Classroom Comments

Save the trees and give feedback

Last year I learned while introducing a lesson that our school received access to google classroom. Our school district has paid for Discovery Education (DE) for many years, and I have increased my use of DE since I was introduced to it. Last year I was determined to have all my quizzes on DE along with using the tech book and boards for stations/centers, re-teaching and accelerating my students. At the beginning of the year, I created my classes and my first few assignments and their first quiz.

It was the second week of school and my lesson was teaching them how to access Discovery Education, exploring it along with taking their first quiz on classroom procedures and organization. I had directions written on the Smartboard and was walking around helping students after I had read them a couple of times. As I walked around, I noticed a couple of students who could not get into Discovery Education. Then all the hands began raising. They had followed my directions perfectly, and DE was not letting them in. I was baffled as it had worked the day before.  I admitted I did not know why it wasn’t working and had them switch over to logging onto Brain Pop and Safari Montage and writing down how they logged in on a page in their Agenda. Then we reviewed the learning/ study strategies they had written down and all the other things we had put in our notebooks and played a name game.

During the class change, I emailed the person in our district who was in charge of Discovery Ed and asked her what had happened. She informed me that the district connected the students’ new Google accounts to our Discovery Education (DE) and the way that students will log in and she was working on an email to everyone explaining the new way we would have to log in. She informed me that DE was now connected to our ASPEN account (how we record grades and have our web pages) so it would automatically create and update classes for us as students enter and withdraw our classes. It took me about a half hour during my planning period to assign the quiz and other activities I had given the classes I created and delete the old ones. As frustrating as it was that day the change was very good and helpful for me. I love not having to create or update my classes on DE.

For the first year, I only used my students google accounts to access Discovery Ed while I researched google drive and classroom. Then over the summer I began exploring google classroom and realized how much it would help me. Now I am challenging myself to switch over to google classroom for a handful of reasons. I still use my interactive notebook for mini-lessons, warm-ups, notes, foldable, writing labs, homework, studying, classwork that isn’t graded, etc.

In the second year with a google account, I have dived in with using google classroom and google drive. As a science teacher, I love the idea of saving paper, and as someone who has been teaching for 17 years, I like not spending time making copies, so google classroom was very appealing. I have placed all their reflections, surveys, open-ended test questions, and many of their IB MYP (International Bachelorette Middle Years program) tasks on google classroom.

Google classroom has given me the opportunity of a conversation with my students and their assignments. It is the same as writing on the side of their paper, but I now have evidence of their corrections on every draft. This has allowed students who desire to improve their work have that opportunity. I am very thankful for the support of my media specialist and my science coach who are well versed in google classroom and are willing to help me anytime I am stuck or want to try something new.

My back has really appreciated not carrying home all those papers or my school computer since I have a Mac book at home. I have put all my files on my google drive and moved our department docs to a team drive so I can access them whenever I need them. The use of google drive is helping us collaborate and making meetings more effective and efficient. When we were surprised with a snow day on a Monday, I didn’t freak out because I could access the work I needed to grade on google classroom. I highly recommend using google drive and classroom to eanyoen that has the opportunity. Change can be difficult, but it is oh so beneficial.


Classroom Comments

And so it began

The new school year began, the first semester is almost over, and I have not written on this once. There were a few times I thought about oh, this would be a good blog topic, but never sat on my couch with my computer and began writing. I have made a handful of Shutterfly photo books, but no posts; better late than never. I am not sure what I should write about first, but what I am most excited about right now is that I am planning on flipping my classroom with my enhanced classes and providing the option to all for one of my units next semester.

I am so thankful that I have two science coaches in my district that met with me about flipping my classroom this past week. One is a K-12 lead science coach, and the other is the middle school science coach. The K-12 lead science coach had observed my room the last week, and after about ten minutes in my classroom she came up to me and said, “You are ready to flip your class. Do you know what I mean by that?” I responded, “I do. I have read some of it, listened to a few podcasts about it, but wasn’t sure if it was possible with our students because many of them do not have access to computers at home. The science coach responded, “I was a high school teacher in this district and had a flipped classroom for the past seven years so you can do this too.” I said I was interested in hearing her out. When she left, she sent me an email explaining what she had observed in my room and would send me a meeting notice for the question, planning, a strategy session with me and the middle-grade level science coach. A few minutes later I received a meeting notice.

Yesterday we met to strategize. The coaches said that the stations I create for my classroom were exactly what I will tweak in order for them to become the at home learning activities. Then I will have time for the projects and activities I have always wanted to do but never had the time because I had to teach content and re-teach content. I am so excited for this opportunity and now I must be diligent in my planning so I will be ready for my plate tectonic unit in the spring. Then I can use my summer in planning a few more units or maybe all of them.

about me

Hello world :)

Welcome to Miscellaneous Meandering Musings. If you read the page mmmedtl then you will learn a bit about my education and why I started this blog. I am clueless about blogging but completely intrigued by the idea of it, because it feels like a journal. I have kept some sort of a journal since I was in middle school and have contemplated writing some of it on-line for the past who knows how many years.  Ever since I left grad school I have had a desire to stay engaged in research, writing and conversing about education, travel and all things involved with life. This blog is my attempt to stay engaged and reflective, even if only for myself.