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Archive for September, 2011

I have started using two different tools in my classroom to help me with the teaching process this year:

1) Evernote

2) Blue Harvest Feedback

 

EVERNOTE:

I am enjoying this at the moment because it is making my life EASIER and I appreciate that. I have paid the annual fee to have the ability to drag documents, PDF’s, presentations and spreadsheets into a folder on my desktop that will automatically sync with the website for my class. It is saving me the time of going to the website, finding the file and uploading it, and it keeps everything in an organized “notebook” on the website for the kids. So far, I am really enjoying it, and I can also add webpages easily as I go. Last year, I would email this info and noticed that students would lose it or delete it, so NOW- it is all there. Is it worth paying the money? Why can’t I just use a webpage and upload documents there? Well, I think the convenience of not having to upload is definitely worth it and also, it is allowing me to clip webpages, which I use for articles and extra practice. So- for my purposes yes!! Absolutely.

 

BLUE HARVEST FEEDBACK:

I literally just signed up for this today, and I am trying to figure out the best way to use it. Since I teach about 75 students, leaving that much verbal feedback every day is just not going to happen, and weekly might even be pushing it. I have to think about what I want to do, but I like the idea of being able to leave feedback online, having a student respond to the feedback, and having that feedback available to parents as well (where they can respond). I might do this for the first test this week and leave feedback once I grade it. OR, have students write a comment about their own performance and respond to their comments (have parents respond?). Could be fun! I’ll keep you posted. If you are using Blue Harvest, let me know how it has been useful in YOUR classroom!

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Ok- this is it: tomorrow is GAME DAY! This is the first test, or shall I say, “summative assessment” that my students will experience this year, and I have to admit, I am a little nervous and a little excited all at the same time. Thinking about wearing a game day “jersey”, but you don’t want to read about my outfit. You want to know: how is it going?

Well- first I will tell you about the test. This was a doozy to write up because I wanted to follow a new and very specific format. I will probably be shooting myself in the foot tomorrow when I try to grade these tests, but I feel really good about the design. Since I don’t want to put the actual test on here for fear that some student would see it, I will give you a make-believe example instead.

I established, call it “10” standards for this unit, and created a spreadsheet of those standards along with their “point values” to share with the students. For example:

 

Standard 1: Understands and can apply the law of conservation of energy: 10 pts

Standard 2: Can identify different forms of energy and examples: 5 pts

Standard 3: Can solve an equation for kinetic energy when given mass and velocity. 10 pts

 

You get the idea.

 

So the test: I created a test that started with the standard,”1″ for example, listed the standard on the test in bold italics, and below it, wrote out questions valuing up to 10 pts on that standard. The idea is that when I go through the test, I will be able to give little Billy a score out of 10 evaluating his ability to show his understanding and application of the law of conservation of energy. In my gradebook, I will also list that score out of 10, and in this case, the Energy unit is out of a total of 63 points, but worth 15% of their overall grade. The gradebook will then reflect the standards and his scores on the standards, showing where exactly he lost points and which concepts he truly did master.

Friday, I plan to give students an assessment sheet with the standards, their earned points for each standard, and if they lost points, what they lost them for and why. I plan to give students an opportunity to earn points back, but I haven’t exactly decided how to do that just yet. **Suspense** and stay tuned!

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