Joli jeudi #9

This is a quick “joli jeudi” post from parent teacher conferences while I don’t have a parent waiting.

Happy things happening this week:

  • Go formative and Class Kick: My tech tools of this week have been GoFormative, for quick formative checks – you can watch student work and give them feedback in the moment – LOVE it for reading and describing, reading and drawing, etc. You can even add other kinds of content – check it out! And I used a similar tool – Class Kick (iPad only) for my middle school students with iPads – works the same way, but students can also “raise their hand” from their device, and you get a notification that they need help – REALLY great for shy students, or those who don’t like raising their hand out loud. You can use screenshots, videos, and audio as questions, and give students instant feedback by drawing or giving stickers and points (my middle schoolers LOVE the stickers) – overall, a great tech week!
  • Nearpod District: Today I got an email that my Nearpod account has been upgraded to the District edition; HOORAY. Can’t wait to utilize this in class à la Sra Spanglish
  • Great parent feedback: I’ve heard a few times this evening, “[my student] loves your class!” and man, that warms my heart and speaks to my soul! I love great parent conferences, and hearing their perspective on their students!

What was great for you this week? I can’t wait to hear about it!


Joli jeudi #8

Even though my Thursday was too jam-packed to post, it’s been another great week here! This is the great stuff that happened this week:

  • Test proctoring: I know that this seems like a weird thing to include in my list of positives, but I was able to spend that time making short lists (while actively monitoring, don’t worry!), spend a large chunk of time without my device (I need more opportunities like this. Seriously, it was GREAT), and think about lessons.
  • Being caught up: For the first time in my teaching career (this year, two full years, and student teaching) I am CAUGHT UP ON GRADING and the quarter ends next week! I’ve got a few kids to hunt down for retakes, but other than that, I’m doing well. This helped me breathe easier during the test I proctored; I didn’t feel like I was wasting time that I could be grading, etc.
  • A long weekend: Fall is the best time for long weekends. So crisp, so great. I’m hoping to comb through the #TFLA15, #ICTFL15, and #TCIMAINE15 tweets to inspire myself this weekend!
  • Staff camaraderie: The middle schools in our district are participating in a staff softball tournament next week and one of the middle schools practiced today. I usually don’t participate in staff things, but I’m definitely trying to be more visible this year.
  • French exchange student: We have an exchange student from France at the high school this year, and at French Club, she talked to us about her life, discounted stereotypes (and confirmed a few) of France/the French, and answered any questions that our students had. She was super excited and we were happy to have her!

What’s going on for you this week?

Joli jeudi #6 and #7

Whew. Has it been a week. Last week I dropped the ball on joli jeudi, but have no fear! I did have quite the joli week, I was just a little too busy to blog about it. I’ll make up for that here.

This week has been a rough one – DEVOLSON (if you don’t know what that is, read about it here — it’s a real problem!) has hit and I’ve been struggling to stay positive. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing positive about it, though!

  • Spirit week: It’s homecoming week at the high school this week, and in addition to wearing jeans, that mean that I got to: represent my university, wear tie dye (my preferred kind of shirt, btw), come to school in one of my husband’s flannels, and tomorrow is my first pep rally at new school. A lot of fun there; students think I’m crazy, but I love dressing up.
  • Fall themed beverages: no matter your preference of pumpkin or not, tea or coffee, we can all agree that fall themed beverages are clearly some of the best out there.
  • Wonderful colleagues: Whether at school or on twitter, colleagues have come rushing to my aide this week and I really appreciate the help and support. One day, I hope to get the chance to help you all in the same way.
  • My students: no matter what kind of day I’m having, my students pick up on that. They’ve really been supportive this week, when I haven’t been at my best, and I really appreciate them for that.
  • Technology: This year I’m pushing myself to give up some control and not be the “sage on the stage.” It’s a tough endeavor, but I could not be more thankful that my students have devices – it helps me get and keep students working at their pace, which I think has helped a lot!

I’d love to hear about how you’re combatting DEVOLSON, and any positivity that you have this week!

Joli jeudi #5

Hey everyone! It’s been another great week here, and I hope that it’s been excellent for you as well! I really think that these posts are helping me to stay positive!

This week I’m excited about:

  1. Using my iPad to grade on Schoology. A colleague told me that this has been great for her, and now I love it too! When students submit assignments on Schoology, you can “mark them up,” using text, highlights, strikethroughs, and writing with a pen. I drew a student a picture of Batman, since he was describing Bruce Wayne!
  2. Immediate feedback. This is one of my goals for this year, and I’m doing great so far. Though PD has thrown off a couple of “instant” feedback opportunities, I’ve been grading assessments and homework within 1-2 days and cutting back on other collected work. It’s been awesome!
  3. Assessment redos! The way that we’re doing SBG, if you don’t show proficiency, you have to redo it. The new grade replaces the old grade. My kids have been great sports about redos, and I even have some students who want to redo their “proficient” score to get a higher one!
  4. Teacher stations: One thing that I never considered during a station rotation is having a “teacher” station. I sat with my level twos students this week, and we talked together, and it REALLY gave me a snapshot of where each student is and what they can do with the language. When I surveyed students, they said that station was the most helpful because I was there to coach them through things. ❤
  5. Extra curricular: I love getting involved with student activities. My husband calls it “not being home,” I call it “helping students find their passions.” I’m working with the French club this year, and hopefully also a little bit with our Speech and Debate team! Woohoo!

What’s positive and working for you this week? I can’t wait to hear about them!

Joli jeudi #4

Hey everyone! This week really has been amazing, so I’ll share some of the positives with you:

  • Professional Development: I had two days of PD this week, and while the sub plans made my head spin, I enjoyed both days of PD. One day was on blended learning, and the second on vocabulary instruction. I added some new tools to my tool box and got a chance to hear more about vocabulary from a different perspective, which was nice.
  • SBG: With the Standards Based Grading that I’ve implemented this year, retakes are built in. Don’t achieve mastery? Retake. Unhappy with your grade? Retake. I had two girls retake an interpersonal assessment for a higher score (they needed “stretch” to get a higher grade) and they used words they learned themselves on Duolingo. It was so cute I could have cried.
  • My PLC: I say it like there’s more than one other person, but seriously, I collaborate daily with one of the greatest people I’ve ever met. She listens, is helpful, we create great stuff, we’re very similar, and we love crazy things like fonts and memes. This is leaps and bounds better than last year’s #deptof1 fiasco.
  • Tech update: In our high school, we’re shifting to everyone having an Apple TV … I just don’t have one yet. I was hoping to find a free option for mirroring my iPad to my computer (then using the projector/SMARTboard to display) and today, I happened to be in the right place at the right time! Our Director of Innovation happened to be at my PD today, got to field my question, and set me up with a paid account for that service that the school already owns – SCORE! Can’t wait to try this out soon.
  • MY PLANNER IS HERE!!!!! And it is BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, it’s the best planner I’ve ever owned, I’m blown away by the quality, design, and functionality that went into it. I highly recommend Plum Paper and maybe eventually I’ll review that here! In case you missed my tweet, here it is in all it’s beauty:

If you were wondering, yes, I do have other blog posts in the works. I’m trying to share out more than I have before and I need to get a few things collected before I finish those up. They’re coming … Soon.

How joli was your week? I’d love to hear about it!

Joli jeudi #3

Hey everyone! It has been a super frustrating Thursday for me, but I’m doing my best to remember all the reasons I have to smile! Today I dealt with everything from crazy students to automated customer service and rude employees, I thought I might pull my hair out. Nonetheless, here’s my list of “jolis” from the week:

  • Heartwarming tweets. Today was our first after school staff meeting at my new school. We had to create a presentations in a group of about 10 and share it with other teachers. I was appointed to make a Haiku Deck (gosh, I forgot how much I LOVE Haiku Deck!) and then I just went ahead and shared with ~30 staff members in our “breakout” group. I didn’t realize until after that about 98% of that group didn’t know me. One of our teacher/instructional coaches took a picture and tweeted about how I presented at my first faculty meeting and it definitely turned my day around. It’s so nice to be appreciated. (I retweeted it if you follow me on twitter – I’m only slightly embarrassed that my presentation mode didn’t work on AirPlay and you can see that in the picture)
  • Eager students.I made it very clear between the last assessment and this one that in order to get a 4 on our standards based grading scale (the highest score possible) I need to see that “stretch.” I also told students they are always allowed to retake an assessment if they want a higher grade. My final class of 8th graders today were SO eager and excited to show me what they knew how to say. Our assessment was over asking someone’s name and introducing yourself, but I had two girls who went above and beyond – they said “enchantée” after hearing the other’s name, asked how the other one was (which we learned THIS WEEK) and responded. I was so excited to see how much my students have gained from class!
  • My planner will be here … soon? As I wrote last week, my Plum Paper Planner was scheduled to be delivered Tuesday … then Wednesday … and it’s Thursday and my package seems to be in limbo. No one can give me updated tracking info. Even though I got nowhere with automated customer service, at least my package has shipped and is within an hour of where I live. It should be here soon, and I will be even more excited when it is.
  • A wonderful dinner. My loving husband took me out for a wonderful dinner because my day today was so stressful. Husbands are truly the best.
  • An alien deer space blobmoji … with mittens. So, Google changed my Apple-based emojis to the android version of emojis – which look like blob creatures. I was explaining to the same class as above that these must be “blobmojis” and I kept drawing them to illustrate different emotions. Well, I’m not the most artistic, and I draw “angry” with those crazy eyebrows that end up off of your face … and the kids confused them with antenna … so I gave him antenna. And then they though those were antlers … so I gave him antlers, too, to avoid confusion. Someone else thought the antlers were arms … so I gave him arms … with no hands. I can’t draw hands, so someone told me to give him mittens. Long story short, I think he will be a character in our upcoming stories, and my kids love him enough to redraw him on the board each day … isn’t he CUTE?!
    My blobmoji, yet to be named
    My blobmoji, yet to be named

    That’s all I’ve got tonight. I hope that everyone else had a joli week. I’d love to hear about them on twitter, in the comments, or on your own blog!

Joli jeudi #2

Hey everyone! I hope you’re having a great week this week! I just wanted to share some awesome things that happened for me this week in an effort to be more positive! (I’ll admit, this week got a little silly)

  • Station PD: I always say how awful I am at stations, and today I had an entire day of PD dedicated to it! There were two women who have been piloting it at our school and they did such a phenomenal job at helping us in groups today. We even did our own station rotation to learn about them! They’re really trying to merge station rotation with blended learning and I think that having technology at stations vastly improves my ability to plan for them. I feel so great about the potential use of stations in my class and am excited to see what happens next.
  • Meet the Teacher: Tonight is Meet the Teacher night at the HS, and I’m pumped to meet parents and get my face/class out there!
  • Growth plan: At my school, we have to write growth plans for the year that align with Marzano’s Domains and Elements. I spent a lot of time making steps that I really wanted to implement in my teaching, and I’m happy to say it was approved today! :]
  • Google: Not only did they change their logo (yay, modernization!) but while I had two days of PD this week, I was able to be “with” my students via Google. They shared their docs/slides with me, and I could comment and answer questions while they were in my class, even though I was far away.
  • A colleague complimented my pants: Now this seems silly, but if you know me, or have met me in real life, you probably know that I loathe pants with all of my being; I don’t think I was really built to look good in pants. But today a colleague told me that I must be crazy, because the khakis I was rocking today (ick, khakis!) looked great. Thanks, Friend!

The next two are silly and don’t relate at all to work, but …

  • I got my 2nd Stitch Fix today! If you don’t know about SF, I highly recommend it. I’ve gotten great fixes, and can share my experience and codes with you if you want! I don’t want to feel like I’m soliciting people on my professional blog.
  • My Plum Paper Planner shipped yesterday! I’m SO EXCITED TO GET THIS. Some of you may remember reading that I plan better on paper than I do online, and I scoured the internet this year to find the perfect lesson planner. I made my own last year, but the printing process was a huge burden. So, I watched YouTube videos of people unpacking their teacher planners from the box, read reviews, and searched high and low for coupons. Sorry, Erin Condren lovers, but it just ended up to be too expensive for me, so I got a PPP instead. Look at this beauty (the mock-up even has my name on the cover; this was meant to be)
    Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 4.54.08 PM I can’t WAIT for this to get here and to use it. If you were curious, I ordered the “large” version of their teacher planner.

What were your “joli” moments of this week? I’d love to hear about them!