Friday, June 5, 2015

First Year of Teaching in Review

By Kristen Gierman 

There is no doubt that one of the most powerful things I did to develop as an individual and educator in my first year at Elk Grove was connecting with others in the building.  Thankfully, the atmosphere that our ITF/DTCs created provided me the opportunity and space to build valuable networks to expand my ideas and teaching practice.

Partaking in collaboration did require an initial nudge, but it generated enormous value at practically no cost to me.  While I understand that time is one of our most precious resources as teachers, I would argue that the transmission of new ideas and perspectives that took place in moments of collaboration far outweighed my fear of “misusing my time” in that way.
In exchanging ideas and listening to the suggestions of others, I not only got to see my ideas improve but also received tangible evidence about how my thoughts could be put to use elsewhere in the school.

This year reaffirmed my belief that good ideas do not develop in isolation or in the confines of our own practice.  Rather, they come from a network of connections that are all around us at Elk Grove if we challenge our ways of thinking and recognize the potential that exists in connecting, learning, and sharing with others.  There is value in the unlikely interactions that occur when clusters of individuals with distinct skills and passions overlap.  It is these combinations that carry the potential to spark innovation and can drive us all forward.

As I wrap up my first year, I want to take the time to thank those who have given me the opportunity to work in conjunction with them and challenged me to grow.  You have served as a clear reminder of the reality that there is a small difference between doing something and doing nothing but the two have wildly different outcomes for our students and us!

On Making Mistakes & Learning in a 1:1 Classroom

By Kim Miklusak

This has been a year of uncharted territory for many of us.  Although I had worked with iPads and technology prior to this year, it was my first year teaching in a full 1:1 classroom.  I have to say I was nervous--especially working with people who had been in iPad pilot programs for a few years.  I was nervous that people would ask me questions that I may not immediately know the answer to.  I was nervous that I would try things out in my classroom and they wouldn't work.  I was nervous that I would take time to make something only to find a better way to do it later.

And you know what?  All of those things happened.  But because of the general support structure at  EGHS--and throughout the district as a whole--as well as the specific support structure of the CollabLab and my peers, I was able to learn and grow alongside those I was helping--and alongside my students!  I appreciate the willingness to share in our school, and I appreciate the instructional conversations we can have in our departments and across departments.  I've learned as much from teachers in other subjects as I have from teachers in my own!  Additionally I've learned so much from connecting with people on Twitter and at EdCamps.

I know the shift in instructional technology is a big one, and we are all in different places with it.  The mindset at our school is so important: move at a pace that is comfortable for you.  For some that means considering the SAMR model and working first with substitution as we digitize curricula.  For some that means trying out one thing such as doing entrance or exit slips on the iPad each day.  For others that could be doing one project on the iPad.  And still for others that means transforming as many pieces of the curriculum as possible.

The key is always, however, to realize that whatever we do for the first time, we may (we will!) find more effective and efficient ways to do it in the future--especially if we share our successes and missteps with others.  As long as our instructional focus comes first and technology comes second, the technology will be there to enhance as oppose to diminish what we do in our classrooms for our students.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Saving Courses from the "Archive" in Schoology

By: Rachel Barry

Don't worry, all of your hard work and long hours spent adding documents, building formative assessments, and constructing assessment rubrics to Schoology has not gone to waste for upcoming school years!  Here I will provide you with a simple step-by-step guide to keep your courses live for future use.

1.  Click "Courses" in the top toolbar.

2.  Click "See All" in the bottom right corner of the open tab.

3.  Click on the Setting (gear) aligned to the course you want to keep from being archived.

4.  Click "Edit".

5.  Check "Keep Forever", and your course will be kept at least until January 21, 2025!

6.  Don't forget to SAVE!

If you would like help with this or have any additional questions for the end of the school year, please stop by the Collab Lab!