Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The kids are smarter than the teacher

Today was fun... I was having the kids read a short story online called "The Lady and The Tiger". What made this task more difficult than normal was the fact that our wireless connection as well as the internet connection went down when the kids were supposed to be reading this story from my web page. Yahoo! Awesomely enough (flashback to the 80's) I asked the kids how we can prevent this from being a problem in the future. What was truly remarkable is that they had solutions. They declared, "Why not copy and paste the story from my website into their My Documents when we begin to read the story so that if the connections goes down they have the text right in front of them." I was so impressed by their ability to solve the problem on the spot rather than watching their teacher self-destruct because she wasn't sure of what to do. In addition, this made me think how great this would be to have the text copied and pasted into a Word document because they can manipulate the text. They can make commentss and connections, highlight words they don't know, and immediately, find the definition of those words using their right click. The kids never cease to amaze me and keep me heading on the right track.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Unleashing the laptops

The kids all needed to complete a timed writing sample on Friday and so I figured what the heck I don't have enough stress going on in my life, let's see if we can get them all signed in and running in a timed segment. Was it successful? Did the kids rise to the challenge? Was Smith crazy? YES TO ALL. The kids did a great job even though we had a few minor glitches. The students had issues with their log-ins as well as the computers having issues with the log-ins, but for the most part by fifth hour I was happy. The kids really rose to challenge despite me trying to be teacher and computer troubleshooter all at once. It was really cool to sit back and just watch them composing on the computer. It was like watching them all in this zone of writing/ typing. Now all I need is for the drop boxes to work so I can read theri creations.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The First Day...

The kids seemed to be experiencing a little bit of the George Bush syndrome of being shocked and awed. They aren't quite sure what to make of all of it. You mean, we get laptops but we have to be a contributor to our learning? We actually have a say in what we are doing and we are trying to change the face of education? You want me? I am not quite sure how to describe how things went but I know this...they were hooked. It will be interesting to read their blogging comments on being producers of information vs. consumers as well as what it means to have a professional learning environment. Tomorrow I am actually going to see if we can get all the computers assigned as well as have them complete their writing assessment on the laptop. The challenges have just begun...

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Project Begins...

So the school year is about to begin and we are embarking on this journey of revitalizing education at AHS through the use of laptops with one Social Studies, Science, and English classroom. It is a daunting task to say the least. The project began with just the excitement that we, Brian, Brad and I, were going to have a digital classroom where we could try some new things in terms of teaching and connecting with our students. Through countless emails, conferences with each other, meetings every Friday at school during the summer, we have been putting our plan into place of how these classrooms and these students will be different. Another time I will go into all the details, but I just wanted to get this started and get all my buddies to help me fill up this blog with what we are experiencing regarding leaving our safety zone of teaching and really trying something remarkably powerful and influential to not only our lives as teachers but to the lives of our students, their families, and the community of AHS.