Introducing the Holocaust to 8th Graders

It’s my first time using the Haiku Deck App, and I have to say, it’s pretty awesome. Definitely an engaging and fun app. I’m using it to introduce the Holocaust and our unit on The Diary of Anne Frank (the play). We are going to explore the use of dramatic writing to bring the story to life, as well as how the story is brought to life on screen.

By using Haiku Deck, I’m hoping to make this a more personal, relevant experience for these students. Most of them are so far removed from the horrors of the Holocaust and desensitized by violence that I’m hoping to invoke some empathy by putting them in the mindset of someone who experienced it.

I remember learning about the Holocaust in 6th grade, then again freshman year when we read Night, by Eli Weisel. I met a survivor during that unit as well, and I have to say, it was one of the most eye-opening, emotional, interesting, and memorable units of my school career.

I’m hoping to do the same for my end-of-the-year, burnt out 8th graders. We’ll see how it goes!

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/86f74grmGo

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Extracurriculars

I coach dance team after school. It’s a blast, but the school doesn’t have a sound system for me to use. I’ve lugged boom boxes to and fro quite a bit, and, frankly, it’s a pain in the butt. Or arm. Or both.

I had the brilliant idea to use my iPad as my stereo, I got a cheap speaker system on sale and have downloaded songs to my iTunes. This solves many problems, and I love how light and portable it is! I’d love it even more if our MPR had Internet access. Then I could use the Pandora app or other radio apps to supplement my music selection.

Keeping Tabs on Students and Parents

Email:
Parents really seem to like it when you respond to them right away. They actually seem thankful and overjoyed in some cases. It’s a lot easier to respond to parents when you have an iPad and gmail and your disposal. I feel like I am able to respond quickly and efficiently. I am also not a huge fan of phone calls, as it easily puts either parent or teacher on the spot. This technology helps so much on that front.

School Fusion
The district has implemented our school fusion pages as a means of communicating with students and parents. These work well for some things, such as if a parent doesn’t have your email address, it is easy to message directly from SF. I haven’t been very good about keeping this up to date, as the setup feels a bit cumbersome to me and it is not easily done on mobile or iPad. I’m hoping to get better working with fusion, as I see its potential to be helpful to both students and parents by posting important information, but so far, I haven’t been a huge fan.

Say Goodbye to Lost Notebooks!

Notes App:
I like my iPad a lot. It’s so nifty and fast! One thing I love about it is how it keeps my notes for meetings and such in one convenient spot. The Notes app is now full of staff meeting notes, team meeting notes, and a million other meeting notes, instead of me constantly searching for the right notebook or writing on scraps of paper given at the meetings. Now everything is in one spot and it’s great!
It’s also awesome for grocery lists!

Gmail and Google docs:
The iPad is also perfect for meetings because a I can look up Google docs that are being referred to and email admin or other staff on the spot, before I forget. I used my iPad at an intervention meeting and was able to enter data on students right there.

Technology is keeping me from losing important notes, and I can refer to old notes right then. Makes life way easier!

From Scratch Paper to IPad– How to Get Organized

I’ve been using Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop for a while now, in some incarnation. Now that I’m a believer and have seen the awesome improvement in students, it would be great to find a way to organize all the information I get on kids in one handy spot, instead of a bunch of pieces of paper. Enter iConfer. I want it, but it is $14.99. I’m hoping Santa brings me an App Store card so I can buy it. If I buy it, I have to use it, right? And that is the crux– I have to actually use this gem to organize my info and conference with students. It must happen! Looking forward to it…

Using Multimedia in the Classroom…A Challenge

So, I have some ideas of how to include multimedia in my classroom, although implementing it has been a challenge. Here are some cool sites I want to play with and figure out how to use so I can show them to students:

glogster
And it’s edu-friendly version glogster edu
A very visual and creative way to blog. I can see uses for other subjects, trying to see how I can incorporate it into language arts and literacy. Maybe a use with small group instruction?

epubbud
Publish an ebook! I would love to see if this is worth while with my writing students. Doesn’t seem to work well on the iPad though…bummer.

blurb
More ebook publishing. Might be expensive, but looks super cool. Lots of potential!

HMH Readers app
Really great leveled fiction and nonfiction on iPad app. Need to figure out how to access on school iPad lab.