Day Two: Life’s Big Truths

Today was the second day of the 2014-2015 school year.  It was, overall, a great day.

In third period, we got set up on Edmodo.  We used the Actively Learn app to read nonfiction current event selections of their choice.  They had three options, one on entrepreneurship, one on sports, and one on stress.  They could pick whichever one they wanted.  Last night, I went through and added some questions to align with the Common Core State Standards.  I made sure to select texts one grade level up, because I want them to be ready for high school.  We might as well start early.

After we did this, we talked about what it means to be an active listener.  The curriculum wanted us to discuss it aloud, which is so 2013.  Instead we used our GAFE accounts to edit a Google document collaboratively.  The first group was having way too much fun, until they realized that we could see in real-time who was typing what.  I realized that, with the novelty of the technology, we wouldn’t go anywhere unless I let them explore for a couple of minutes.  Eventually, after they got the giggles out, we got to work.  I think they made it more about their goals for this year, which is totally fine by me.

Then, we looked at our textbook online.  That was pretty cool.  It worked on laptops, but not on tablets or smartphones.  We read a page together about life’s big truths, or something like that.  I can’t remember the exact wording.  At the bottom of the page, it said something to the effect of history repeats itself.  I asked the kids if they agreed with that statement.  One girl asked if the events in Ferguson related to the civil rights movement.  We decided to address that for about five minutes.  Some kids hadn’t heard of Michael Brown, and they educated each other.  I didn’t speak much during this time, but I did ask them what we can do to help stop injustice in the world.  Some said to protest and to spread the word.  I told them that I blogged about it, and they can, too.  This was the highlight of my day.

Fourth period was very similar, except I had to leave my class in the hands of another teacher for a while to handle a scheduling situation.  It’s only day two of school, so there were still some issues with kids knowing where to go.  When I came back, we also did the expectations for active listening exercise.  This class got to work right away, and stuck more with the original prompt; however, students were saying that other students were deleting their answers.  Hey, we’re still learning 🙂

Tomorrow, we are going to have a draft, since the class is having a basketball theme for the gamification.  More about that later, because I need to go home and dodge traffic.

But really quickly, I also had my B-Day Tech class for sixth period.  There are quite a few of them, and I was a little nervous about the size of the class; however, once we got the norms established, they were tuned in.  We did a few case studies of digital citizenship, and they shared their best practices for social media.  It was a lot of fun.  Next class, on Friday, we will talk more about digital citizenship.  Next week, we’ll move to audio-visual stuff, then after that, it will be gamified as well.

Ok, gotta go.  Thanks for reading!

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