Thursday, September 27, 2012

Worth the Wait

At work, my SmartBoard was finally installed. It was ordered in May, came in August, and has been sitting in our library since then. The installation guy gave me a brief training and as soon as he left me, I quickly got the CD and started the installation of the software. Gosh, the install took a long time. By the time in finished, I had to leave to pick up my son. I packed up my laptop even though I knew I wouldn't have any time to create a flip chart or find one on the web. What I had was determination...I was going to have something ready for my first graders the next day.

I was right, I didn't have any time to explore or create, so I made it a point to get up early. About a 1/2 hour before I had to leave for work, I sat down and turned on my school laptop and my personal laptop, too. I knew I was getting a SmartBoard so I already had some websites bookmarked on my personal laptop. I ended up on the Smart Exchange website. I downloaded a few activities and then I was off to work.

I got everything ready for my first class. When they arrived, I greeted them outside and told them that there was something new in the lab. I told them when they entered to sit at their computers and to raise their had if they knew what I was talking about. By the time everyone was in the class, many were already raising their hands. The looks on their faces told me what I predicted.

The wait was worth on.

Some grade levels ask that I focus on some area of instruction and others allow me to do what I want with them. Grade 1 teachers requested that I focus on math, specifically, adding up to 10.  I found a flip chart that had several problems for the kids to solve. I demonstrated answering the first problem. I used my finger to write the answer...the children gasped. I told them that, yes, this board is a touch screen! I tapped the arrow to the next problem and asked, "Who wants to solve the next problem?" I had everyone's attention...all hands went up.

Everyone was engaged and excited throughout the entire lesson. They helped each other...even if they weren't chosen, they helped the person who was. When the problems ended, they wanted more.

So, was waiting for four months worth the wait? I say it was. To see kids who are engaged and excited about learning or practicing what they are learning makes the wait worthwhile. I plan on using this SmartBoard to continue doing this.

I'm just glad the wait is over!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Laughing at Myself

I try to keep up with my assignments following Thomas Jefferson's rule..."Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today". His Ten Rules sit in front of me on my desk at home reminding me about how to live my life. For this class and my core class, OTEC 602, I try to work on assignments as soon as I know they are assigned. For the most part, I'm working about a week ahead.

Well tonight I had to laugh at myself. I was rushing around after work...went to the bank, did some light grocery shopping, then made dinner. I even told my friend that I couldn't go to Yoga. At about 5:55 p.m. I settled at my laptop, logged into Blackboard Collaborate only to find that I was the only one there. I quickly looked at my calendar, checked the date and realized I am a week too early. All I could do was laugh and my son laughed louder.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do well for most of my life. For school, it has worked for me in all my asynchronous activities. I try to do what is easiest first so I have more time to tackle the harder stuff. The screencast, for example, took me a long time to get it to a point where I was satisfied with it. I want to use it in my classroom so it had to be just right. I just posted it last night after working on it since Monday.

What it doesn't work for is a synchronous activity where everyone needs to meet at a certain time. Makes sense! So, do I need to, I don't think so.  I'll continue to do my school work as I have been, but I'll be sure to pay attention to the actual dates.

"Laughter is an instant vacation." I don't know who said this, but it's true. I know I enjoyed it. It put me at ease; I could least for one evening (a short vacation).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mid Week Blessings

Today is Wednesday and my brain is feeling so tired. I went to bed exhausted from the day to wake up to my husband telling me I had to get up to take our son to the bus stop. Wednesday is my only day to take him. On the radio going to the bus stop and then on the way back home, the DJ was having a contest saying the worst day out of the week for men is Monday, so what is the worst day for women? I thought for sure the answer was Wednesday because of how I was feeling. Well, I was wrong. A lady called in to say it was Friday. The reasoning behind that day was that the work week is done and now women have to get ready for all the events, cleaning, etc. that the weekend brings.

Fridays are not like that for me. I'm the most busy during the week tackling home, work and school responsibilities, so the middle of the week is usually when I feel the most tired. This explains why I feel the way I do this morning.

You see, I am blessed to have only one child. My husband and I agreed early on that we would not be parents who would over book our child. Therefore, the weekend is a time for our family to recoup from the week. We do have activities but not so many.  I actually enjoy the distraction that they bring; they help me to turn off my brain.

Blessings are all around us. We just need to slow down to see and realize them. Who else feels that having a great cup of coffee is a blessing? I just had mine, and I'm ready to get going again. Annotated I come...and Friday, don't come to soon, I have much to do still. : )

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On-Line Adventure

Creating an on-line class is much like creating a class for a traditional classroom. What you have to teach is important, but more importantly, you have to consider your audience. What kinds of learning styles do they come with? How do they learn best?

That’s what I was asking myself as I read through the R2D2 article. How do I learn best? What kind of a learner am I? I couldn’t pinpoint my learning style to just one. I realized that I learn best when there is a variety of learning activities that tap into my variety of learning styles. I conclude also that as I mature as a learner, I adapt and learn to deal with what is presented to me and how it is presented.

The two online classes that I am presently taking are prime examples of classes that engage me as a learner. My instructors use a variety of tools and they assign a variety of activities. They provide rubrics for these activities allowing me to know what is expected. Like anything new, some of it takes a while to learn (Learning Pains). However, that is engagement for me. I enjoy challenges…where I am acquiring knowledge, reflecting on that knowledge, visualizing what I need to do, then doing it and going on from there.

My adventure continues...I will use my experiences in how am learning in my on-line classes to create a unit that engages and challenges my audience.