Lost in Back to School

So it has been a couple weeks since my last post. I have been under the pile of back to school slush that happens every year. Summer Reading assessments, beginning of year paper work, new policies, new IEP’s and 504’s. Lots of stuff. It has been a little more complicated integrating technology than I anticipated. I have 3 sections of 9th grade this year and they are working off carts. The first week we tried the personal tagxedo idea and the major complication was getting them used to the computers, getting log-ins and such. The tagxedo assignment itself worked out beautifully when we finally got everyone on the same page. I actually tried something that really worked. I gave the students a tech usage survey the first day. from that I identified a few techy students and showed them how to navigate the tagxedo site and how to save and upload their tagxedos to BlackBoard. I then sent those students out to groups of students and let them teach the others how to do it while I circled around and troubleshot computer issues. It was a powerful experience to see the students teaching each other. I will definitely use this model throughout the year.
Sadly, in my AP Lit and Dual classes we have been slogging through the summer reading assessments established by the teacher from last year. Next year, I will definitely be streamlining this so that we can start our year sooner. I have set up a blog for them to start next week as we begin The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Based on the book blogs from my 9th grade students, I think this will be a valuable tool for response and inquire. I made the blogs available across my classes so that students get a broader base of collaborative feedback. I am anticipating some good discussion coming out of this.
Next week, wikis in 9th…wish me luck!

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