Mr. Kamrowski

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


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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


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How To:  Gamify Your Classroom

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


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How To: Create an Interactive E-Book with Google Slides

Working in a one-to-one school district, where every student is provided with a device such as an iPad or Chromebook, can be a great opportunity of freedom for teachers and students.  The device serves as an efficient tool to create and curate information, as well as, a flexible environment to share content.  No longer does an individual need to negotiate with textbook publishers and be locked into the confines of the perception of the authors of a company when it comes to the content and methods that should be used to teach a specific skill or understanding.  The digital world allows for educators to create e-books, or electronic versions of a book that may contain interactive elements, that can be produced, shared, and modified quickly and with little expense to a school district. Continue reading


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How To:  Use Schoology So Students Become Masters

When I turned 16, like most kids in the United States of America, I took my driver’s test–and, I failed.  I went right through an uncontrolled intersection without blinking an eye–let alone slowing down to check for oncoming traffic (Luckily there was none).  It was a miserable day for me.  I tried making excuses but none justified the tragedy of failing.  I simply did not perform well on that test, and I was devastated.  I am quite thankful, however, that the man working for the Department of Motor Vehicles did not say “no second chances are allowed.”  Rather, he said “When would you like to try again?”  I am happy to announce that I am a fantastic driver today.  I have never been in an accident nor have I incurred a traffic citation.

I tell every one of my students that story as I explain my policy on second chance tests/projects in my class.  I let them know that I want them to learn the concept or improve the skill that I felt was important  to teach and assess.  That they can take a second chance test or rework the project (Not to be mistaken with a retake that is the same test or just blindly turning in multiple revisions of a project.) if they come to me and look at what went wrong the first time around and we discuss how they can improve.   Continue reading


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How To:  Provide Effective Feedback With Schoology & Explain Everything

Malcolm Gladwell argues, in his 2008 book titled Outliers, that the most successful people spend at least 10,000 hours practicing the skill(s) needed to be masters of their profession.  This magic number has taken some criticism (This one’s interesting too.) over the years as other researchers have debated the ingredients to success.  Most of the debate has revolved around symantix.  Yet, the main idea persists:  success takes, at least to some extant, hours upon hours of practice.  More importantly, however, Gladwell highlights that hours of practice alone is not enough; rather, slight adjustments that occur during the experimenting that naturally happens while practicing leads to perfection.  Therefore, effective feedback from a good coach or teacher is worth the price of gold.  This feedback means one can accomplish mastery much more effeciently than without it.

As a teacher, this point has never been lost on me.  Quality feedback in a timely manner is essential for good instruction.  Indeed, it may be the most important element a teacher can offer after engagement.  Therefore, I am always looking for effective ways to provide feedback. Continue reading


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How To: Efficiency With Schoology’s Calendar

Great teachers are efficient teachers.  They know that true education is about relationships.  They use methods to maximize their time developing connections with their students and minimizing the time spent on all the activities that keep them from those important and crucial moments.  Schoology is a learning management system that has helped me become more efficient with my time.  Consider the following tip to help you become more efficient. Continue reading