5.20.2016

Cell Phones in Class

How do you manage cell phones in class?

One school that I recently visited decided it was time to open up the school wi-fi and give students open access. Of course they still use filters and social media is not accessible but students can now use the school resources when they are in class.

If a teacher needs time without the cell phones they have a card system. Red is teachers time - put up the cell phone and pay attention. Green is student time - students can have their cell phones out and use them in class. They simply printed some cards with a cell phone on them, put the red and green sides together and laminated them. Some teachers tape them to the dry erase board, others use a magnet to hold them up and others have other ways. The cards can switch back and forth several times throughout the day.

This has cut down on "discipline problems" related to students having their phones on them at all and has allowed staff to concentrate on teaching and learning instead of who might have a cell phone in their pocket.

What do you think about this policy? What is your school policy? What do you think a good cell phone policy should include?


Red = Teacher Time, No Cell Phones
Green = Student Time, Cell Phones Allowed

5.19.2016

STEAMmaker and Girls Coding - No Cost Professional Development


CareerTech is offering two camps in June for teachers to learn strategies on implementing project based learning in their classrooms.

We are offering our third STEAMmaker Camp and introducing Girls Coding. These camps are being offered at no cost to instructors and students that they bring with them. Teachers must apply and commit to attending the entire camp. Teachers who attend receive high quality and immersive professional development and get to implement strategies that they learn into practice immediately with their students who get to attend a cool summer camp.

Teachers do not have to be STEM teachers and we are encouraging anyone who has a desire to do project based learning to apply.

STEAMmaker Camp
WHERE: Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Portland Campus located at 3500 NW 150th Street in Oklahoma City
WHEN: June 7-10, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (optional)
  • June 7-9 with teams of students
  • June 10 - teachers only for a one-day project based learning training (no optional evening portion)
WHO: Teams of 2 teachers and 5-8 students, in grades 6-10 (rising)
WHAT: Come learn, play, and invent in this super-awesome camp using littleBits, Makey Makeys, ArtSnacks (and more), and kids’ awesome summertime imaginations!
WHY: It’s super fun to geek out with your friends and a have great summer camp experience! And teachers will get high-quality, hands-on experience on how to make and run their own MakerEd space.
Girls Coding
WHERE: Metro Technology Center's Springlake Campus located at 1900 Springlake Drive in Oklahoma City
WHEN: June 13-15, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • June 13 - teacher teams of two for a one-day project based learning training
  • June 14-15 -  teachers teams with teams of five students
WHO: Teams of 2 teachers and 5 students, in grades 7-10 (rising)
WHAT: Come learn, play, and code in this super-awesome camp.
WHY: It’s super fun to geek out with your friends and a have great summer camp experience! Teachers will get high-quality, hands-on experience on how to implement coding into their classroom.

3.25.2016

High School Z - Whole School Improvement


Our team had the opportunity to visit a site who was using The Leader in Me, from FranklinCovey, to implement whole school improvement.

What struck me about this process is the way that it is implemented. Many times in a school each teacher will have their classroom rules and it differs from grade to grade and class to class.There may be no consistency and expectations may be different.

This site was implementing The Leader in Me across all classes, across all grades and all sites. The "rules" and "expectations" for the kindergarten class are the same as for the seniors in an agriculture education program!

Throughout the school instead of different posters showing different rules they had banners, "street signs" in the hallway (see picture above) and posters in the cafeteria that serve as a reminder for the habits that they are supposed to be developing.

But what happens when teachers retire or move to another system and new ones are hired to replaced them? As part of their hiring process newly hired personnel must take the same training that everyone else has received in order to be introduced into the culture of the school system and understand the whole school philosophies.

I am not saying that you must use the same program but I really liked the concept of the entire school system using the same base and that they have a process for on-boarding that includes training the new hire in the way that the site does whole school improvement.

3.18.2016

High School Z - Turn off the Noise!

As we were touring an academic center we were discussing how the site helps students concentrate on the task at hand - testing.

In the center there was a speaker that was connected to the site's communication system. They installed a switch on the speaker, a light switch in particular, that they could use to turn off the speaker if they are testing.

As a student I was very easily distracted and very willing to chase a "squirrel" when I should be concentrating. Having class interrupted by an announcement was a sure fire way for me to not concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing anymore.

So there you have it, a switch that turns off the announcement speaker so that students will not be interrupted with the lunch menu. Seems like a pretty good idea to me!

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