Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 1 - with a whole lot of on-the-fly planning

Week 1 is officially in the books.  Here is a quick recap:

Tuesday was a very brief (10 min) back-to-school day for students are parents.  After telling all of the parents that Mr. Huntimer and I would each have 30 classroom laptops and we would be doing as much as possible paperlessly, we find out after school that the expected delivery date on our computers is now September 11.  Shell shocked, plan B was immediately hatched and set in motion.

We immediately went to our principal and expressed our frustration about the whole situation.  He contacted the technology director and were able to round up about 35 laptops that would be ready for our use by Thursday.  The laptops would not have a stylus for students to write with, so they aren't exactly what we need.  But they do serve as a band-aid until the shipment of our laptops arrive.

Wednesday was the first technical day of school.  We joined our classes together (Geometry Team Teaching) and used one of the mobile laptop labs to get all of the students signed into Edmodo.  The mobile lab had 25 computers that were working, so we had students partner up and share computers.  Many of our students had previous experience with Edmodo so things went very well.  We created a brief trial assignment for them to practice downloading and uploading documents for submission.  A few students had problems logging onto the network while others had problems staying connected to the wireless network.  All in all, it was an effective day.

On Thursday, our 35 band-aid laptops were ready to go and we again had the 25 laptops from the mobile lab.  Our biggest class (when combined) has 51 students, so everyone had their own laptop.  We again joined our groups together and demonstrated using the annotate feature in Edmodo so students could see the process of how we will be grading once our laptop shipment arrives.  We got all students logged into the Pearson online materials site.  We handed out textbooks and used a Google Form (linked through Edmodo) to collect book numbers.  After that, we talked about expectations, class grading policies, and other first day procedures.

Friday we decided to keep our groups separated and finally dive into some actual geometry.  As we worked through the first lesson (on points, lines, planes), we used the Pearson Interactive lesson and Virtual Nerd videos.  Our main goal was for students to see what type of resources were available to them, especially when absent.  We printed copies of the notes and homework assignment; typically we would send these through Edmodo.

Mr. Huntimer and I have decided we have no choice but to use paper for these first few weeks until our laptops with styluses arrive.  Students are missing out on Geometer's Sketchpad until then as well, even though we might supplement with Geogebra.  We anxiously await the arrival of the laptops.  Hopefully when we go 1:1 as a school next year our technology staff will order the devices well ahead of time.

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