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December?!

How on earth is tomorrow December?!  And I don’t want to hear any of your smart-alecky comments like, “Well, first there was January 1 and then January 2…and then July 16 and then July 17…and then November 29 and then November 30, and now it’s December 1.”

December is gearing up to be a big month.  Lots to do.  One last assignment for my first grad school class.  A visit to see my sister.  A concert of my favorite band (oh how I love thee, Over the Rhine).  Christmas parties.  Time with my fam.

And heaps of reading…I have 16 titles to go before I reach 78 books for the year.  December is going to have to be my biggest reading month yet.  We’re going for almost all Middle Grade and Young Adult books, I think.

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Goals for this year…

While schools in America and international schools around the world are starting, we’ve been at it for a month now.  I’m still not sure how that month passed by so ridiculously quickly.

I met with my principal last week to discuss my goals for this year.  I wish that I had made a copy before I went in to speak with him but, alas, I didn’t learn from last year’s mistake and came away empty-handed.  Perhaps in the next week or so I’ll see it.

One of my goals this year is to work towards a paper-less classroom for my HS classes and to do at least one paper-less assignment with my Grade 7’s.  So far so good as I have started two Nings – one for World Literature and one for Public Speaking.  The World Lit students are journaling on the Ning.  I have weekly overviews and daily homework assignments on there along with electronic copies of the handouts that they have received in class.  I would like to see their Final Paper turned in online.

My Public Speaking class is posting their Metacognitions on their Ning.  I had one student say that it helps immensely with his ADD as he doesn’t have to remember to physically hand in the work to me.  I’d like to use the Ning more in this class but I’m not sure what use it has in a performance-based classroom.

But the biggest news of the year is setting up all of the Grade 7’s with their own e-mail accounts.  The accounts are Google-based so we have access to all the Gmail features including Google Documents and Sites.  As we work on our Autobiography Projects, we’ve had a steep learning curve as we get everyone up-to-speed on logging on to their e-mail followed by created a new Google Doc and sharing that Google Doc with me.

I see the whole experience as being positive but for now we’re wading through some of the small issues that inevitably come up with putting all the students on e-mail:

  • Just because you can chat, doesn’t mean that you should chat.  Close those chat windows while you are supposed to be following the instructions your teacher gave you.
  • Not all of your former teachers want to receive daily e-mails from you.
  • Your teacher is probably not interested in joining the group chat with you and five other friends.  It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t enjoy being your teacher.

I’m excited to see what my students are going to do this year!  They’re off to a great start!