Monday, August 18, 2008

Prepping the New School Year

This summer is almost over. With two weeks to the start of school, I'm beginning to reflect on last year's start and begin thinking about the changes I will have to make for the new year.

A Wiki Lesson Keeper
One of the best tools I started using for myself was Wikispaces. I decided to choose one program to focus on and tried my best to write up each KidPix lesson. I didn't do too bad. I just flipped through my lesson plan and see that I have about nine lessons between Kindergarten and third grade to finish up.

This year, I intend to do the same for Word and PowerPoint. Every year I do different projects. There is a core set of skills that I work on for each group and some projects the students enjoy so I do them each year.

The Biggest Changes
For me, the biggest changes will include learning how to integrate the new equipment into the curriculum. In my next post, I plan to write about all the open source software that I've installed on the new Windows tablet PCs. The students have to be independent with the tablets so they can become the teacher of their teachers. We'll have to work on the Open Office Writer program. I really haven't spent much time on it, but it should work fine as a Word substitute. If it doesn't, I'll purchase paper licenses for the tablets in the 2009-2010 school year. I want to learn to use the Promethean board to its potential. I know there will be a learning curve.

More, More, More
I have MediaBlender and Kidspiration installed in the lab. We barely scratched the surface of those programs. I used to have a lot of fun using HyperStudio with the fourth through eighth grade. When I could no longer install OS 9 on the new computers, I purchased MediaBlender. It really does not work smoothly on the older iMacs. I know there is a new version of HyperStudio, but I'm not going to spend funds with MediaBlender a fine replacement. Now that I have half of the room filled with the newer flat screen iMacs, I will be able to resurrect the multimedia work that I used to do. Kidspiration is a great program. I want to upgrade to the newer version and have to see how that will work out with the state funds - a job I have to work on next week.

I have to plan out new bulletin boards. I know I'm going to concentrate on the ideas of Creative Commons and copyright. We did a fair bit of work on copyright, plagiarism, and fair use in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades last year. Maybe I'll have copyright on the right side bulletin board and copyleft on the left side bulletin board with "big C" and "little cc". That would still leave me with a huge strip bulletin board above the blackboards.

For those getting ready to head back to school - have a great year!

Image Citation:
"Back to school." Avolore's photostream. 2006 Aug 2. 2008 Aug 18.

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