October 5

Month 2–Incorporating Technology

It’s not so simple incorporating technology in the English classroom. There are times when I really want to go “old school” with a trusty overhead projector! Simple to use. . . . Just write on the transparency or print one out after creating it on the computer.

And yet, I am constantly researching new technologies to engage students. My latest “discovery” is Plickers. I have downloaded the app to create assessments, and I have ordered the laminated cards. Now–I have to be brave enough to use this technology. I think Plickers will be a good way for some formative assessment, especially to check understanding of new learning. I am not sure I will use it formal summative assessment.

Last year, I added a document camera to my arsenal of equipment. It has given me other ways to present information to students. I’ve used it to share texts. I’ve used it while writing with students. They can see me compose and edit and revise. I have not yet given students the opportunity to share their work under the camera, but I see that as an option in the future.

And I am continuing to use Google Classroom to deliver content as well as information to students. I like the fact that I can give students a question to answer after a reading assignment to check for understanding. I can post assignments and point students to additional information about the content of class. Further, it provides a means of keeping lines of communication open to them. As my school begins to integrate Google Classroom and work on getting all students their own emails through Gmail.com, and we integrate the entire Google Suite, I believe that students will benefit.

Now, I need to become more proficient. There’s a learning curve to integrating technology, but I will be ready to learn.


September 18

Another Year Begins

Actually, I am a month into school. I have completed one four-week unit centering around the Holocaust to prepare the students in the upper school for their trip to Washington, D.C., earlier this month. I’m starting the new units now: Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon poetry in English IV’ short stories, featuring a mini unit on Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories in English II; Native American and early American literature in English III; and Where the Red Fern Grows with my seventh grade ELA class. My yearbook staff is hard at work selling ads and preparing the page ladder. The photographers are scurrying around taking pictures of the various classes and related activities. In all, this month has been busy!

And I am learning new things. The faculty has been encouraged to use Google Classroom. There is so much to learn, but I like it! I really do. What is surprising me is how many students are resistant to learning the new technology. And I thought I was the one to be reluctant! The conventional wisdom is to let the students teach the teacher. Well, it’s not working that way in my classroom!

Here is what I like about Google Classroom.

  1. I can post assignments in advance, and students can work on them at their own pace.
  2. I don’t have to keep up with remembering to give absent students their assignments. They can easily see them in the Classroom.
  3. I can give students digital copies of handouts. If students lose a printed handout, they have access to it to print a replacement.
  4. Students can hand in work via the Classroom. I can work virtually paperless!
  5. Google Classroom allows me to grade online, post the grades, and later print out a spreadsheet to transfer grades to the electronic grade book used by the school.
  6. Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Forms, and Google Slides all “play nice” with the Classroom.

I think this will be a great tool as we all get used to it. I will be researching more uses of this platform as the year goes on.

I would like to know how you are using Google Classroom with your students in your classroom.