Monday, January 5, 2015

Apple Training with the 6-12 English Department

Today the entire 6-12 faculty broke into departments around the high school and had an Apple instructor per content area to share with us some resources, tips and tricks that fit specifically into what we teach. It was a great day and I'm so excited I decided to "live blog" it. It's obviously not live right now, but it's broken down throughout the day. Enjoy!

8:38 a.m.
After group introductions, including every teacher adding together their personal number of years teaching, we have reached a total of 217 years of teaching experience for 17 people. Our instructor, Cyndi Danner-Kuhn, seems very approachable and knowledgeable, and I’m eager to learn more from an Apple instructor with English as the focal point.

8:53 a.m.
Really enjoying hearing ideas from all teachers, regardless of the grade, to make assignments more technological. I didn’t expect to gather anything from the middle school level teachers, only because I assumed we did such similar things, but we don’t! I’m eager to visit with two teachers a little bit more about how they used Minecraft for an English assignment.

9:20 a.m.
Opening iBooks, here we go! Plus, Cyndi put up her personal site and it’s already obviously full of great stuff. Check it out here - I found a super great iBook of “Romeo & Juliet” that had graphics for every single line that when clicked on will bring up a modern English translation for the entire book. How fun!

10:25 a.m.
Moving to iTunes! There are Apple Learning Series books intended to be read on the iPad so we can read on the iPad and execute on the Mac. Now, someone was thinking there!
Ooo! There’s a free audiobook of “Romeo & Juliet” broken down by act and scene so kids can listen to the book while they read. Now this could be a very useful and effective way to break up the monotony of reading as a class every - single - day.

11:05 a.m.
Now Cyndi is showing us her personal website, she has a ton of amazing resources. Plus, hello Pinterest! Now she’s speaking my language.

12:38 p.m.
Okay, back from a tasty lunch from HyVee (thank you adminstration) and ready to do some more practical work. Looks like we’re prepping to make a little video reflection. Better pay attention…

1:18 p.m.
So individually or in pairs we all made videos discussing our teaching objectives and/or how mastery is demonstrated and assessed, and now Cyndi is having us share them all. Some are totally hilarious and others are more straightforward, but I’m really struck with out allowing students to record speeches ahead of time will ensure a quality improvement. Now, when they give speeches, they never rehearse. I mean, they SAY they do, but I know better. This way there are no excuses for awesome speeches. They can record, view, revise, rehearse and re-record. I know this is a can, not a will but at least it’s a can. Plus, they will probably be less nervous about public speaking when they have this much more power over the situation. I do believe we’ll be doing some more speeches in English I once the Macs are delivered.

1:41 p.m.
Exploring the differences between making Bookmarks in Chrome and a Reading List in Safari. I would say we’ll stick with Bookmarking into a folder in Chrome, that way everything is still in a group, like for a research paper, but they have all the convenience and compatibility of working in Chrome. I really do like the idea of helping kids to decide that they should keep their reference sources all in one place for easy access. Of course there will be a few sites that update too regularly to make a bookmark of, but those will be relatively far and few between.

3 p.m.
Well, we all just made a Pages document that could kind of be used to advertise a unit. It might be a notebook cover or a poster for the whiteboard during the unit. I chose to make mine over “Romeo & Juliet,” and for only 30 minutes of work time I think it turned out pretty well! Others are over Digital Citizenship & Plagiarism, the Holocaust and Anne Frank, poetry, and others.

3:12 p.m.
I just shared my “Romeo & Juliet” poster and, like I said, I’m pleased with how much I got done and the group responded pretty well to it. Now we’re all sharing one thing that we’re really excited about from today and know we’ll use. A lot of today was repeat for me after having gone through four full days of Apple Vanguard training, but it was still a very nice refresher on what I learned during those days, and it was a fun day with the middle school English teachers who we almost never get to see. A big thank you to Apple, Cyndi, and our administration for everything the entire 6-12 faculty had the opportunity to learn today. I’m incredibly blessed to work in a district that keeps what’s coming up in their sights and does their best to roll with all those punches.

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