November 24, 2010

Bow to the awesomeness

I came across an inspirational teacher and I just had to share. Angela Bunyi, a teacher in Murfreesboro, TN pretty much makes me look like a sad amateur. At first, her awesomeness made me a little mad. She has the most perfectly wonderful classroom (complete with enough lamps to not even have to turn on those horrid florescent lights). She also has more than 2500 books in her classroom library. Ugh. I'm so jealous. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? She has a blog on Scholastic's Top Teaching website, and she has a page of "Classroom Tips and Strategies." Prepare to be inspired!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

November 10, 2010

Woe is wiimote

Well, if you have been keeping up with the whole wiimote whiteboard saga, I figured it was time for an update.

I have the thing set up, and it actually works pretty well. Granted, this is the result of hours spent making minor adjustments to how the wiimote is positioned. I bought a ceiling mount, and while it helps keep the wiimote pointed at the right angle, it is, well, on the ceiling. I am not one for heights and I have to actually stand on a desk to position it. I have probably stepped up on a desk to position that thing about 50 times this week, and while that is the closest I've gotten to the gym, it still isn't quite working perfectly.

I never considered that I have to leave the wiimote on all the time. Also, I have to recalibrate the thing any time the projector is bumped. Finally, to top it off, I can't even hook the computer that has the interactive software to the internet. What type of interactive stuff (for lack of a better word) am I going to be doing with students on said whiteboard? All I can come up with is power points so far. I would love any suggestions.

Off to enjoy Veteran's Day eve!

November 9, 2010

Serendipity

Serendipity is such a fun word.

I have been reading up on Socratic questioning lately because it is a method I want to implement more in my classroom. You might think, "Isn't that just asking more questions?" Uh, yea it kind of is. However, for it to be effective you have to have a pretty decent command of the subject material, and there are a few basic principles you need to follow. I had never really considered the merit of Socratic questioning until it came up in one of my graduate classes a few weeks ago.

So today I gave it a shot. During a complex science lesson on lenses, I started asking questions. The students began answering almost in unison. Granted, these were not easy questions. Every time they gave me a response, I followed up with another question. There was some pretty serious thinking going on, and I was pretty amazed at what my little friends were able to come up with. Also, letting all of the students call out answers at random just worked. It was almost like I was one on one with each student. I could easily tell who was "getting it" and who has some major misconceptions that need to be cleared up. All in all, the lesson was a huge success.

It should be said that this little bright spot was pretty minor in the context of a tough, draining day. (It should also be said that these days are rarely caused by the students. Today was no exception.) As I trudged through the woods to my car, I checked my email on my phone. Amid the usual junk was an email from my Mom. Would you believe the email was a link to an amazing article about the power of Socratic questioning? I didn't think you would, so here is a link to the article she sent. http://www.garlikov.com/Soc_Meth.html

Pretty powerful stuff. I think I actually understand the base 2 number system after reading the questions this guy asked a group of third graders. Sorry Daniel, but I was lying all those times I pretended to understand it before. Oh, and thanks Mom.

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