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
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.
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:
- To be paperless
- Always available
- Foster independent, self-directed learning and a safe digital space
- Communication, Communication, Communication
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
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.
This past week, MJ Linane, founder of www.guildway.com, Shawn Young, founder and CEO of ClassCraft, and myself conducted a webinar about gamification of the classroom. Our purpose was to inform interested teachers of the why, what and how of gamification. The full webinar is posted below and I encourage you to view it and post any comments or questions you may have. I, being the interested, but the non-experienced teacher pertaing this topic, will not answer them but will ask MJ and Shawn, the “Game-Masters,” for their feedback. Watch the webinar and view the outline below. Continue reading
Recently, I attended a music festival that involved embarking a bus at 9 a.m. in the morning, waiting in line for one hour, trekking through rugged terrain to secure decent seats (With my own bag chair), paying exorbitant prices for food and drink, and arriving back home at 2:15 in the morning. And, the truth is I loved it and will do it again next summer. As I look forward to another school year, I wonder if I or another teacher can make their course so engaging that students will be as motivated to attend class as I was the music festival? Dave Burgess, in his book titled Teach Like a Pirate poses the question: ” If students were not forced to come to your class would they? Or, better yet, would they pay to come to your class?”. Continue reading