Friday, August 31, 2012

Trying to fit it all in!

I am feeling a bit rushed and daunted by the amount of curriculum and skills that I am needing and wanting to teach my students. I know it is only the first few weeks of school, but I feel that there is so much to do and such little time. We are reviewing for our standardized tests, that are upcoming, which students need to remember such test taking strategies. I am teaching students reading and note taking techniques, along with learning more with research on terms in our nonfiction text. Additionally, in writing class we are researching about the brain and students are needing to learn how to research correctly- GOOGLE IS NOT A SOURCE IT IS A SEARCH ENGINE! Deep breaths are helping!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The First Week of School- Check!

We finished the first full week of school yesterday and I think it went well. I am starting to feel like I am getting back into the groove of teaching and the schedule. I am also getting to know my students and the students are getting to know me. Things, so far, are going well. Some students are feeling overwhelmed with the technology we are having them do, such as use Google Drive for their work and placing it in a folder that is shared with me, instead of typing it in Word and printing. I keep telling them that the more that they use the technology the easier it will be in the long run. Some of my past students have emailed me and stopped by to visit. It is great to see them and hear how well they are doing. I hope all continues to go well! I am wishing everyone a great start of school!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The First Week of School

Well, the first week of school is now officially done and I have to say that we are off to a good start. I am enjoying my students, but I am not so sure that they are enjoying my class. Reading and writing are not the usual subjects students love. When I mention what we are going to be writing about I hear the groans and sighs in class. I try to make it exciting but fear that they will always drag their feet when having to come to my class. Science and the labs, along with the funny videos shown by a funny teacher in history class are out beating me for interest with the students. Any ideas on how I can get the students excited about class along with writing expository essays are welcomed!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Last Day of 360* Training

This morning the two teachers from Estonia presented their history and its relation to WWII- very informative and something that I did not really know about till their discussions. I think this bit of history was left out of what we know of WWII. The Estonians were sent to Syberia for death camps from the Soviets as the Soviets wanted to take over with the Germans (eventually the Germans and Soviets turn against each other). Look at this site if you want more information
 We then had wrap up conversations and a lecture by Robert, the executive director of the Holocaust Human Rights Center of Maine, on antisemitism. I am going to eat at a organic bakery this afternoon on my way home. I am excited to go home, as my summer has been busy. Monday begins the school year for all of us teachers in SAD #27- excited about this year!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Day Ended Well!

Okay not a great day at training. We focused a lot on bullying and harassment, which we are now to call the bully the perpetrator and the victim the target. I learned some new information/techniques in the first session of the day but after that my day was a bit monotone. I have a hard time sitting and just listening- not typing or interacting with conversation, which is what we did for the rest of the day. Charles Rotmill, a Holocaust survivor who presented by Skype to the 8th grade class last year, presented to us at the end of the day. I loved hearing some stories that he did not share with the students, such as who his father's girlfriend was after they lost his mother and hearing him play the harmonica- beautiful! At dinner I had a great conversation about life, history, and beliefs with Charles and a student taking this training, Nicole from the University of Farmington. When I came home (really the motel) I logged onto my email to find that my project on Donors Choose was fully funded! I will be receiving four iPod's for the classroom with splitters (for multiple headphone use)! I am excited!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

3rd day of 360* training

Today was an eventful day. It was the last day with Stephanie the trainer from Yad Vasehm. She was an amazing resource to have and had a great way to teach us with stories, film, and information. We discussed the rescue efforts of other countries and why it took as long as it did to occur. It was interesting to hear that the overall German intent to kill all the Jews was the driving force for everything and Germans did not feel that anything would stop them. Additionally,  July 1939 in US 32% believe Jews have excessive power in business; 41% believe they need to be deported; 1941 44% thought the Jews were a threat and had too much power. WOW! Great information today and I am sure more for the next two days.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 2 of 360* Training

Today went well and I felt a little less overwhelmed. We were able to discuss more today and debate some topics, which I enjoy doing. One topic was the role of educators in presenting the Holocaust to our students and what we will do when the Holocaust survivors are no longer here to say their story. It was interesting to hear what people said, which ranged from being the voice to those lost, to those who say that all we can do is say what has been said with videos or diaries not try to be the person voice. I had a great lunch with two teachers from Estonia (where I visited this summer) along with two other teachers from schools in Maine. The conversation centered on Estonian history and we found a lot of similarities between Estonian's history with the Soviet Union and the Holocaust. I am enjoying the training and cannot wait to share all that I am learning with my students.

Monday, August 6, 2012

1st Day of 360* Training

Today was the first day of my 360* training at the Maine Human Rights Center. It was intense, but very informative. I learned about how Hitler came to power, which was told by a Holocaust historian. We then had some training on the Echos and Reflection manual and website. The website will take some playing with to see all of the resources, but I am able to sign up my classes to have them watch certain videos or do certain activities. We also have a presenter from Yad Vashem organization, which is based in Israel. She truly is a wealth of knowledge. We ended the day beginning to discuss the Final Solution, not exactly a uplifting topic but necessary to understand the Holocaust. Four more days of this training, which I see myself getting a lot out of but it is exhausting to think about this topic all day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Middle Level Academy

Today and tomorrow I am attending Middle Level Academy. This is where we work on different technologies to use in the classroom, discuss scheduling, and collaboration. It is a great time to work out any kinks we have and discuss any issues that have come up. I was able to play with tasks and LanSchool (I am excited about being able to share screens and information so easily along with seeing what the students are doing). I enjoyed the first day and hope the second day goes as well.