Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Time flies when you're having fun! Or are really busy. :)

I feel like I've been busier lately at school despite having a student teacher (or maybe that should be because of my student teacher!). I have had the chance to keep up with Twitter quite a bit... it's a nice easy thing to keep up with and scroll with during the day (and it's not blocked at school - yes!).

I tried to update my Internet Explorer this weekend to version 8.0 and failed miserably. Suddenly I couldn't connect at all unless I disabled all of my add-ons... but having to do that every time was annoying. I tweeted about it and received a reply from @lekahe about how she uses firefox. So I went ahead and downloaded & installed it and have been using it ever since. (I know, a whole 3 days, but still!) After I figured out how to open a new tab (I admit to looking in the "help" section) everything's been smooth sailing. I especially like how my favorites are spread out across the top for easy access - I have progressbook (school gradebook) and teacher webpage login right there! Awesome.

The one thing I don't like about Firefox is how it works with our school e-mail - it doesn't refresh at all to show when new messages arrive. I finally figured that out today (it was hard to believe that no one had sent any e-mails today!) and might ask around to see if anyone else uses firefox to see what they did about it. But if that's the only thing I don't like, I can totally live with it. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I sent Darren Kuropatwa an e-mail the other day and was pleasantly surprised with a response within an hour or so. It's so nice to have nice, helpful people willing to teach! Actually, he sent me three e-mails within that hour... the first was a one-liner saying "flattery will get you everywhere" (and then nothing else); the second was an apology - he was at lunch and meant to save the e-mail, not send it; and the third was a true response. Very cool and lots to learn. Thank you, Darren!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach recently created a post on the PLP ning called "Ten Tips for Creating a 21st-Century Classroom Experience" that I've been struggling with lately. (Here's a link to the article she was referencing.) I've struggled with a lot of the ideas that have been listed. Don't get me wrong - I love the technology and using it in class, but this seemed to be more of a push towards the idea of discovery learning... always a tough thing to do in a math classroom. I definitely believe that you need some direct instruction - how else do you learn the formulas? But maybe I'm being too old fashioned (I think my student teacher would agree with me, which is ironic because he's 6 years older than I am!).

I've also been pointed towards Darren Kuropatwa's direction several times (whom I was already following on Twitter and subscribed to his blog through my Google Reader!)... I may try the scribing with my precalc classes next year (I think we'd have a major rebellion if I tried it now... especially with a student teacher). I set up a blog over the weekend to help me get started. My next plan is to actually contact Darren to see how exactly he runs his class. From what I've read on his blog, I really don't think that there are any major differences... he presents problems, talks through them, then posts his slides on the blog. The kids then summarize each class day. I need some more info before I draw any additional conclusions, I guess.

Just signed up for diigo... we'll see if I like it better than delicious (which I like, but maybe change is good. :) ). That'll give me something to play with today while I'm observing my student teacher.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I've been neglecting things. . . my Google Reader, the PLP ning. (Luckily, I haven't been neglecting my kids at home, though the house itself could stand a good cleaning!) For some reason I've been busier at school with my student teacher than I would normally be. He's teaching quite a bit (some would say too much, he would probably say not enough) but even when I'm not teaching I can't seem to get caught up. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I have a tablet pc that I use in class to do notes on, show answers to problems, and pull stuff in from the 'net when I find it. Yesterdy I gave (ahem, lent) it to my student teacher for him to use while he's teaching - I'm using his school-issued laptop in the meanwhile. I'm miserable! This thing is big and clunky and it's harder to press the buttons and I don't have a pen to help me select stuff. It'll be nice to get it back. (Just to note - he just has it while he's teaching during the day... I still take it home at night and while I'm teaching.)

Photo from flikr courtesy *bene*