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Day 86: Presenting Technology to Our PTSA

Awe, shucks!  I didn’t think I was doing all that much more integrating technology into my classroom than anyone else, especially the young teachers.  But I must be.  Last week, I was part of a panel of 4 teachers which presented to our PTSA; they continue to be interested in how iPads are being used since the technology levy passed that enabled the high school to be a one-to-one iPad school.  We all had very different ways we used the iPad and technology in our classrooms.  It was so exciting to see what others are doing!

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I think I have always been an education tech junkie from my earliest days…having a Commador Pet computer in my first classroom and using the overhead projector (yes, that was high tech back in the Stone Ages) in innovative ways.  For my first geometry classes, I used the school computer lab with Geometer Sketchpad to do explorations and develop conjecturing.  Over the years, I’ve incorporated various mathematical software such as Fathom, TI-Interactive and TI Student Software to enhance student learning and projects.  I was one of the first teachers at the time to have a website that was a go-to resource for my students.  I clamored to be on any tech committees in the building I’ve taught.

As the years went by, I began using the TI-81 graphing calculator and have used all of its variations since (except for the TI-91).  When I could get a grant written and approved, I purchased and use the TI-Navigator as my first student response systems.  I also advocated for a SmartBoard (actually an ActivBoard by Promethean) when they were first available.  And used the Promethean Clicker System as well.

Once the internet became readily available in schools and students had access, I began to explore how to use online resources to enhance conceptual learning.  Geogebra, Desmos, Quizlet and various applets have made their way into my classroom over the years.  In addition, once we became a one-to-one iPad school, I looked for ways to actively engage students through online student response systems such as Socrative, Kahoot!, NearPod, etc.

But I must say that a few years ago, I felt overwhelmed with all of the new possibilities and felt I wasn’t keeping up.  I don’t have an educational technology degree so I sought out those that did to help me keep up.  As I puruse various blogs and Twitter, I am in awe of what some teachers out there are doing.

Although I have tried many things, I find that there are still a few tried and true technologies that are consistently used in my classroom: TI-Nspire and Navigator, iPad apps that include Notability, Geogebra, Khan Academy, Quizlet and Desmos, internet sites including MathXLforSchools, GradeCam, our online textbooks, Rice University stat simulations, RossmanChance simulations and our current learning management system, Schoology.  These are the things I shared in my presentation.

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I hope to keep things fresh and alive for my students and technology seems to be the way to support them in an engaging and meaningful way.

Day 31: TPEP Training Day

Who would have thought you’d need a day to train to be evaluated?  When I first started teaching the process was very simple and was in the realm of the administration.  They would set up a pre-observation date, an observation date and a post-observation date.  The teacher would create a detailed lesson plan, submit it prior to the first meeting date and then discuss it with the evaluating administrator.  The administrator then observes the lesson, taking notes, etc. and then discusses the observation with the teacher in the post-observation meeting.

In 2015, the process is almost spirit-crushing.  As I mentioned earlier, I created a binder for the comprehensive evaluation process in order to collect needed evidence to demonstrate my teaching ability at the Proficient or Distinguished levels (I don’t see myself at the Basic level at this point in my career).

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Today we have a day long training on the Danielson Framework for Teaching, our model for evaluation.  I really want the evaluation process to be meaningful for me rather than a bunch of hoops to jump.  Right now, I don’t feel it is helping me be a reflective teacher, but rather a frantic gather of items that don’t help me teach better. I had hoped today’s training would help me figure out what types of evidence I could use for each component, how variations in evidence can move me from Basic to Proficient to Distinguished, and most especially, how to develop measurement tools for collecting data/evidence for Student Growth.  I want to know that the activities and experiences I use with my students actually make a difference.  I am not a Research Scientist and I don’t have the time to do Action Research, yet how can I measure the impact of these experiences without adding more time to my already jam-packed day? Unfortunately,  I didn’t get answers to these questions this time, but I am ever hopeful that the next training will help me with these things.

How is your evaluation process going this year?  What have you done to help make the process smooth for yourself?  How have you made the process meaningful?

Day 24: State Teacher In-service Day…Kind Of

This State Teacher In-service day used to be a day off for teachers to attend professional development via state conferences, district sponsored workshops or some other PD opportunities.  But this year, our union negotiated half the day away so we could get a little extra $$.  Nice idea about the money, but basically puts a kabash on being able to attend a conference.  I will have to be creative about how to get my personal PD fix.

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I am on the Comprehensive plan this year and it is a big production…almost like completing your ProCert.  I decided I needed to organize early to make sure I had a way to collect evidence for 8 criteria encompassing 22 components of the Danielson Evaluation model.  I spent some time trying to find organizational documents online, but was only partially successful.  One golden discovery was a list of possible evidence items for each component!

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I started to put together a binder to collect items and to keep track of what has been collected, what needs to be collected and when, and keep track of the student growth goals…the most intense part of the evaluation.  I hope to identify key evidence items within this next week, and then determine when I plan to collect them throughout the year, so I don’t miss the opportunity.

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Luckily, the topic of the district directed day was on writing our Student Growth Goals as per our evaluation model. We need to identify a goal for a group (course, class, etc.) and a matching goal for a clearly identified subgroup with at least 2-3 markers (female 504 students who are left-handed, students that receive a 40% to 60% on the baseline AP MC PreAssessment and came from a non-honors experience).

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I am really thankful for the time to contemplate what those goals would be.  I am thinking about using my previous years’ AP exam profile to identify the MC areas on the AP exam on which students struggled.  This would allow me to collect data via GradeCam, which shows performance over time and allows for comparing an individual student to the class progress.  I can also have students take a 50 minute AP MC exam as my baseline; I should be able to identify the areas of focus for the class as well as the subgroup.  Then I can design experiences and MC opportunities to track progress over time.

Our math department did put together our Criterion 8 Student Growth Goal…which is the departmental goal tied to our SIP goal.

Criterion 8 Goal: Each student will improve their ability to recall and utilize previously learned skills without prompting, based on intermittent assessments from October 2015 to June 2016 and beyond.

Now I just have to figure out how to write my Criterion 3 and Criterion 6 Student Growth Goals in SMART format….don’t I have plans to make for Monday?!

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