I had the privilege of being nominated by my building to attend ECET2! This is a conference that celebrates the effectiveness of teachers. It was held at a nearby lake and conference center.
I had a gorgeous ride through the country to get there, but because of how curvy and narrow the roads are, I have 0 pictures! #epicfail
What I can share with you is two ideas that I gained from this conference.
Do you know Pokemon Go!?
Aurasma is a augmented reality app that students can use to essentially create anything.
You have what we call a target, which is basically anything that you can take a picture of.
So, you snap that picture on the app, and then you can add overlays like pictures or videos that will pop up when a student scans that target.
Teachers shared out that they had students doing career presentations on it, some teachers use it as an overview to the library or a way to give a short book blurb.
I started experimenting with this app last year in the classroom. Initially we had students completing reading logs for accountability purposes for their writing. That was simply not working. It was too childish for my 8th graders, especially my gifted students.
So, we started using Aurasma but at that time didn't know as much about it.
There are so many possibilities with it.
Check out Aurasma!
#2-Students in Poverty
I teach in an area that unfortunately is being hit with many hard times. Within the past year we've had 4 factories close, which was basically the only big business in that area. In addition, the hospital there filed for bankruptcy and many businesses are closing. This is lead to the increase in poverty.
We have around 60% free and reduced lunch. Many of my students come to school and haven't even seen one of their parents yet that day. Many won't even see a parent at ALL that day. Many students don't have someone to wake them up in the morning or breakfast. Some don't even have lunch or dinner. This absolutely breaks my heart!
When I first started teaching I had certain things that I was going to teach the students; things that I thought I wanted to do. Many of things have gone by the wayside because they teach me every day. One thing that I learned at this conference is to level the playing field. Many students don't have the opportunities to do different things at home because they don't have the resources or the help. A high school LA teacher at a neighboring school shared her success table where she has all kinds of supplies that students can just have whether it's for her class or another one. I already do this success table in a way. I have a whole bookshelf of materials: pencils, pens, erasers, pencils, markers, highlighters, crayons, glue, scissors, rulers, etc. where I tell students they can use any of it as long as they put it back. I need to get over the PUTTING IT BACK and just be okay with it leaving my room. Most of the students really need it or they wouldn't be taking it. So, I'm going to make my best effort in being okay with providing 1000 pencils throughout the year as long as they are being used...
In addition, I got the idea of having a little Christmas fun in my classroom. The LA teacher mentioned above does a Gift of Words exchange where students choose a quote, wrap it up and give it to someone else in the classroom. I know I have many students who do NOT get a Christmas. This is heart breaking. Can you imagine waking up on Christmas Day and not having anyone to spend it with or getting any presents?! This has really weighed on my heart the past couple of years. I have been blessed beyond imagine with heat, food, comfort, presents at each holiday and many of my students haven't experienced that.
I want to have a little Christmas Party/Exchange this year. I'm trying to figure out how I can tie this into my 8th grade ELA standards, since we know everything's supposed to lead back to the standards. I'm thinking of having an honorary dinner where students have to write a persuasive letter or invitation to a nominated teacher to attend this party/exchange. Each class will make a class decision on the teacher who they are nominating, and then they will create the invitation and some sort of recognition piece of that teacher. In addition, each student will wrap up a quote for that teacher and a quote for another student. We will exchange quotes/presents, so that each student has a little gift/quote to open.
This is all just thoughts, but I'm thinking of having a breakfast casserole for my first two morning classes and cream chicken sandwiches and something else for my two afternoon classes.
I want some food that isn't difficult to put together and not costly as I will have to feed 80+ people.
Any suggestions on ways to tie this back to the standards? or menu ideas?
These students are why I get out of bed in the morning! They rock, and I want them to experience a little love this holiday season too!