Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Turnovers for Teens

Last week a number of middle school students invited their parents to the LMC for Turnovers for Teens.  Turnover for Teens is an opportunity for students and parents to spend time in the LMC.  Students can share with parents what they are currently working on and show parents the new educational technologies they are using in their classes.  Mrs. Clara Johnson, LMC director, organizes the event.  She reports that participation has steadily grown in the past few years.  If you are interested in attending the next Turnover for Teens it is scheduled for Friday, January, 20th.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cashton Middle/High School Guidelines for Successful Student, Parent, and Teacher Communication

Last month, I wrote about our faculty's work to define guidelines for positive student, parent, and teacher communication.   The following document is a summary of our work and will serve as a guiding document for all faculty as they address this important aspect of the educational process.  I encourage parents, students, and fellow educators to review the document.  Your feedback is appreciated.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rube Goldberg Machines

Mr. Hanley's 6th grade science class recently completed a unit on Simple Machines. The final assessment including students creating their own Rube Goldberg Machines. The following link contains video of their final products. Mr. Hanley's Machines

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Music Concert

The music department held their annual Holiday concert on Monday night. Attendees were treated to many holiday favorites. The highlight of the night for me was listening to community members and the high school choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus to end the evening.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Technology Integration Field Trip

Over the past week, I took a little time to go on a technology integration field trip through our building.  My goal was to identify ways our staff leverages technology to guide, expand, and enhance learning objectives. Below are the results of my trip:

A pencast on Mrs. Lundeen's Website

For important lectures Mrs. Lundeen selects one student to create a pencast.  The student uses a Smart Pen to take notes.  The smart pen records Mrs. Lundeen's lecture as the student takes notes.  At the end of class Mrs. Lundeen posts the pencast on her website.  Students can access the pencasts if they were absent or to review for assessments.  Watch the entire pencast on Mrs. Lundeen's website: http://bit.ly/uAfPM5

Enhanced research tools in Mr. Bakke's 8th grade Social Studies 

Students are using Diigo, Weebly, Google Docs, free video/audio converters, the Library of Congress primary resources for teachers website, and other web 2.0 tools to conduct research for their 2012 National History Day Project.  The theme for 2012 is Revolution, Reaction, and Reform in History.

Blogging in Mrs. Wallace's High School English Class
Blog Activity

Students are creating blogs to track their reading projects throughout the semester.  In each post students summarize, reflect, and make prediction.  All students are required to review and post comments on other students blogs.  Mrs. Wallace uses a Doc to help student access each others blogs.

Online tests in Mr. Hundt's room.
Mr. Hundt's Website

Students in Mr. Hundt's classes take most of their tests online.  Students who need their test read to them go directly to his website.  Mr. Hundt uploads each test on youtube.  Students use an iPod or an iPad to listen to the test.  If they need a question re-read they can simply back up the youtube clip.

Gizmos in Mr. Kaus's 7th grade Math class

Students in Mr. Kaus's math class use Gizmos to deepen their understanding of the concepts of area, volume, and surface area.  Gizmos are online simulations that allow students to inquire and explore concepts at their own pace.  In the lesson I had the opportunity to observe, Mr. Kaus used one of our COW Labs  (Computer on Wheels).  Using the COW allowed each student to use these online manipulatives at their own pace.

Using Google Docs to coordinate extra-help passes for EBLOCK and to track tier II interventions.
EBLOCK is an opportunity for students to receive additional instructional support during the school day.   Twice a week we run an alternative schedule that allows for a 25-minute block of time for students who are struggling in a class to get extra help.  Class advisers access student grades via Skyward Family Access.  Student in need of support are assigned to specific teachers via a shared Google Doc.   Enrichment opportunities are provided for students demonstrating good grades and behavior in all classes.  Every three weeks teachers document the Tier II interventions they are providing students at-risk for failure in their classes.   The Intervention Log is a shared Google Doc monitored by RtI coaches who assure students in need are getting intervention support.

Students taking online exams via Skyward Mrs. Morrison's 7th grade Language Arts

Two fixtures that anchor Mrs.Morrison's grammar instruction are grammar challenges and grammar quizzes Quizzes are completed on the computer using Skyward’s Online Assignment Templates.  The grammar challenges, a formative assessment,  are posted on Monday; students have until Friday midnight to complete their challenge, and using their notes is encouraged.  Throughout the week,  Mrs. Morrison is able to observe the questions in which students are struggling and address their needs to increase understanding throughout the week.  Thursday is a day dedicated to review and take the on-line grammar quiz.  Similar to the challenge, feedback is immediate.  Students see their grades and are able to peruse the grammar quiz to observe the incorrect questions and what they should have marked. 

QR code review scavenger hunt in Mrs. Mosley's and Mrs. Wallace's Language Arts 9 class
The 9th grade Language Arts classes went on an Animal Farm Review Scavenger Hunt using QR codes.  The class was split into groups of 4, each with a different set of questions.  The groups started with a question, which was displayed on an iPad.  The students then had to hunt throughout the school for the correct answer.  Once the answer was found, students scanned the next question.  After 10 questions, all students found their way back to the classroom to do a final vocabulary exercise.

IPOD translation activity in Ms. Glaze's Spanish class

Students worked in pairs to translate information at different stations throughout the room.  iPod's are used to help students find meanings and words they do not know.

Student created yearbook in Ms. Curtis's Desktop Publishing class.

Sttudents in Desktop Publishing class are currently producing the school annual completely online.  Using Jostens Yearbook Avenue, students create a username and password that allows them to log in and work on their pages anywhere there is internet access.  Last year was the first year the annual was produced online.  Many upperclassmen have had the opportunity to produce the book both ways.  Overall, students prefer designing the yearbook online.  Senior Amber Dahl, said "Yearbook Avenue is more user friendly compared to the old way the yearbook was produced."  Senior Kelli Schmitz added, "Online you have all the necessary tools to complete the page in one spot." Mrs. Curtis reports using this technology has saved the yearbook club time and money.

This list is by no means comprehensive, I didn't include the musical composition projects in Mrs. Miller's class, the collaborative virtual zoo in Mr. Hanley's class, How-to videos in the in Mrs. Mosley's innovations lab, a blended learning environment through Quia in Mr. Heinberg's Agriculture classes, or interactive Smart board activities in Mrs. Huntzicker's room.  It is exciting to work with teachers and support staff  who are continually reflecting, researching, and refining their practices in an effort to improve student achievement.  These opportunities would not be possible without the support from Cashton community.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wrestlers start the season strong. Girls Basketball loses a heart-breaker.

On December 2nd, the wrestling team opened the 2011-12 season by winning the Black River Falls Invitational.  Brett Von Ruden, Dillon Flock, and Dominic Flock won their individual weight brackets.  This past week the team opened conference with a win at Brookwood and placed 5th at the competitive Tomah Invitational.

Brett Von Ruden

Dillon Flock

Dominic Flock

The girls basketball team lost a hard fought game to Wonewoc-Center on Friday night.  The score was 44-41.  Senior Amber Dahl led the Eagles with 13 points.  Senior Whitney Hanson added 10 points.  The Eagles battled back from an 18 point halftime deficit, but fell three points short.

The upcoming week will be busy for Cashton student athletes.  The high school boys basketball team will host Necedah on Friday.  The middle school boys basketball team will battle Bangor and Necedah at Bangor on Tuesday.  The girls basketball team will host Melrose-Mindoro on Tuesday and Hillsboro on Thursday.  The wrestlers will visit New Lisbon on Thursday and Arcadia on Saturday.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Slate 2011

This past Tuesday and Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend SLATE (School Leaders Advancing Technology in Education).  Spending a couple days out of the building can create challenges for students and staff, however I appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with fellow Wisconsin educators and to sharpen my vision of technology integration in our school.

Skill Up
On Tuesday, I listened to Scott McLeod.  Mr. Mcleod is an Associate Professor of Education Leadership at the University of Kentucky.  He is responsible for co-creating the popular Shift Happens videos, and each time I read his blog, watch a video, or have the opportunity see him in person I am impressed with his ability to relate how the changes occurring outside of school should effect how we lead our schools.  Perhaps the point that resonated with me the most was we must develop skills valued in the economy students enter when they graduate.

Learning from Ashwaubenon's 1:1 and BYOD at New Berlin
The concept of 1:1 is not new.  I am sure many school districts in the state have either attempted or, at a minimum, had conversations about a 1:1 electronic device environment in their school.  Leaders from Aswaubenon shared their experiences implementing an initiative that provided all 9th and 10th graders with 3G enabled netbooks. The central point to Mr. Anderson, Mr, Lucius, and Ms. Rhude's presentation was that its not about the devices its about learning.  The project focused on applying their school's mission, communicating with key stakeholders throughout the process, and most importantly focusing on the learning opportunities these devices create.  I thought the use of 3G enabled machines was innovative and gave the district the best chance to provide the equity desired in a 1:1 program.  

Later in the afternoon, I listened to a contingent from New Berlin District.   A little over a year ago the district decided to open the school network to student's personal electronic devices.  This is an issue that many high school's will have to address in the coming years.  The discussion centered on properly preparing their district's infrastructure; shifting from an acceptable use to an appropriate use policy; and communicating the purpose of the project to students, teachers, parents, and staff.  Zach Solie, a sophomore, shared his positive experiences with the group.  Listening to Zach, I couldn't help but think of a statement made by Scott McLeod earlier in the day:  We need to stop preventing the potential of technology in our schools due to a fear or lack of understanding.  Stop penalizing 90% due to the action of 10%.   

What it does it mean for Cashton?
I am proud of the strides our district has made to support 21st century learning.  As an early adopting Google Apps district, I am confident that many of our students could have presented a workshop at SLATE titled "Google Apps from A Student's Perspective." Creating a  virtual zoo, a community of blogging students, and embedding Google Forms quizzes on classroom websites are just a couple of examples of how our students learn and collaborate. Being in the presence of strong leaders makes me want to be a better leader.  I owe it to the students of Cashton.

Oh, and I got a ton of ideas, models, tech-solutions, and apps to pass along to teachers.  Here is a short list of a few of my favorites:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Boys and Girls Basketball Teams Win Season-Openers. Wrestling starts on Saturday

The boys basketball team opened the season with a 40-27 win at DeSoto. Caleb Fernholz led the Eagles with 18 points and James Slattery chipped in with 12 points. The Eagles next game is Friday, December 2nd versus Wonewoc-Center.

Whitney Hanson scored 15 points as the girls basketball team won the coaching debut of Patte Michalek. Kelli Schmitz added 10 points for the Eagles. The Eagles next game is Friday, December 9th versus Wonewoc-Center.

The wrestling team season starts on Saturday, December 3rd at the Black River Falls tournament.

Pictures provided by Lynda Hurtz

Pictures provided by Kim Fanning