Monday, March 4, 2013

Getting Ready...Pre-Week #2

Last week was my last week prior to {insert nail biting paired and gitty excitement geeeee} the big day... The day the students get their iPads.

I wasn't the only one excited either!  I heard at least once or twice a day, "When are we getting the iPads (insert blank stare at me... Light bulb going off) Oh yeah next week." Followed by frown and shoulder slump.

We are all incredibly excited and the anticipation was high!!! 

My goals for this week were pretty straight forward... prepare and change.

Prepare... I needed to label each iPad with names and numbers, collect the last of the permission slips/ technology agreements and finalize what apps I wanted on all the iPads.

Change...I realized needed to completely change how I took time to evaluate homework and my mindset about managing itYou see until last week the homework I assigned was collected at the beginning of the period it was due. The time left was dedicated to instructional time. If I was going to go all in and fully embrace being an iPad classroom, which to me also meant almost completely paperless, I needed to seriously change how I was doing things.

The Change...First, I developed a template. I needed to make a  paper template I could use to record assignments on and that could easily be transferred into the grade book. It needed to be easy enough for the teaching assistants I work with to use and record assignments on for their groups. Second, I needed to change how and when we graded papers. I can't exactly collect 11 iPads and grade the papers, nor did I want 10 PDFs times 6 periods plus a day being dropped in my Dropbox. So I had to compromise with myself and give up a bit of class time to grade papers. I didn't, however,  want grading to take more then 5ish minutes of any class period. 

So with these very strong plan in mind, I ran my class as if it was a paperless classroom and prepped my teaching assistants for the changes to come and this mindset.

Here is how things went...
Monday- I payed attention to my habits, reminding myself of what would be paperless and what would not. I took note of places in our classroom routines I would need to leave time for corrections.

Tuesday- I was well aware of the changes I needed to make to my habits. I worked hard to grade papers on the spot. Grading them, collecting them and then...gasp! throwing them away... Paperless yo!  I took mental notes of the routines in our day and the improvements I still needed to make.

Wednesday- By this time my students had become accustomed to having papers graded on the spot. I began to share with them their scores immediately and have them fix errors on the spot (if their was time).  I began to realize that by collecting and grading homework separately, wanting to save precious instructional time I may have been missing priceless re-teaching and reinforcement opportunities. I was also missing chances to share with my students my recognition for their hard work and what they did well on in their work. I also realized that if I was allowing my students to make corrections for better grades (something I have always done, but usually as homework and after the score had been recorded in the grade book) I also needed to record the initial score of the worksheet and the score of the worksheet after correction.  This would ensure I documented my students initial performance on work.  

Thursday- Our usual stack of collected papers was next to nothing. My teaching assistants reported that the template made transferring scores into the grade book simpler then ever. I determined that all of our data collection in relations to my student IEP goals would be done on paper. We would continue to collect it, to ensure we had documentation and record of their performance as it relates to their goals.

Friday-  We were excitedly on our way to a almost paperless classroom. I was happy and proud of the hard changes we made. I was embracing our new mindset and modeling that change can be exciting and well worth it!  I was absolutely giddy with anticipation for the big week ahead!!!
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