Tech Task #11: A peek inside your classroom

You’ve listened to several great teachers and speakers, connected with classrooms and hopefully you’ve been thinking about your future classroom. What will it be like? What are the must haves? Think not only about the technology but the pedagogy and learning environments. Embed a trail of links to the people and ideas we’ve explored this semester throughout your post.

Tech Task #9: Are You Well Googled?

I’ve always wondered what would pop up when I googled myself.  It used to be the website for Basketball Beat from grade 7, or when my class was in the paper in grade 3.  However, things have changed a little since then!

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I have to admit, I felt a little popular with all these things popping up about me!  I definitely feel more confident about telling future employers to “google me”.  I like that my page pops up first – definitely a good starting point.  One thing that caught me off guard was my Pinterest page, and under images, my Pinterest profile picture.  I guess I didn’t mind that my page popped up, I was just caught off guard at the pictures of me.  It made me take a second glance at my Pinterest page and what it is exactly that I’m pinning . . . Thank god the worst thing I discovered were 3 pins of Ryan Gosling’s face!

After further investigation, I found some interesting facts:

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Apparently, there are, or should I say were, three other Anna Hipperson’s around at the around the 1830-1900’s.  There was even an Anna M. Hipperson (same middle initial as mine!).  This was so cool, that I just had to call my grandparents.  Apparently, Anna and Mary (my sister’s name) were very popular “back in the day” with the Hipperson clan.  So, as I was looking up other Hipperson’s from English in the 1830-1900’s, I discovered a googled version of a family tree!

Math 9 Pilot Program

One of the classes I’m working in during my pre-internship is Grade Nine Math with 9 students who all have differing levels of learning disabilities. I have to say, this is quite an interesting class! The students range in ability, but for the most part are all willing to learn. As I am working with them, I’m learning more and more about the new pilot program they are trying for grade nine math! Details:

– The teacher cannot assign homework – any homework the students do at home are completely at their own will.

– The students exams are rated on a scale of 1-4. On each exam, there are three sections: level two, level three, and level four. Level two is the basic knowledge that students must know. Level three is more difficult (usually include multiplication and division of fractions with a variable). Level four is typically a word problem. At the top of each test is the outcome clearly stated, and a rubric of what is expected for each level. If a student can complete the level 2 section with very few errors (I was told one or two minor things like misplacing a negative sign), the student has achieved the outcome. Though level 2 is considered a “pass” level three and four just shows a higher level of mastery of the desired outcome.

– If the student doesn’t achieve a 2 or higher, they must re-write the exam. The students are allowed as many re-writes as it takes to achieve a level 2. For those who achieve a 2 and want to re-write to try a level three or four are also allowed to do so as many times as they like. The only catch with re-writes, is the mark of the last test is the one that is used. For example, a boy I work with received a 3 on one exam and wanted to re-write. The next time he only got a 2.5; therefore, his marked dropped down to a 2.5.

– If the student has a great deal of support from an EA or a teacher, the highest he/she can get is a 1.9. If the teacher provides guidance or suggestions and the student receives higher than a 2, the highest they can get is a 2. However, how much guidance is given is at the teachers discretion; therefore, there is no strict line as to what is considered “too much support”.

– The student needs a level 2 on all exams before he/she can move on to grade 10 math.

– One issue I have heard about is grading. As I was talking to the math 9 teacher, she was explaining that she is unsure how the levels will average out, and how she is supposed to transfer that over into a grade.

– Though I believe re-writes are okay, I think it is a little strange that students are allowed as many re-writes as it takes them. Therefore, I’ve noticed that students don’t try as hard when studying, because they know if they don’t achieve a 2, they will have multiple chances to re-write their exam during class time that would otherwise be spent learning a new concept.

– The other thing I am torn about in this pilot program is how teachers cannot assign homework. I’ve noticed that the teacher I work with “recommends” having certain questions done for next day; however, students rarely take their books home and have the questions completed for next day. I have to admit I was a little frustrated by this at first – it seems that in math 9 there is a lot to cover, and if students don’t do any work at home, class time goes towards students finishing their assignments that they could have done at home.

– One thing I think was interesting about this pilot program is that the first week and a half is spent reviewing key concepts from Math 8. The students then write a test the second week of school, and from there are placed in classrooms based on their mark from that test. I am definitely on the fence about this issue. The room I work in is small, and all students there have some form of a learning disability. I think that works okay for them, because it is more one-on-one, and they are all on similar levels. However, at the same time, if we group students based on abilities (a room for students with a learning disability, average students, and gifted students) we are kind of labelling them right from the get go. I would like to see another math 9 room and see how diverse the learners are in each room.

It will be interesting to see how this pilot program works, and whether or not they find it successful.


Room 209 Withdrawal

Pre-internship is definitely keeping me busy!  Unfortunately, my mentorship with Room 209 has resorted to back and fourth comments on each others blogs.  Though I am absolutely loving my pre-internship at Balfour, I do have to admit, I’m quite missing my Digital Degus.  A few weeks ago, we were working on a rubric for students to reference to for their substance abuse/addictions research assignment.  I hope things are going okay for this assignment and that the students of Room 209 are keeping busy with Speedy and Caine!

Assessing students

For the Wellness 10 unit I taught last week, the girls had three assignments that they handed in to me for evaluation.  The first assessment was questions and a journal response to the Penn State case we looked at early in the week.  Most of the girls finished the questions in class, and those who didn’t finish in class handed it in first thing at the beginning of next class.  I was relieved that the girls were so good about handing their questions in.

However, the assignment given on Wednesday didn’t go so well.  Again, most of the girls were really quiet, and worked very attentively; however, only about two or three girls handed their questions in at the end of class.  The next day, only about two or three more girls handed their questions in.  Four days later, I still have yet to receive the questions from the rest of the girls.  I’m starting to get a little worried and frustrated, as I am only at Balfour for three more days, and their Wellness teacher told them numerous times that she isn’t marking assignments that are handed in after I leave.

I also had them create a brochure for a peer support group, or a “letter to the editor” discussing a conflict in a relationship, and a response letter from the editor with steps to enhance that relationship.  My co-op and I thought it would be a good assignment, as I wasn’t expecting much, and I had given them multiple handouts throughout the week that would make this assignment a piece of cake.  This assignment was due last week, and I am still waiting for eight of the thirteen girls to hand in their assignments.  Again, I’m slightly worried right now.  I have explained to them multiple times that I only have 3 days left, and therefore offered to work with them during the lunch hours to get these assignments done.  On Friday, none of the students showed up to work on their assignments.  I’m struggling with how I am going to assess these students in the next three days if they don’t hand anything in to me.  Any suggestions?

Hopefully they show up today at noon hour to finish their assignments!