Friday, February 18, 2011

You're a teacher? Lucky you!

So, I was talking to this guy recently at the gym: He's a very cool fellow actually ... a martial arts instructor and an overall nice guy.

"Oh you're a teacher?" he asked. "Cool - great schedule and summers off!" As he popped off with this response, it was almost as if there were a hint of jealousy in his voice. He wasn't dismissive of my career - he just appeared to hold the opinion that it's not really all that hard.

How did the public's perception of our profession become so radically skewed?

"Oh, you're a karate instructor? What, you just threw a few punches ... broke a board or something, and now you strut around in a fancy uniform?"

Imagine if I'd have said that to him. I wouldn't be typing because my fingers would be broken - but you get the point.

I did speak up. I said that yes, I'm very lucky to be a teacher, and I added that this is the most challenging thing I've ever done.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Using Blogger safely in the classroom

Blogger is an awesome tool for a lot of classroom projects - the uses are almost endless.

However, Blogger does have a navigation bar at the top of the web page ... this built-in search bar can, unfortunately, lead students to inappropriate websites.

This Warrior Rookie page doesn't have the nav bar; nor does my classroom website.

I simply removed it: Here's how -

1- Log into blogger

2- On your Dashboard, select Layout. This will take you to the Template tab. Click Edit HTML.

3 - Now, copy this code below (highlight, control C)

#navbar-iframe {
display: none !important;
4. Find this code - near the top in the HTML view.
Blogger Template Style
Name: Rounders
Designer: Douglas Bowman
Date: 27 Feb 2004
Updated by: Blogger Team
----------------------------------------------- */
5. Paste in the code right below this section. Hit preview - if the nav bar is gone, it worked!

Hit save.

Now your Blogger is a safe and effective tool for use in schools ... still, see your school acceptable use policy and talk with your tech facilitators to make sure you are adhering to appropriate guidelines!

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Driving with help from DASH

Our school uses a very cool data mining tool called DASH - powered by TetraData.

In a snap, we can drill down and see everything from student absences and discipline history, to standardized test scores, to district-wide data.

It really empowers teachers, and allows me to act solidly on those hunches and gut feelings we get. I can recognize patterns of student behavior that go back years ... or, ID right off the bat the struggling students in need of differentiated instruction.

I can also see who the troopers are - students here daily and giving their all - despite putting low test numbers on the board. I love those kids.

As Martha would surely say, "Mining student data ... it's a good thing."