Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Take 5--A Reason for Collegiality

"Could you help me with a blog?"
"Should we come up with a list of titles for del.icio.us?"
"I am wanting to start a WebQuest, what do you suggest?"

Questions like these have been the new conversation in the department; a new element added to English teachers' vocabulary, but more importantly, new ways to engage students. What has been so wonderful about CIT is excitement for what we're doing. Technology often is scary for many, but with our energy and willingness to try new modes, our success becomes contagious. My Take 5 for today is one that is of gratefulness--perfectly appropriate as I head into Thanksgiving break. I am thankful to be involved with the Curriculum Innovation and to share an inspired, re-energized paradigm of teaching, where we get to be the students.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Take 5--Mathematically challenged

This fraction shows my confidence in my math skills; I am scared of the monster math staring at me on the Infinite Campus screen, "You idiot! You thought you had your grades figured out. Ha! What a mess you created!"Snarling, drooling as it waits fangs sharp and hungry to devour the lowly English teacher trying to adjust grades.

I know, not exactly positive thinking. I am thrilled about the idea of work ethic/responsibility/citizenship categories and then the others reflecting actual learning content categories. But, still I am afraid that my skills as a computator will hinder, and ultimately be a crazed mess.

Ok, what's the big deal right? I already have categories and in fact, I have Participation category where I put covering books, bringing in outside reading book, etc. What I am afraid of is the weighting. I visited with Anne this afternoon and she explained it well, so I feel a little better about my future attempt. I just hope that I can sort through my own percentage paradigms and work out a new one--one that works!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Take 5--Rethinking Grades--an elementary concept?

When discussing the idea of not having grades, or changing the way we do grade, many people respond that this is an elementary issue. It is one that is easy to adapt to what younger kids are up to, but with the expectations of college, kids, parents, and teachers, grades will remain.

This is an interesting concept, one that in our reading, showed that is not new. It has research that links student interest dropping with the presence of grades. If nothing else, I know today's speaker will challenge me to rethink why I assess what I do and what does it show about what a student knows. And, how can I create an assessment that will show what that student has learned?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Take 5 -- WebQuests

Two weeks ago, I was searching for sites on constructivism and stumbled across a site that discussed constructivism and web quests. I fiddled around and started creating one. I finally finished my first WebQuest last week; I feel so proud to have finished it, but wow, what a task! What I realized when Randy Stall came was that to create a strong site, you needed higher level thinking questions, visual interest, a site that is easy to navigate, and one offers group activities as well as individual tasks. This took hours (over 15) to complete it, and I still need to provide a few more sites. What I did realize though, that this gave me an opportunity to really construct a lesson that challenged kids and made them analyze, assimulate, role play, and judge. I am excited to put the lesson into action with my freshmen...we'll see if my objective comes to fruition!

Here's the site: http://webquest.org/questgarden/lessons/06711-051029213801/