Sunday, September 17, 2017

Genius Hour is off to a good start

So we have been back to school for about five weeks. Classcraft is fully functioning and so much fun, a wonderful way to manage my classroom. This game actually minimizes any classroom disruptions as all of my students try to build their characters and attempt to progress to higher levels in the game. I love the daily random events and boss battles. On one of our in-service days I took the time to create 25 random events that have to do with Spanish and the Hispanic culture. Also, creating daily boss battles is a snap, and students really love them. I was determined to create a meaningful Genius Hour this semester so I took a lot of time to lay the groundwork for it before allowing the students to begin on their projects. It was a lot of fun to play with circuits, to take virtual reality tours and to create green screen pictures. Last Friday, my students finally had the opportunity to begin their project and I must say I was impressed. One of students actually coded a game on Scratch. I would have never believed it had I not seen him do it. He was so excited, had me play the game and told me what else he will try to add next time we have Genius Hour.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The 2017/2018 School Year Has Arrived

So teachers went back to school last Wednesday. The first day back was easy, no major meetings and such, just working in our rooms for the most part. Then Thursday was the dreaded county-wide day that actually only amounted to two hours of meetings at our school. It was so sad since I met up with my former colleagues. I really miss them so much. But what do you do? I really have gotten used to my current school and last year all went well. Since I live only 7 minutes away from there I was able to set up my classroom on little daily trips there for the past two weeks. So last week I basically only had to do little things, like put books under the desks, adjust the seating chart due to a few schedule changes, add all of my students to Classcraft, and attend a few meetings with the Spanish department. I also spent a considerable amount of time getting the Silhouette Portrait cutter to work along with the fabmakerstudio program for our Makerspace stuff next year. This proved to be pretty frustrating until I finally wrote down the steps one has to take to get it to work in order. So perhaps when I get back to school on Monday, this process will just work. I am still learning how to do circuits and the automotive teacher helped me to create one that lights a LED light. This was really cool. I believe I am getting the hang of that so I can actually explain this to the students. I am really hoping some will do a makerspace project for their genius hour project. On Monday we will have the last in-service day, then Tuesday we will pass out schedules. Regular schedule begins on Wednesday. May the learning adventure begin in my class. I'm ready.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dreaming about next school year

So the summer is now half way over. Tomorrow I am using my language skills to serve as an interpreter for Remote Area Medical, a new thing I have never tried before. I found a great video about finding your passion at https://youtu.be/HScOL_aOMrw. Thinking about his method of finding my passion I discovered that mine is simply creating school stuff for my students. It's discovering new ways to reach and to motivate my students with things that interest them and bring them over to my side, allowing me to teach them the Spanish language with an open mind. My genius hour project ideas need to be further defined. I need to make sure that all of my students will actually work on their projects during the allowed class time and that all truly work on something worthwhile and valuable. This will be the challenge, and I am still searching. So upon further consideration, I am not ready for the next school year just yet. I will keep dreaming.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

My ISTE17 Takeaways and Other Matters

So last week I was at ISTE17. What an awesome experience it was! I got my 15 minutes of fame presenting my "Great Global Project Challenge" project there at the Global Education Day. It was indeed and unforgettable experience and I am so grateful to Lucy Gray for making it happen. I learned so much at ISTE that it's just hard to put in words right now. One thing is for sure, Genius Hour is a big deal and all three sessions were totally booked. So I know that doing the Genius Hour and giving the students a voice and choice is the right thing for me to do next school year. Coding, yes, I will get my students to try it with Scratch this year. Also, the SDG's Sustainable Development Goals are big and I will get my students involved in something that makes a real difference. Google Classroom is also big now and I am so glad I already created a classroom for each of my upcoming classes. Just today I discovered that you can make mobile green screens with pizza boxes. Who would have ever thought? Amazing. Well, summer has finally arrived for me. I'm ready for next school year with my new makerspace station sitting in my living room, reminding me of the new school year that will be upon us in a month or so.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Summer Time

So what's a teacher to do in the summer? The first few nights after school was over I had terrible school nightmares, but apparently that phase has now passed. My principal has posted the schedule for next year and I will have one section of Spanish I and the rest all Spanish II's. First thing I did was to clone the Spanish II syllabus and adjust it to Spanish I, changing the topics of course. My super cool friend Tony Vincent is keeping me busy trying out his suggestions for teachers. I already learned how to create personalized printed sticky notes for my students and now mastered Google Classroom. I set up classrooms for each of my classes for next year, with syllabus, a couple assignments, and all of the Quizlet vocabulary sets for all chapters I plan to cover with them on the Spanish I and II levels. I also created a Google Classroom for our Monroe County Teacher Summer Splash and added topics for each of the seven presenters to post their presentations and resources. This morning it occurred to me to create another Google Classroom, this one for our Global Collaborations with Athalo and Alexis. So now I will turn my focus to the Upward Bound German class coming up next Wednesday. Fortunately all is ready for them with pre- and post-tests, syllabus, project rubric, vocabulary lists, and group activity instruction handouts. Think my brain is running in overdrive? Perhaps, but I need to take advantage of this time of the year, when my brain is still on school. Ah, and the ISTE17 coming up, now that's another story for later.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Great Global Project Challenge Award

Last week I found out that our project "Why Should I Study a Foreign Language?" was selected as one of the grant winners. It came as a big surprise, but I am so happy about it. My co-project leaders Athalo and Alexis will be presenting it with me at the next Global Education Conference. This is so exciting. Last week was the most hectic all year, with a webinar, a Quizlet teacher PD, a videoconference with Athalo's school, Senior Awards night, and then graduation last night. But now it will be smooth sailing to the end of the school year with exams on Thursday and Friday. I am so proud of my 1st period class who has been my pilot Classcraft class and helped me learn to play this with my classes next school year. Next Monday I will give them each an award for their effort to participate and learn to play it after the senior left.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Global Day of Design- May 2, 2017

Summary of our Global Day of Design Activities We had our Global Day of Design in Spanish II and III classes. We began the morning by creating colorful key chains in 1st period class. One of my students had a lot of experience with this and taught the others in the class. The results were great and all were able to come up with nice products. Then in 2nd period class we created friendship bracelets. One of the students, a Cuban girl, taught the others in the class including myself how to create the bracelets. This proved to be a lot harder than the key chains because you had to use 6 strands instead of just two. We also created Cuban sandwiches in that class and had Cuban coffee, delicious.Finally we concluded the Global Day of Design in 4th period class and created Origami objects. My students made hearts, umbrellas and flowers. All in all it was a fun day and greatly enjoyed by all. Ruth Valle