Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Keyboard Shortcuts for Google Docs

I continually have to look these up, so I'm holding the link here on this site.
I find the help button in Docs does not have all the shortcuts I'm looking for, most notably the "insert comment" shortcut key which is "command+option+m".   Less clicking when I get my students using Docs for their writing. :)

This will become important if I ever get my next task off the ground: daily warm ups using Google Docs which should get some form of feedback (i.e. comments) from me (perhaps on a weekly basis. . .).

Link to the shortcuts

Sorry, no pics for this one.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Donor's Choose Project -- 3 new chromebooks

Well, in all my free time I've created a Donor's Choose project to augment the technology in my classroom.  My students really need to be able to create, compose, and publish on the internet.  I would like to have a class blog for some of our literature responses and argumentative assignments next year and my students this year (2013-2014) wanted to as well.

Our hold up was, well it was mostly due to planning time on my part since it was my first year at this school.  I'd like to blame the equipment, but that's not the full picture.  We could have done most of what I want to do--writing, drafting, collaborative revision, commenting, etc.--with my current technology setup; however, it would have been slow to say the least.

We currently have 3 classroom computers to use, a fourth one if I can free up a shared laptop for the day.  Even with my reduced class sizes I had 12 students in my largest classes and that would still take 4 rotations to get all the students on to computers for typing.  While that's ok for shorter writing assignments or surveys (see my previous post, the data for which I gathered using two of our computers hot-seat style after exams), it is tedious for research papers or longer assignments when the needs of my students require that some of them are typing for two or three times as long as other students.

Donor's Choose only lets you start out with a small project at first until you get enough "points" to allow a larger dollar amount for your projects.  This, I assume, weeds out the weaker hearts, and indeed kept me out last year when I created the account and drafted half a similar project for my last classroom. Even with this small number of points--and therefore a small "budget"--I am able to fund a huge boost in capacity for my classroom:  Three Chrome book laptops for my room will double the available number of screens for students to use and cut in half the time it takes for computer projects in the room.  Not to mention the classroom management impact!  Easier planning for me, I hope.

Upon the successful funding of this project, I believe I will be able easily to plan and implement some engaging and fun lessons with our new English curriculum which will cover Antigone and Things Fall Apart next year.  Look for a class blog on here and, at the very least, some published student examples of peer edited and revised, polished, college prep writing.

Here's the link to my teacher page on Donor's Choose:  Link
Yes, it's the same as above--I'm trying the best I can since the project expires in 4 months.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Class Feedback Results

To follow Larry Ferlazzo's example, I'm posting my class feedback results from my end of year suvey. I'll put the questions followed by the highest percentage rating, just to save typing since I don't want to take the time to screen shot the charts and graphs that google forms made for me.

 I didn't split these by class period or anything, although I think for next year I'll take the trouble to make a different form for separate classes to get a better idea. This will be really important for me next year since I'll be co-teaching with two different teachers and teaching 4 different subjects. I'm excited for the challenge.

  • I felt challenged by this class: 41% neutral
  • I felt like Mr. Hyland respected me: 46% agree
  • I felt like Mr. Hyland gave me useful feedback: 70% agree
  • I felt like Mr. Hyland was fair: 63% agree
  • Mr. Hyland had high expectations of me: 50% agree
  • I tried my hardest to do my best in class: 37% each (tie) strongly agree and agree
  • My grades reflected the quality of my work: 52% agree
  • Mr. Hyland encouraged me to do my best: 43% agree
  • I felt safe in Mr. Hyland's class: 54% agree
  • The class was well organized: 59% agree
  • I enjoyed being in this class: 41% agree
  • I always followed Mr. Hyland's instructions: 41% neutral

 I also had 5 short answer questions where students could type a response. Some did not, and others made what seemed like sarcastic comments (hard to tell if they were serious). However, there are some gold nuggets that told me what I needed to hear from students (that's the point after all!). Many of these comments referred to our penultimate activity--watching Star Wars after a series of lessons on the Hero's Journey, so if you follow the link below and scan those comments, you'll note some fanboys.

 I also co-teach one period, so I included my co-teacher and co-teach class on the questionnaire. You'll see her name in there as well. Here's the link to my full results, and--as un-scientific as they are--I'm proud of them this year. I always have plenty of room to improve. My goals for next year include inching forward on tech integration in my classroom lessons.