Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy these Week 23 highlights!
1. iPad Check – With the year half over, the staff figured this was a great time to do a little housekeeping with the student iPads. The students got a refresher on how to reset their iPads, ‘clear the tray,’ and clean up any unwanted items including photographs and apps. After only 5 months with the iPads, some students had a shocking 5,000 photographs, and over 50 apps! We had them delete all but a few games, all but 50 photos, and then sanitize their iPads. A staff member checked each iPad for visible signs of damage. Finally, my favorite part, our Technology Instructional Coordinator spoke with the students in a large group about the rampant gaming problems we’ve been having. Not only are teachers annoyed with students sneakily playing games in class, but students find each other annoying and distracting as well. Our instructor showed the students a video about another school district that took away all App Store rights and completely restricted student iPad usage – all apps had to be downloaded and managed by the school. I hope the scare tactic worked. Anyway, it was pretty rewarding to delete apps off of the students’ iPads. Flappy Bird? POOF! Cookie Clicker? BYE! I maybe enjoyed that part a little too much.
2. New Kicks – So I got some new shoes that are as loud and obnoxious as I am! I kid. But seriously, these shoes are cRaZy, and the students love them. I got lots of, “Nice shoes, Mrs. D!” Anyway if you’re dying for a pair, here’s a link!
3. A Senior’s Words of Wisdom – On Monday of this week, I visited our district high school, which is luckily just across the street. School was not in session, but I enjoyed wandering around the halls and seeing all of the great artwork from my former students. I came across these quotes, shown above, and they stopped me dead in my tracks. These are quotes from my former 8th graders, now upper classmen, giving advice to younger students. They are things I try and tell my students every day, but I know they mean much more coming from someone who’s recently ‘been there.’ The quotes read:
* Many students shudder at the thought of doing even the slightest amount of thought-intensive work, and yet often view themselves as someone who is an intelligent and hard working person.
* If this educational epiphany would have arisen sooner in my high school career, the time put into my education would have been much more productive.
* You aren’t going to figure out what you want to do or what career you want to go into by sitting around and whining about how much homework you have to do or how horrible your teacher is. Take the responsibility no matter how terrifying it is.
4. My Valentine – In addition to a custom photo card, I also made my husband this lovely little book entitled “What I Love About ___ by ____” from Uncommon Goods. I surprised him by leaving it on his desk to find this morning. He is such a wonderful, caring, generous thoughtful man. Our marriage works because we believe in each other and we always have each others’ backs. We also each think we are the lucky one, which is pretty great, too. What are we doing for Valentine’s Day? My idea of a perfect Friday night – Ryan will bring home dinner from the Public Market, we’ll watch a movie (I rented “Now You See Me”), we’re going to pop some champagne, and I made a delicious Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie for dessert!
5. Battleground – We finished watching the movie version of “Battleground” by Stephen King this week. Reading the short story, then watching the movie helps us to reach those Common Core targets about comparing a story told through different media. The students were surprisingly insightful about the differences between the two versions, and why a director may have made the choice to alter the original story. Now, the movie has NO talking at all. At first, the students balked and whined, “Seriously? This is gonna suck.” 5 minutes into the movie, you can barely hear blinking and breathing, they are so riveted. I even had one kid tell me, “I was so excited to watch this movie, it’s the only reason I came to school today.” Um, great!
I hope you had a wonderful week and didn’t get too cold. Just remember, Spring is only 33 days away!
Day 2 of school, and we did the iPad rollout today! I was really impressed at the planning that went into this event. Our staff spent months planning for this day, and their organization really paid off.
Even though each student grades 6-8 will get an iPad, they started with just the 8th graders today. Throughout the day, they pulled groups of 25 students at a time. Each group took about 1 hour, but they rotated between 2 rooms to increase efficiency. Students started at the ‘buffet line’ where they picked up the required items, including iPad, Otterbox, cleaning cloth, stylus, charging cable, and ‘technology bag’ (a drawstring bag that we are calling a ‘technology bag’ because we don’t want them to put anything but their iPad in it). Then the students sat down in Room 1 with the Technology Director as he walked them through initial setup of the iPad (setting the location, language, getting onto the district Wifi, etc.), and creating/logging into their iTunes account.
After that, the students moved to Room 2, where the Technology Instructional Coordinator assisted them with putting on their Otterbox, writing their name on the Otterbox in silver Sharpie, and going over basic handling, cleaning/care, and other expectations for the iPad (come each day with it charged, no decorating it or password protecting it, you are responsible for all activities/content both in and out of school, etc.). The students also logged into their new gmail email account.
Today was really just the basics of getting the iPads into their hands. We are waiting for Friday, when each student will finally have his/her iPad, to go over the academic use of the iPad. Each teacher has become an expert in one of 6 topics, and the students will rotate amongst the teachers to learn about each one. I am in charge of Google Calendars, which we are using instead of assignment notebooks this year. There are also stations for eBackpack, Google Apps, Gmail, Essential Apps, and Infinite Campus (our gradebook).
Yeah, my head is kind of spinning – but how amazing is this??? I am really excited for these students and the many possibilities they will have this year and beyond. I hope I can keep up!
In the fall, each and every student in our middle school will be receiving an iPad as our school becomes ‘One-To-One.’ I am very excited about this endeavor!
Nevertheless, we are venturing into unchartered territory. The students and I will learn a lot, and I also anticipate some ‘growing pains.’
I recently learned that you can lock an iPad so that the user can only use one app – they cannot leave that app without a password. A lot of my friends who are parents of young children were TOO excited about this news, because it meant that their wee one could play a game and Mom/Dad didn’t have to worry about them accidentally quitting the game, going on the Internet, deleting contacts, or sending emails (Yep, based on true stories. It’s amazing what 2 and 3-year-olds can accidentally accomplish when given an iPhone for a few minutes!).
So how do you ‘lock’ your iPad/iPhone onto an app? First, let’s set up the locking password:
1. Go to settings
2. Go to General
3. Go to Guided Access
4. Click ‘On’
5. Set a passcode. Obviously you will not want to share this with the child/student.
Now you have set the password. How can you ‘lock in’ on an app?
1. Open up the app you want your child/student to use.
2. Hit the Home button 3 times.
3. A blue ‘Start’ button will appear in the top right corner. Press.
Now your child/student cannot leave that app without entering the password you set.
I was thrilled to learn about Guided Access, which will have many benefits in my classroom. For the most part, 99.999% of my students will never even need it, but I’m glad it’s there for the rare occasion when a student needs help making wise decisions.
AND, when all else fails, I decided to create a ‘Tech Time Out.’ Yes, it is a jail for technology. I can keep phones, iPads, earbuds, etc. nice and safely within sight but out of reach.
Creating the ‘Tech Time Out’ cost about $15 and took me about 45 minutes (but that’s only because I’m a prefectionst. perfectionis. dangit.)
1 2.5 gallon fish tank (approximately $11)
1/2 roll vinyl electrical tape (approximately $4)
Scrapbook Sticker Letters
Please leave a comment below if you tried this out in your life/classroom, and how well it worked for you! I’m always looking for new tricks and ways to innovate.