Everyone’s back

Time to Learn!

Wow, the first day back…what a day.  I know that I’m tired, but that’s got to be nothing compared to those actually in the classroom.  Lots of changes this year – staff and administrative.  Things are looking quite good at Victory.  I’ll be able to see more about Brighton when I get over there next week.  Spent a bit of time troubleshooting today – everything from Promethean board settings to the new Gradebook. I actually had the opportunity to do a bit of training. Tthat was surprising, but made me really glad.  I did 1 – on – 1 with Ms. Mapp-Jonathan.  She’s working hard in that Early up room.  Using eBooks on the first day!  I did some Wiki training for our Lesson Plan repository wiki.  Since the whole administrative team is new, they needed some quick instructions.  The Encore team joined us and I think everyone got what they needed.

I wanted to take a moment to share a resource with you that I found while purging my inbox today.  Here’s a checklist for teaching with technology.  What I like about the checklist is the thought process that it leads you through as you look into trying new technologies.  Let’s endeavor to make good choices on use of technology.  We should look for authentic ways to use it.  Not just creating projects to check the box labeled technology on our professional development requirements.  If you have questions about the checklist or want to bounce an idea off me, let me know.

Promethean training will be held in Ms. Hamill’s room on Thursday after school.  Feel free to join us if you need a refresher.  Good to see you all back and in such great spirits.

The Gradebook Debacle

I usually try to be more positive about division wide projects even if I don’t agree with the way they are carried off.  Unfortunately there is no way to put a positive spin on the what the teachers in my schools have had to endure with the gradebook this first nine weeks.  It’s been so bad, that I have been scheduled to do additional inservicing in BOTH buildings.  In preparations for next week’s inservices, I have been creating a timeline of events, things that both the teachers and I have had to make adjustments for over the last 6 weeks.  I felt the need to document this transitional period  for them to validate what I know has been a really bad experience for most.

I’m using TimeRime for this timeline.  It’s a free web2.0 aplication that I have known about for a while, but have never gotten around to exploring…seemed to be the right tool this time.

We survived week 1

Back to school

My mother sends me cartoons via email from time to time.  I thought this was especially funny when I received it Friday. 

It looked like a good week in both buildings.  At Brighton most folks had their equipment up and running – I only had one SOS call.  The folks at Victory were all using their projectors – even in Kindergarten.  Both principals have scheduled some training – it’s great to be back in the saddle.  I do have some shout outs – a few teachers that  that really surprised me…

  • Dr. Hunter Lowe(Fifth Grade Language Arts – Victory) is making a concerted effort to include technology this year.  She had me in her class introducing Kidspiration for writing on Wednesday – that’s right the second day of school.  I am sure the kids in her classes will be using the COWS for writing before the end of the nine weeks!
  • Mrs. Davis(Third Grade Math – Victory) had the first part of Promethean Jumpstart training on Wednesday afternoon and had the kids writing on the board Thursday morning!  I was especially happy that she wanted to use the place value flipchart I gave her right away.  She was using the place value manipulatives on the board and random number generators (dice) – talkin’ all that math talk at the kids…She really didn’t need me – so I just left.
  • Mrs. Bailey(Second Grade – Brighton)  managed to get her Promethean software upgraded over the summer.  She was using the new ActivInspire straight out of the shoot.  She did not want to wait for me to start “migration training”…When I got to her on Thursday her only question was “How do I calibrate?” Here’s a link to the ActiveInspire Migration Manual for the rest of you Power Users who don’t want to wait for me to get your training scheduled.
  • Mrs Taxson(Kindergarten – Brighton) was not about to let her transition to Kindergarden slow her momentum…that’s right those little tiny tots were already writing on the Promethean board on Thursday.  Why was I surprised – she’s only the regional Technology Educator of the Year. 

I know many of you had things going on that I never saw…I could tell by the conversations that I had with you: Mr. Trewartha was already using Orchard.  Mrs. Trumbauer mentioned a flipchart she used.  Ms. Gibson had a data projector all set up and wanted help with the document camera. Mrs. Petry had already checked out the ActivExpressions…

You all are intrepid and you never cease to amaze me.

PPS is going RETRO

Several of you have made inquiries into the possibility of seeing the inauguration in your classrooms.  Many have also asked if streaming will be allowed for this one event.  Unfortunately, streaming news content will not be allowed for this historic event.  The reasons are two-fold:

  • Our internet connection (traveling through IRC) is fixed and will only allow so much data to pass through it each second. It would only take 100 individuals streaming an MPG4 stream to “clog” our “pipe”. Meaning, no connectivity at all. No phones, SASI, Financial system, Café Enterprise etc…
  • The 20th is the first day of online SOL testing. Granted, testing is usually completed by this time; however, this is an un-timed test and it is possible to have students testing when the inauguration begins. If we have any delays during the beginning of testing, we might need to extend the testing window which could cut into the inauguration activities.


 So since streaming is out of the question, what can you do?


  • If you are teaching at Brighton, I am sure that you are aware that the reception of the cable signal to the building has been a little sketchy. I understand from some teachers that at this time they can receive cable signal, but the connection wires from the TV to the cable jack need periodic adjustments. Teachers who are able to receive the cable signal may be able to use their TVs.
  • At Brighton, teachers who have MCPS systems as well as those who have been upgraded to Promethean Boards have a unit that will receive TV signals. This signal can easily be boosted for better clarity with a simple pair of “rabbit ear” antennae.
  • Classrooms at Brighton that do not have MCPS/Promethean equipment or cable access as well as all of the classrooms at Victory may be able to use one of the TV/VRC units provided by Media Services. Here again, this signal can easily be boosted for better clarity with a simple pair of “rabbit ear” antenna.


What’s the bottom line? Most of you will need to find “rabbit ear” antenna if you want to watch the inauguration.   Funny…30 days ‘till rabbit ears will be obsolete, but you may need them for Tuesday…I suggest you try radio shack or a thrift store…

Lessons from Star Trek

Everyone knows I am a fan of Sci Fi.  If I could, I would watch Science Fiction all day every day.  Back in my college days I actually watched 17 episodes of Star Trek a week.  I love Star Trek especially the original, because the episodes always made some social commentary.  So I was quite pleasantly suprised when I was searching Slideshare the other day and found a presentation on lessons learned from one of my favorite shows of all time.

10 Life Lessons From Star Trek

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: trek star)

Greetings from the Craft Hospital


I’m at the Craft Hospital.  It’s the place they send burnt-out TRTs from Portsmouth.  I’m not quite sure what they do for TRTs in other school divisions, but in Portsmouth, we’ve had this arrangement for a while.  We usually get sent in groups, but in special circumstances they send us individually.  So now you know why my auto responder doesn’t say why I am out or when I’ll be back.  It’s really not so bad here.  It’s quiet and it’s beautiful outdoors.  The food is really good.  I had some visitors yesterday – DD, Big K and Ms. T.  They sat and watched TV with me in the lounge. 

As I write this I realize that this is my first post in months.  It is a definite sign that shows how bad things were before I left.  But the fact that they let me have my laptop back so soon is a good sign.  I know this, because I’ve been here before…here are some pictures from when the 10+2 TRTs got sent here during the summer.  You’ll notice that Nancy got her laptop back before anyone else…