I have too many standards to cover in one lesson. I know that there is a balance to this all and I continue to look for it. I have to go now--I have lesson plans to finish. :)


Although my classroom management plan has been proven more successful than last year’s, I am facing two challenges in this area. The plan I have implemented this year is more organized, easier for the students to understand, and easier for me follow through with consistency. However, my first challenge comes to second block. This class receives the exact same management plan as all the other blocks, but for some reason, this class cannot function as a team. It has such high a number of special needs students that it has been necessary to change their seating chart twice because there are so many behavioral issues or students that have to have preferential seating away from distractions… the whole class is a distraction! They receive a 10 minute mini-lecture or pep talks before the start of every class because they can’t remember to come in and get started, among many other issues. They congregate at each other’s desks as if the “water cooler”. I am constantly reassigning groups because a very large number of students can function together in a group. This class has no concept of team work, respect for their peers, themselves or me. It’s almost like I have to have a separate set of classroom rules posted just for 2nd block. Absolutely ridiculous!

The second challenge I have is during my fourth block class. The management plan I have implemented this year is working great; however the problem is these students are my advanced levels and had me last year. They complain that they can’t get away with anything anymore. For example, before NTI I would rarely enforce the “bathroom pass” I used. If a student had reached a stopping point where it wouldn’t greatly affect them, me, or their group, I would let them go. This year, I haven’t forgotten it and it has dramatically reduced the number of students I have out at a time. Some students hassle me all the time when I send them back to their seats saying, “Man, Mrs. Kitchens, we liked you better before your “school”… when are you going to forget your passes”. It’s almost a game to them to see who will come up to me first without their pass to see if I will let them out. This class of upperclassmen also has senioritis bad! I have a couple of students that have scheduled tests with their teachers during my class and ask to leave to go make up a test so they won’t have to stay after school. That falls on both the student’s, as well as the other academic teacher’s lack of respect for me to accept that it’s ok for them to leave my class as if it’s not important because in their mind I’m just an elective. It’s a tough battle. It makes me want to send an email to the entire school staff addressing anonymously that whoever is allowing their students to miss my classes to make up their tests, needs not attempt to use my instructional time as their bargaining tool with the student(s) as a proposition for either one of them to stay after school. But, that may be a bit extreme. I take offense the mere thought of this. I teach extended day and do not have a planning period and use the time I have in the mornings to prepare. Thus, my students are only permitted to make up their tests during their lunch period if it coincides with mine (I’m willing to do this for them) or after school. I couldn’t imagine if I had a student come in during their English, Math, Science or Foreign Language class! How rude!

Post 3

Well I don't know if this really qualifies, but the problem that I am have is with my principal. Last year he wanted me to move my advanced class that makes the news shows to the 4th period class because he wanted them to do interviews during lunch so they wouldn't be in the hallway, now he has a problem with my students being in the lunchroom saying that "its not my students but the people that they are interviewing that are the problem." So now I have to keep explaining that to my students. He suggested that I lecture the class or take them into someone else class to shoot everything, neither of those will work because they have successfully passed the lecture part of broadcasting and you cant plan news to go in someone's class to interview. This is very unfair to my students and they become upset and the explain to the administration that this is how they get graded.  My school seems to be the only school with a broadcasting class that there is a problem going to broadcast. I have figured ways around it but its just disappointing to my students.

Classroom Management

One challenge I am constantly having is the 15 minute focus that is turning into a half hour lesson. During the 15 minutes focus the students are to research a local, national, and international news story. They are to follow up this lesson by rewriting the news story in their own words. This is a very simple assignment but I find my self extending this assignment for the majority of the class.

One thing that I am noticing is the same kids are requiring my assistance. I understand that I have a high number of PEC students (Program for Exceptional Children) but it is also several other students who are not in this program. I have to look for several solutions to this problem. I have given students ideas on homework assignments that will help them with their research and writing for this assignment.

I have come to the conclusion that some students do not like to write. I thought this would be a great assignment to challenge their reading and writing skills but I have to find a way to keep them interested. I have tried implementing some of the classroom management skills I learned this summer at NTI but it is obvious I need more instruction.

Challenge in my class

The challenge in my class is that wean the students have mist so many day of school that they can't make up all the work in the class. The students come back to school and wont to make up the work but they have mist more than 3 week of school what kind of work can give them for all the labs that they have mist since they have been gone from class.

3rd Week Post.

The problem I'm running into is my 3rd period class I have to threaten them almost everyday because of the continual problems I have with them talking while class is going on. I punished them last week because they didn't get to do a fun activity that was hands like the other classes. Once they found out they all came back to me the next day wondering why they didn't perform the same activity. I had to take the first 15 minutes of class to lecture them about their attitudes in class and how right now I don't trust them to perform demonstrations because they want listen. I hate doing this because it hurts the other students in the class. This weekend I have called Parents to make sure this this type of behavior stops because in my three years of teaching this has never occured.

The funny part when I talked to one of my fellow teachers and told them about the students I was having problems with they said they continue to have problems with the same students and sometimes they just skip their class. I hope the conversations I had with the parents will help this week. I hate to have these students removed from my class and put in weightlifting or something. Like my Father use to tell me when I was a child you have show some people that Fat Meat is Greasy. Meaning that you have to mean what you say and follow up with it . I'm sure this will be my last week dealing with this problem. I refuse to allow behavioral problems to damper my class.

Challenge To My Lab/Classroom

My observation was last Monday and I received several ideas to use to keep students on task. The challenge is to be able to monitor several areas at one time. My movement has helped some of the time, but I need at times to closely monitor labs because of safety concerns. Somehow students really pick up on these times and choose to misbehave. I do not want to be bothered at all in the lab.
I tried during the past two weeks to have class work assignments that have to be done while I have a group in the lab. I have seen very poor results with the completion rate for these assignments being very low. I have had some success with small group special projects, but cannot supply all students with special projects. I am running low on ideas. I refuse to give busy work, and my students see right through it and hate it. Remember I have mostly young men to keep busy. This past Friday some off task student turned on my gas heat (full blast). The AC unit was trying to counter it's effect so I thought my AC was not keeping up and just running a long time.

Week 3 Post

Hello everyone!

I find it challenging to get students to respect others when they are commenting or asking a question on a topic of class discussion. I have to say, "OK guys, remember to raise your hand before speaking. I want to hear what everyone has to say, but we can't all speak at once." This typically only works for one or two comments and then they are at it again, and gain, I have to repeat myself. Maybe it is the age group? I don't know, but it amazes me to witness how difficult it can be for teenagers to have a civilized conversation.

I do see this as a minor problem in my classroom, but a problem nonetheless. Since I teach Public Safety, there are many class discussion as I like to bring real world occurrences in to the classroom as often as possible. Therefore, I feel that it is key to have students share comments about various topics and listen to comments from others in a respectful and civilized manner. I do not want to end class discussions as I feel that a lot of good things come from them when they are done correctly. Any suggestions out there?

Classroom Management

Since most of my classwork is project based, I seem to be having a problem with classroom management when students finish their projects early. I try to assign a deadline that will benefit all students. Therefore, most students finish at least one or two days before the due date. I hesitate to let them work ahead to the next assignment, which will only lead to the same problem down the road. I have implemented some "side work" if a student completes their project early. But my question is: Do I grade their "side work"? Can I require them to work on something else if it is not for a grade? The "side work" is a nothing painful, in fact some of them work better knowing they have something extra fun to look forward to. What can I do with the ones who refuse to stay on task when their project is complete?


My Challenge

My Challenge,I am having trouble with my warm-up assignment. The students have figured out this is graded as informal, and carries no weight. We have Infinate Campus and they can log on and check, they are very aware of the rules and know the system.
When the warm-ups fail, there are problems taking role. This then carries on to the classroom. Some projects bring the students back in, while others do not. The students talk between classes, and a project that went very well in the morning may do poorly in the afternoon.
I have changed seating arrangements, changed work groups, and followed the classroom management learned in the summer NTI course and these work well but only for a limited time.
I have been tracking students with learning dis-abilities and I am currently receiving more notifications, I am over 50% in all but one class.
This is not to put the blame anywhere as others seem to cope with like issues. Maybe the lack of a better (tool-box) is part of the problem, but lack of experience seems to be the likely candidate. (Help!!!!)

Upward Bound-Lab Challenge

One challenge I had in the area of laboratory management this week was working through a handwashing activtiy with 24 students. We were reviewing our lesson on infection control and I tried out what I considered a simple activtiy to reinforce the concept of good handwashing.They watched a video on how germs are transmitted and proper handwashing before the activity. For the activity, I invited the students to place a small amount of special handwashing lotion over their hands and then wash them as they thought appropriate. After they had completed washing their hands, I had each student to come over to where I was standing (in a darkened area) to view their hands under an ultraviolet hand held light. Any residue of the lotion would glow on their hands under the light. Needless to say, it was a chaotic event. Because of the small amount of lotion I had to work with, and not trusting the students to work with the one light I had correctly, I thought it was best that I looked over these items personally. During the activity there were students not participating, talking, not following directions, texting etc. I did not put a time limit on the activity initially and finally told the students that we had to move on to our next activity and discontinued the event after about 10 minutes of time. It was interesting to see the number of students who suddenly wanted to go ahead and complete the task once they saw that time was running out!


As I had my observation this week, Dr. Montrois witnessed firsthand one of my major challenges. While introducing a new content area and making sure all students understand the content. Most of the time it requires some one on one time with the students while the other students are working or supposed to be working on the content on their on. I seem to get so involved with the student I am working with that I lose touch with the rest of the class and they commence to playing games on the internet or other actions not appropriate to my content area.
The way my lab is, I cannot move the workstations around for easier viewing of their screens. They are in three rows of ten with each having computer station. It makes it difficult to maintain and observe student behavior at all times.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Week Three - Lab Challenges

 Most of us in technology labs face many challenges. In my opinion, they stem from the demand of teachers multi-tasking with students and equipment. I have a split classroom that "developed" without fair-warning within the first couple of weeks of school. The class was to be level two but it has ended up being half level two and the other half level three/four. Pre-preparation could have helped me in my blight. However, it was an afterthought by the school to keep the classroom full at twenty-eight. I am managing the best that I can, but I have to depend on upper level video students to assist me.  The classroom is large and difficult to manage. This is because it is divided into an instructional section with desks and a separate section with a television studio. The studio is in a separate window in which I can see through glass windows. However, I cannot hear what the students are saying and see everything that they are doing. There is a separate control room. Fifteen students are in the studio. I have fifteen boys in the classroom to manage and to teach basic video curriculum. This involves lesson plans and supervised instruction. My dilemma is helping two separate levels at once. It is difficult. The boys need a constant watch. The new television production crew needs my input. Currently, I am missing my lunch to have a thirty minute slot with the upper level students. I feel pulled apart. I also feel strained with the responsibility of an expensive studio not under my undivided attention. I can tell the administrators not to mix classes for next semester but what about the rest of this year ?  I requested a security system immediately after the arrival of the new equipment this summer. Currently, it is not available. Any feedback would be considered and appreciated.  


My biggest challenge this last week has been three students during my last block of the day. Just recently these three have decided that they like each other because they all laugh at the same jokes and like to make "sweet beats" by tapping on the tables and then not using their "inside" voices.

Basically, they come right in from lunch knowing that this is the end of the day and that finally they get to be together. My struggle has been to not direct attention to them. It seems like everyday they end up distracting everyone and I have to take action. I have tried several methods including separating them, eye contact, proximity, one on one talks...but I have not contacted parents. I think that will be my next step. They have been deducted in their employability points which helped for a little bit. My other concern with this same issue is that I do not want to constantly call them out because I don't want to ignore the rest of the class or make them feel like I am always picking on them to make them react negatively.

I think contacting the parents would be good and having a "final" one on one talk with each while laying out some specific consequences of their continued behavior. Or, I could monitor their lunches and keep them from buying cookies, slushies, or anything remotely close to sugar.

Thanks for listening bloggers. Until next time...DP out.

Challenge in Lab Management

My lab management has had some issues in the past few weeks. The way our lab is situated there are some areas that I am having trouble seeing the students at all times. Also when I am busy helping students others seem to take advantage of these "blind" areas and goof off. It is not possible to change around the lab as the stations are built in. I have tried using student monitors but haven't had much luck with them. I have had some luck when I remove the students that are playing around and put them into book work. But then they miss out on the lesson that I am trying to teach. As we only have two class periods in the lab, I hate for them to miss.


Class of Seasoned Students

This is my second year teaching and I have a class in which a number of students were in one of the courses I taught last year. These students know each other very well and enjoy interacting. The challenging part for me is keeping the students from turning the classroom time into a social hour with each other. It has been challenging to try to keep them focused on the task at hand and complete assignments on time. I did change the seating arrangement in the class several weeks ago and that has helped. This is a second year class with frequent labs which can pose even more challenges. I have spoken to several other teachers in our department regarding the situation and they have shared with me that classes after lunch can be more challenging. Thanks in advance for any helpful suggestions you may have.

My Challenge This Week

Well, my biggest classroom management issue, right now, is my last period of the day. I am struggling with keeping them on track and focused. It is a chore just to take attendance. The class seems so "checked out" it is hard to get anything done. I start taking attendance, and after getting through a few names down the list, the class would start talking again. What I am currently doing, is stop taking role and stare at the kids talking. My "star" students notice that I have stopped taking attendance because of the talking, and they actually tell everyone to hush. I am then left with the issue of; what happens when my "star" students are absent, who shuts up the class? Well, it ends up being me, and then I end up a flustered mess. It's the last class of the day for me, and it's the last class of the day for them as well. I want it to go smoothly, but honestly, 6th period last year was a disaster, and I never really got it under control. I have been told that this is why many teachers as for 6th period planning. I don't get the option to have a planning period, so I don't get the same one hour "mental" break in my day as other teachers. I am go-go-go all day long. I'm in my halls inbetween classes, and running in and writing my new Esential Question on the board and other class information while erasing the lessons from the previous class. I think half of my issue with trying to get the class to sit down and be quiet and to start their work, is that I'm so exhausted that I'm probably not doing as much for discipline as my other classes, and I'm not noticing it. More than half of my class doesn't even do my 5-10 minute warm-up assignment. They just sit there. I do not understand the lack of initiative in students today. I was raised that an A- meant that you didn't try hard enough! Does anyone have any strategies for getting the students motivated to actually do their book work/written work?

This Week


What do you mean name one challenge in classroom management or laboratory? The whole thing is a major challenge. However if I have to isolate one major element, it would be professional behavior. How do you instill the importance of professionalism in the work place to teenagers? Although I have a pretty well behaved group overall, I still have students with the tendency of playfulness, especially the boys. Additionally I believe that a few are uninterested participants. As soon as I turn my back to help a group that is having difficulty, the horseplay starts. I have posted classroom and lab rules and asked for signed contracts. I generally have the student in violation read me the rule that they violated which curtails the behavior somewhat but not exclusively. Students in violation are respectful and obedient when caught; and it is not always the same student, although one of my special needs students is often involved. I have spoken with his specialist and he has offered suggestions from time to time that have not been effective. The disruptions although manageable are still draining on class time and effectiveness. I am open to all suggestions.

My Challenge

A challenge I am having concerns the sixteen computers I have in my classroom. Because of space, I have the computers lined up around the walls of my classroom. It is difficult to watch all sixteen computers at one time. Most of my students are very trustworthy, but I also have students who can’t be trusted out of my sight. Just this past week, I received a student referral from one of our administrators letting me know a student using one of my classroom computers bypassed the school security system on the internet. The student used a program that has the ability to bypass the security system on our network. When I received this referral, I was disturbed for two reasons. First, I was not informed by our administration at the time of the incident. Secondly, the student involved is an above average student and was surprised she had done this. I questioned the student about her actions. The student told me she did this action because of an assignment I had given to her group which was a group power point. I inquired as to how my group assignment affected her decision to break a school rule. She replied that she was attempting to get a better grade on the group project by adding a video clip to one of the slides. She tried several different ways to download a video but each time the Cobb County warning appeared on the computer. After several attempts to get the video without success, she decided to use the bypass software to get the video.

I was not at school that day. I believe the student would have had second thoughts on doing this action if I had been there. The substitute teacher was not aware of the student’s action at the time. I feel I may have let my students down by not giving more explicit instructions on the use of classroom computers. I am now correcting that oversight. Students are now not allowed to use any personal devices on my classroom computers and computers rules will be posted for all students to see around the classroom.

Ba humbug!

I have a particular challenge with my second period. We are on a block schedule so we are in our class for 1.5 hours. On my second block is when we have lunch, and unfortunately, lunch cuts into the middle of this period. It is not an issue getting the kids focused at the beginning of class, but after lunch it’s a different matter. Currently our bells don’t work, as it was damaged by a thunderstorm. Because we have no bell, my students will roll in at different times and the last ones to come in from lunch are the ones that tend to be most disruptive. What ever conversation they were having at lunch, it spills over to the classroom, especially if it is full of drama. It may take me between 10-15 minutes to get everyone to refocus on any task.

This second period class is the class that I have the ring leaders of behavioral issues. You know how you have 1 student where they do just enough mischief and to you it doesn’t seem enough to refer them to any kind of worthy discipline, I have 5 of those kids in the 2nd period. Three of these kids have an IEP, and I can honestly say that only 1 requires it and the other 2 are using it as an excuse. Talk to me my fellow teachers! What can I do, what can I do?

Challenge this week

The challenge I am have this week is getting all my grading done. I have a stack of written journal articles to grade (required by the county to incorporate reading and writing in all content areas), quizzes for medical terminology and abbreviation, summative unit tests, and many miscellaneous worksheets students have filled out that go along with watching videos, to charting vital signs, to writing descriptions of wound beds, etc. I feel that if I don't have a product required to be turned in by the student then they will not work. Also, truly, I am worried that if I have nothing to show that proves I used various methods to get the knowledge to the students then I will be found at fault for poor grades. I know that everything does not need to be graded but I am having a hard time deciding what should given a grade out of all that work. In our grade book we have three categories: formative (25% weighted), summative (60% weighted), and informal (no weight). I never actually enter anything in under informal because I am so backlogged by putting formative and summative in. I am wondering, though, if I should be entering informal assignments and then the questions is how do I evaluate those. I feel I spend my time wisely. I often spend my entire planning period grading, lunch grading while I eat, and grading after school. I end up having to actually plan lessons at home and have been very short on sleep this week due to that. I am exhausted.

Challenge, what challenges?

I tried the Jigsaw Cooperative Learning activity this week! I was also monitored twice this week by the Instructional Coach and a person from the High School Mentoring Team for new teachers. I was already tried and exhausted from last week's HOSA 3 day event and I tried to do jigsaw cooperative learning groups. Well maybe I should say I did the jigsaw learning activity. Deciding on the assignment and task was not too difficult because I was already been doing demonstrations and power point lessons on First Aid. Doing the workup for the Jigsaw learning was the hard part. Once I had explain the purpose of the assignment "300" times, the student finally decided that "she is for real" and began to work on the task. Overall, the students in my second period class did well with the assignment. The first period was too argumentative and did not want to work in groups with certain individuals. They also had the nerves to say ugly things about each other. I "politely" stepped to the back of the classroom with one lady and asked her to kindly stop making those "loud negative remarks" about a very capable young male student. Overall, the cooperative grouping exercise went well as was also expressed by the administrative mentor monitor. He wanted to know what I had told the student when we stepped outside the classroom. He was impressed by how the student returned to the class and her group and never said another negative comment.

The challenge I am facing is keeping all students engaged and completing the tasks given while I am checking off demonstrations during lab activities. And keeping heads on the desk!!! I have tried the strategies learned at NTI this summer. The students are also too noisy and talkative. I've given enrichment exercises related to the lessons being done and of course and the students finish those activities in an accelerated mode. They then want to sit and talk, gossip, fuss, walk, and request restroom breaks while I am trying to checkoff other students. There must be an easier way to do checkoff return demonstrations and keep the rest of the class "ENGAGED" as was stated to me by the Instructional Coach. Some students refuses to participate in the checkoffs (I dare voice how I really feel about that)and then questions why they have a zero for those lab activities.

Overall, challenges are many in a school day. As for me, I will be handling one challenge at a time and looking forward to my third year of teaching. That's supposedly when everything gets better and challenges are fewer.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Suddenly a New Challenge

A challenge that seems to have suddenly developed was when the two individuals in a particular work group, that seemed to start out working well, now seem as if they cannot stand each other. They both seem to be the type that learn well from reading and from intrapersonal activities. One is a male and the other is female, they both seem somewhat artistic. They both tend to avoid groups and view things from a different perspective. One is very smart and takes advanced courses. The other tends to interpret things and see things from quite a different point of view. I really believe they would be even more uncomfortable if they were aligned with a different group. In fact I think I would more than double the learning/teaching challenges. Again they seem not to get along as well with other members of the class, they tend to work better by their selves, and thus they seem to have gotten on each other’s nerves.

I would like to resolve the issue that has developed between them since their nature is more similar than that of any of the other classmates. I have explained that when they enter the work place they will often be working with people that might not be their ideal choice, but in order to succeed they must overcome those differences to be successful. Scratching my head on how to resolve this, while I look for a positive resolve without compounding this issue.

RS in Alpharetta

3rd week post

Well I have a classroom, control room, studio, 4 edit bays (rooms) and other storage rooms. Sometime I catch myself running around like a chicken with its head cut off, checking and checking on students which is what I am suppose to do. I am not complaining at all. Of course the area is set up that way because thats the way the real life TV news stations are set up. I find that this will expose the kids to real life working conditions. My former supervisor could not micromanage everyone you were held accountable for your actions. Thats what I am trying to instill in my students of course some get it and some don't. For the most part they stay on task its just a few I must keep reminding that, yes this is a fun class but we must produce a product. Overall things are okay, I will just strap on my roller skates and roll on. This is the 3rd month of school I can't believe it. 

challenges!! 3rd week

I am facing the same challenge that I faced last year. My students struggle to keep quiet during role call. I have asked them nicely, waited til they are quiet, and implemented the light switch. Nothing I seem to do has an effect on the students. I thought about reward but do not think I should have to reward for such a simple task. I am sure most of the issue is 26-32 girls in one room. I know this is small compared to other teacher's struggles, however it is incredibly important to my school that we get an accurate count. I hope someone has an idea that I have yet to try. Thanks for all your input!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It wouldn't be teaching without a challenge!!!!

Funny how this is the topic for the week!!!! Today I had my observation with my NTI supervisor, and I had chance to express my ideas about the challenges with my lab. Today the students did a small lab just to demonstrate the technique of baking. I explained the many ways I have tried to accommodate the 24++ kids that I have in each class with a lab size that was designed for maybe 10- 12 students. I've also had a couple people from the state to come in and look at the facilities in reference to me under going industry certification to give me ideas of how to conduct an effective lab with ALL students being involved. I was given some good ideas but of course there is a HUGE price tag that goes along with it. Since I am undergoing industry certification I was given a grant of $15000, sounds like a lot but when it comes to commercial equipment I could spend that on one piece ( that's without installation) so I must search the market for used pieces and utilize my students, coworkers and custodians to help me reinvent my lab. I was told to portray the image that the lab is larger than what it is by taking some of my larger pieces of equipment out of the actual kitchen by placing them inside of the class area. I must admit I do have a large space, so I can see this idea working. But until we reach that point I must continue to teach and provide the students with culinary skills. Today I was told that the way I conducted the labs was good but I like to see all my students working at the same time, today we tried the rotate method, where I allowed three groups to go into the kitchen at a time and prepare the recipe. That's hard when I am trying to monitor the lab and have other students sitting in the class unmonitored. Well at this point I have tried just about everything so if you have any suggestions I really would like to hear them............................................

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Josh - Third Week Posting

So, everyone is probably getting tired of my "sour" attitude about teaching this year. And I truly wish it were getting better. Unfortunately I had another instance today, that further solidified my current disdain for my school setting.

While working on a video, I had several students use one of my computers to look up questionable material. It wasn't X-rated, but it definitely wasn't school appropriate. When I saw what they were doing, I told them that it was not appropriate and they were arguing that since they were able to get there without circumventing the Internet filters, that it wasn't wrong. I told them to leave the page open and I would get someone else's opinion... someone I thought would share my belief. I got someone (my superior) and had them accompany me to the room. The students had closed out the computer and when I told them to bring it back up, they acted dumb, then finally opened it. They loudly proclaimed their innocence and refused to accept the blame. When they actually pulled up a picture, it wasn't as, um, dirty, as the one I had seen, so the other teacher in the room told them to close it, but not to go to that site again.

Point is, the person I went to for support, didn't come through. I am finding this to be a continual occurrence in this profession. Someone is always demanding the most from us, but it isn't a reciprocal relationship.

Another gripe... and I'll try to be better.

New teachers (3 years and less teaching experience) at my school were required to go to a meeting at 7:30 one morning this week. The email said, "Come hungry, we will be serving breakfast..." So naturally, I assumed that the administrator in charge of it would provide breakfast. Not an unreasonable assumption. About 20 minutes into the meeting, I asked where breakfast was. He didn't know! Breakfast never came. I didn't eat breakfast. Do I look like the type of person who goes without breakfast?!?!

There... I feel better.

(**P.S. - Dr. Burns, I apologize for my use of the ellipsis marks. After working as write in the television business, I frequently interchange them with commas. They work better with my speaking style.)


This week I learn that one of my students was living on the street with her mother and little brother. This was really a shock to me and at the same time it made me sad. Sometimes we take for granted that everyone has a home to go to. This is not the case of my student. She has been living on the streets of Atlanta for 3 months. Somehow she has been able to defy the odds and continue to get her education. She is a bright young lady with a great future. I’m hoping that her mother receive some type of assistance that would allow them to move in to their own home or shelter soon. One lesson I have learned from this situation is hard to identify students who are like this . I only hope that their dreams are not shattered by life uncertainty.

Collaborative Learning

I really enjoyed the collaborative learning lessons in class this week. I have been trying some of the group ideas, sometimes successful, sometimes not so much. It takes a lot of planning to get everything together before doing group work. For example, specific lesson or project instructions, grading rubrics and student "monitoring" or self evaluation records. However, I find that the students do better when they know what to expect (that sounds like a no brainer) but sometimes the problem is I fully know what I expect but don't seem to express those expectations so that the students can understand. Having expectations in writing for the students as well as verbalizing they tend to better understand, or atleast be able to ask clarifying questions. One of the big questions I had before our class was how to grade group work. Again, having everything already planned will help. I like the idea of 50 - 50 because that will allow me to adjust an individual students grade depending on absences, poor effort, etc. I have done something similar a couple of weeks ago and the students with lower grades never commented. They know when they don't participate! As my GSU classmates continue to try collaborative learning please forward ideas that are working for you as well as those that don't. In other words, share the knowledge please.