Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Programming" as a Curriculum Choice

These days I seem to get this question a lot. The question being "do you teach programming?" I also get "why don't you teach programming?" A few "you should teach programming" and "it's disappointing you don't teach programming" comments also pop up. I get it, programming is on the forefront of a lot of minds. Unfortunately you cant teach all things all the time.

As with anything, it's a choice. Curriculum is less prescribed for a computer teacher than it is for a classroom teacher with, for instance, math. In fact, by "less prescribed" I mean not at all. As a computer teacher there is no set curriculum, we essentially get to make it up as we see fit.

The choice I've made, the choice made on behalf of PS 10, is a choice to support areas of core curriculum such as writing & research

As with my explanation on typing I thought it best to lay it out here...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Backlash to the (Bammy) Backlash - Respect

The Bammy Awards have generated a lot of discussion online these days.

Pernille's post was spot on and very thoughtful (some of the comments maybe not so much).
I had my own $0.02 to put in.
There were the awards posts, the humorous posts, open letters, and the acceptance speech never to be said...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Our living (hashtag) bulletin board

It is 2013. Almost 2014. The Pope tweets. Facebook has a billion users. Sticking with just the old standby of paper bulletin boards outside, and inside, your classroom no longer cuts it.

Now, I'm not trying to undercut the value of hanging student work on the walls, or reference materials crated on chart paper to help guide students during lessons. Creating paper artifacts in the classroom will always have value. What I'm talking about is truly showcasing the work. Hanging it up in the hall isn't showcasing beyond whom ever might walk by. It's time to showcase to the world, and never have to change it...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bammy Awards: A Reflection

Last night was the Bammy Awards and today was the hangover, so to speak.

I must start by saying I had a lot of fun being involved in the process. I think it's great the Academy of Education Arts & Sciences has taken it upon themselves to bring together an event like this. There are varying degrees of opinions for and against giving educators awards in a setting like this, but that's not where my head is at. I don't see a problem with giving the opportunity to stand out from time to time. Plus, politics are not really my thing...

A man among giants

Last night was the Bammy Awards.
I was a finalist in the School Technologist category.
I am but a man among giants. There were 5 of us in the category. Four people of amazing skills, knowledge, and reputation. And me. A more self-effacing person might say I bring down the bell curve, so to speak. That's not what I'm driving at. I just think its amazing to see my name listed among those four others, those four that I look to on a daily basis for ideas, inspiration, and knowledge...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Google Chrome - setting up multiple users

Whether you are a Google Apps for education user or not Chrome is an amazing tool for educators...

Why Chrome? The basics:

  • free
  • supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux (full specs here)
  • Google suite fully integrate (ie: search from address bar, sign in to all services once, etc)
  • Multiple users

To paint a picture...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 1 is in the books!

Preface: I am beginning the school year making a concerted effort to blog most days. Every day is daunting with my various after-school commitments, but I'm giving it the ol' college try...

The 2013-2014 school year is officially underway!

Yes, we start late. Here in New York City we always begin in September, and go until the end of June.

Good first day, saw one class on each grade, 2-5. I see all classes in grades 2-5 but not all days do I get one of each (tomorrow, for instance, is a 3, 4, & 5 day).

This year teachers came back on Tuesday, September 3rd. We had Tuesday & Wednesday for staff development, classroom environment building, and general preparations. All without students. Thursday and Friday were days off for Rosh Hashanah. Students began today.

Why do I point this out? Because I think it made a world of difference.

This is my 11th September and I think it was one of the smoothest overall. Classrooms were set, rosters were 99% in order, hallways were clear. It just seemed like those two prep days really payed off. I think starting students on a Monday helps too, give a clean feel to the start of the year (unlike starting on a Wednesday or Thursday and only being in for a day or two, starting the year a bit jerky).

Updating server data & Google Apps login info now, gearing up for tomorrow... Day 2...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Google Drive Gradebook Experiment...

Tomorrow is the first day of school, with students, here in New York City. Since it is that time of year it is also the time of year for dusting off the ol' grade book (and plan book).

A little background:

  • I am the computer teacher
  • I see 22 classes a week
  • Roughly 700 students
  • No school-wide grading platform
  • Our central NYCDOE registration/attendance/data system generates Excel sheets with all student information so any platform I use I think about the data originating from Excel as I'd rather copy & paste as opposed to manually entering 700 names...

Each year I try to test out different ways of managing my grade book, efficiently. I'm always looking for ways to improve. In the past I have used: