Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Classroom Screen

There are just some tech tools that just HAD to be created by a classroom teacher.  A tool that seems to be the brain child of an educator who thought to him or herself, "you know what would be awesome?  A web tool I can open in its own tab that does everything I could possibly need it to do!"

Classroom Screen is such a tool.

Accessible on the web at http://www.classroomscreen.com, this site opens in its own tab with a plethora of tools located in the bottom middle of your screen you can use in your classroom tomorrow.

You need a visible clock?  Click on the bad boy.

What you want a timer?  Of course you do - and this one even will do seconds in ten-second intervals.

Hold up - did you say you needed a text box, a drawing box, and a QR code generator?  IT HAS THEM ALL!

And if you have an inordinate amount of Finnish-speaking students, you can even change the language settings, right there on the screen.

Happy classroom screening, peeps.

~Mr. D

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Unit Three Goals

Hey peeps - Unit III is about to come at you fresher than the latest J. Diz track!

This unit of study focuses on a variety of reading and writing skills as they relate to the study of the Holocaust.  Here are the three goals for the first part of the unit:

  • to engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions
  • to analyze the development of a theme or central idea of a text
  • to research an issue of national or global significance
Let's roll!

~Mr. D

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Pre-CP: Reading Plus Reward Book List (Spring 2018)

For all of my Pre-CP ELA folks in 6th and 7th periods, the following list refers to books that are possible for you to read to complete your reading goal for the mid-point and year-end goals set forth by our librarian, Mrs. Sarah Stapp:

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien (L1000)
"1984" by George Orwell (L1090)
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (L1010)
"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" by Mark Haddon (L1090)
"A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron (L970)
"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck (L1010)
"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline (L990)
"The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" by Stephen King (L970)
"Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad (L970)
"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Seth Grahame-Smith (L1070)
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe (L1050)
"Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"by Seth Grahame-Smith (L960)
"The Beekeeper's Apprentice"by Laurie R. King (L1030)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Using GOOGLE DOCS as Teacher/Student Collaboration Tool

Most students are familiar with the WRITING PROCESS by the time they enter middle school.  Most of their experience may follow an outline similar to the one below:

By the time they reach they reach the DRAFTING phase of the process, they have hand-written a version of what their final product will look like (i.e. a speech, an essay, a narrative).  It is usually at this point the piece is turned into the teacher for review, or quite possibly even over to their peers for them to leave comments, suggestions, etc.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Giver LEGO Sets

This past summer, I was accepted into a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) teacher workshop regarding Manifest Destiny and the Mormon Experience at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.  Part of that workshop involved taking the information learned and examining it through a pedagogical lens. To help facilitate that process, the U of U brought in local teacher expert, Quinn Rollins, to help think through ways to help students engage the content in a more meaningful way than other traditional methods (i.e. worksheets, passive note-taking, lecturing).

Quinn is also the author of the book, "Play Like a Pirate," in which he outlines practical ideas for making learning fun again.  One of the methods he shared with us at the workshop (and in the book) is for students to create LEGO sets based on information that they have read/studied.

Recently, our class read Lois Lowry's dystopian classic, "The Giver."  As a way to end the unit of study, I gave students copies of Quinn's templates and had them create a LEGO set on a key component of the story, complete with the mini-figures that would accompany their scene.  Here is a sample of what they created:

For a copy of the LEGO templates to use in your own classroom, visit here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Anchor Down Low Podcast

A few years back, I started to consume a ton of podcast material: from the Kentucky Sports Radio daily radio show that I was unable to listen to in real-time to popular series such as Serial and Up and Vanished, I loved everything about them.  Podcasts allowed me to listen when I was able, and since most shows weren't that lengthy, I could turn my mundane 30-40 minute daily commute into an informational and/or entertaining time frame.

At roughly the same time I started to venture into the world of podcasting, our school district was going through some changes - most of which were needed, but all of which came with some grumbling within the community.  With the advent of social media, you know as well as I do that people are given a platform which allows them to be heard. This can range from what I had for lunch to griping about every possible thing known to man.

Unfortunately, what I saw in terms of the latter were negative things directed towards our school district in general and, more specifically, our middle school.

To be clear, some of things mentioned as complaints were legitimate gripes - others were way off base.  Either way, the story of our school was being dictated by people who weren't a part of it.

Therefore, I went to a friend and colleague of mine to ask him if he wanted to start a podcast re: our school and district.

His first response was, "What's a podcast?"

After a brief tutorial, he was down and today, we begin our third season of the Anchor Down Low podcast.

For more information on how to listen, check out the brief video tutorial below:

~Mr. D

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The End of the Year

As impossible as it may seem in mid-August, another school year has come to a close.  I have had a wonderful year with all of you this year and I am proud to have been your teacher.  Please believe me when I say that I will continue to do anything I can to help and support you in the future.  

Live look at a baby Mr. D
In the comments section below, I would like for you to write a brief note to next year's 8th graders.  Be sure to complete the following:

  1. Be sure to put your actual name as the person leaving the comment.
  2. These will be shared with next year's group so spelling and grammar count.
Thanks so much for being you.  I hope you have a wonderful summer and a fantastic high school experience at RCHS.

See you on the flippy floppy.  

Peace be the journey.

Mr. D