Mr. Kamrowski

"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children." –Sitting Bull


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Coffee and iPads

In an attempt to help teachers and support staff in my school district adjust to changes brought to the iPad with iOS 11, I have created a weekly newsletter titled Coffee and iPads.  I will cross post them to the blog to potentially  benefit others and to keep a digital record.  The following is the introductory email.


Coffee and iPads

September 19th, 2017


I LOVE coffee! Coffee and I are like Michael Jordan and Gatorade. We just belong together. So you can imagine my frustration this summer when my trusty coffee maker went caput. I was coffee-less and not ready for a change in my daily routine.

Apple

Like my coffee maker experience this summer, Apple has today changed your daily routine by releasing iOS11 for the iPad. This could be an inconvenience, to you and students, until you learn what it can do. It is a major upgrade that will change the way your iPad looks and functions. It has a learning curve. To help you navigate the changes to iOS and share some tips and tricks too, I would like to introduce you to a weekly email newsletter I am calling Coffee and iPads.

What it is

  • One email a week. It should arrive in your inbox early Tuesday morning, in time for your coffee.
  • Brief emails that focus on one topic related to the iPad operating system. Think bullet points and pictures rather than paragraphs.
  • Ideas to help you be efficient and effective with iPads.
  • One email sent to you to decide if you want to participate, opt in for further emails after that. I don’t want to fill anybody’s inbox without their consent. However, if you already know you want to receive this weekly email just reply yes to this email or go to this form and add your email.
  • Perhaps an opportunity to fulfill a P.P.G.
  • Periodic Coffee and iPad “tours” to answer questions and do face to face PD

What it is not

  • Lesson ideas
  • A focus on specific apps
  • Complicated

Topics

  • Major iOS Changes
  • Do Not Disturb and Other Handy Control Center Tricks
  • iPad Time Savers
  • Accessibility
  • All about the Keyboard, Keyboard, Keyboard
  • Helping Parents Parent with the iPad
  • Tools You Don’t Know You Have

Below are a few explainer videos made by Apple to showcase some changes coming with iOS 11

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Improving Scaffolding Through Technolgy

When teaching a new skill, it is essential to construct the learning experience in such a way as to reduce the complexity of the skill to a simple task or tasks that cannot be misconstrued.  This may include very specific directions and questions that guide the student as they perform the activity.  As mastery is achieved, the supports are taken away.  This process is known as instructional scaffolding and is the essence of teaching. Continue reading


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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Must-Knows For Choosing The Right Classroom Technology Tools

Using technology can make your class awesome. It can engage your students in the lessons and make ordinary tasks more interesting. However, you should be careful. If you use too much technology or for the wrong reasons, it will backfire.

Every teacher will have a better experience with technology by knowing what tools to use and when to use them. Continue reading


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5 Reasons to Use an LMS

Recently, I spoke with a fellow teacher about some of the functionality of the on-line learning management system (LMS) Schoology.  He is an elementary teacher and I am currently teaching middle school.  At a certain moment in our conversation, he paused and said “At some point, you have to ask yourself if this is necessary.”  I believe he was pondering at what grade level an LMS would and would not be useful.  I’ve in turn, asked myself why I use an LMS.  These are my reasons:

  1. To be paperless
  2. Always available
  3. Analytics
  4. Foster independent, self-directed learning and a safe digital space
  5. Communication, Communication, Communication

Continue reading


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How To: Spice Up Your Syllabus with Google–Part 2

This is part two in a two-part post.  Part one, where I explain how to make a syllabus using Google Slides, can be found at the following link.  Note:  There will be no post next week in celebration of Labor Day.

So I have my syllabus; I’ve made it visually appealing, embeddable and even included some multimedia elements.  So what?  There is little to nothing engaging about my new tech-savvy syllabus.  It may prove to be more efficient for me in the future as I can edit one document and impact all my courses; parents can see it posted on the internet, and it has some links and videos that students can simply click to learn about aspects of the class.  However, I need to do more to engage students in getting to know basic procedures and expectations in the class and then to check for understanding:  Enter Google Forms. Continue reading


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How To: Spice Up Your Syllabus with Google–Part 1

The start of school is right around the corner and I’ve been spending time preparing for the first few days.  They are crucial days as the tone is established; relationships develop or don’t and procedures are put in place.  Within the first few days, I have several objectives:  make my class unique, build relationships, establish an expectation of self-directed learning and communicate basic class procedures and expectations.  While I have consulted many resources (Check out this resource built around Alan November’s first five days project.) and planned some great activities, the presentation of the syllabus remains a challenge.

Continue reading