For my seventh and eighth graders, this marking period is the next twenty days of technology class. Two things amaze me--how much my students accomplished last year in such a short amount of time and how much knowledge they have retained since then. On the very first day of school, after a warm greeting, I said, "Okay, you know what to do." And they immediately got to work navigating the class website to find my directions, opening and sharing Google Docs, and joining fresh Edmodo class groups. It was breathtaking to watch!
For my new babies, my sixth graders, it is an entirely different story. For them, this is technology boot camp. I have been describing these courses as hybrid--partially in-class, partially online, somewhat traditional, mostly flipped, not as difficult as the core subjects, yet more challenging than the fine arts, physical education, and health classes. Rarely does a student earn a "D" or an "F" in my class, but nobody earns an "A" for merely showing up, either.
There are twelve to fifteen graded assignments, including homework, classwork, and project tasks, all weighted differently to formulate the final grade. Everyone works on their project within a self-selected group. However, grades are a reflection of what the individual has contributed to the group. There are numerous opportunities to meet with me throughout the week for extra time/help: during my preps and during conference period (the last period of the school day). All of this--not even factoring in all of the URLs, user names, and passwords to remember--can be quite intimidating to my little sixth graders and their parents. "Don't worry," I recently soothed a concerned parent during Back to School Night. "The first few weeks of technology class are always a bit. . .chaotic. Eventually, students learn what to do."
This is the first post concerning my adventures teaching technology literacy, year two. My topics will include: implementing flip teaching, implementing International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP), and (of course) new technologies enhancing education. I refuse to commit myself to a specific day or amount to blog, because I don't want to feel defeated if I can't live up to my own expectations. So, please be patient and stay tuned for my updates.
Meanwhile, I invite you to explore my class website:
Thanks for reading!