Hello everyone, and welcome back! It has been more than four months since my last post; my longest absence/ silent period since starting this blog in December 2007. The reason for this, is mostly due to my own inability to balance all the demands of my life as a father/ husband/ teacher/ brother/ citizen/ person. Writer/ blogger comes in late on a long list of duties, but I expect to be able to squeeze in a full year of posts this time around
I hope everyone had a great summer vacation and that they feel reinvigorated for a new school year. As usual, I find myself anxious with anticipation and cautiously fearful that my good feelings won’t last. One thing that continues trending in a positive direction is the overall cleanliness and appearance of Haverhill High, the building. Improvements have been made both indoors and everywhere on the school grounds, from the parking lots to the pathways leading into the buildings.
This year, of the many improvements made to the school, perhaps the most welcome (and exciting) is the polyvision boards installed in every classroom. This new piece of technology is expensive, but promises to improve instruction and make classroom time more engaging. Unlike regular whiteboards, smartboards can be connected to a computer and become large interactive presentation tools. The idea, according to proponents of the smartboards, is that this tool will make lessons more interactive and, possibly, entertaining. We shall see.
For those who would like to learn more about how smartboards can and are being used in schools, (and whether or not they’re worth it) I’ve collected a short list of recommended reads online. Most of the titles speak for themselves:
- Do Hi Tech tools raise achievement?
- Race for Whiteboard supremacy heats up (Good summary of the different kinds of boards available)
- Interactive whiteboards: boon or bandwagon? A critical review of the literature
- Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard? A Baker’s Dozen Reasons!
- Interactive Whiteboards and Student Achievement
- The impact of interactive whiteboards on teacher–pupil interaction in the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies
- Whiteboard Impact Uneven
- Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards
- 9 insightful videos about using SMART Boards in the Classroom
- The Ten No Nos of Teaching with a Projector or Interactive Whiteboard
- 10 Reasons to Ditch the Board
- Effective Classroom use of interactive whiteboards (Report from our European counterparts on how they’re using the Tech)
While we don’t yet have a smartboard in the LMC, I am hoping that the powers that be recognize how much sense it would make to install one in Lab 2. Many teachers, including me, use that lab for demonstrations and talks that require a large interactive screen. As soon as I get to play with one, I’ll let you know what I think. On to other things …
Here’s a brief list of important dates for the LMC:
- Tuesday, September 4th, teachers can begin booking time in the library. PLEASE NOTE that the LMC labs must be booked online, just like any other lab in the school. We are not responsible for any conflicts, but we will try to help in any way we can. All other library visits (to take out books or use the pit, for example) should still be arranged at the circulation desk.
- Friday, September 7th, teachers of Freshman English classes can begin scheduling visits for an LMC orientation. This introduction to the LMC’s rules and resources takes only one class period. Freshman orientation visits will be Monday, September 10th – Friday, September 28th.
- Monday, September 10th, students who have a regular study period scheduled, can begin signing up for library study. Students can sign up before first period or at 2:05, after the last school bell. Please call ahead of time if you must send a student or students for any reason to the LMC and ALWAYS send them with a pass. With so many people using the LMC at the same time for different reasons, it gets difficult to keep a track of who belongs there and who doesn’t. We appreciate your cooperation and thank you in advance for your assistance.
Random things that I want to mention:
- Over the summer, Curiosity, a car sized rover, landed successfully on Mars, proving once again that even if we can’t go there ourselves, we have ways of “getting there” with our technology. Human beings have this amazing ability to imagine ways of doing things that seem impossible before we actually do them. I can’t wait to see all the high definition pictures and data that Curiosity collects over time.
- I didn’t really watch the Summer Olympics because there was other stuff going on in my life, but I did see Usain Bolt run two races. I couldn’t help but be blown away by how powerful and explosive he looked, especially when I remembered that everyone behind him represented the very best of the rest of the world. This short video, comparing Bolt to every past Gold Medal Olympian, is both telling and incredible, and left me wondering where the upper limits of human performance are.
- Hans Rosling is back at TED Talks doing the kind of interesting talk, combining statistics and storytelling, that I always find eye-opening. This time around, he explains what is happening in terms of world wide birth rates and why we should be planning for a world with around 10 billion people.
Finally, over the last few years, I have unfortunately been reminded of how quickly our time passes and how suddenly change can come into our lives. In facing these personal losses, I have had much to reflect on, and I have spent a lot of time reliving my days with those people; elders who carried the world on their shoulders for me, until I was ready to bear the weight for myself. I don’t remember specifically how these people, who are slowly disappearing from my life, taught me all the things they needed to teach me about responsibility or respect or love. I just remember that they made me feel special, protected and wanted. They believed in me and I knew it. As a father and an educator, I hope I can make my own children and students feel that way. I want to thank everyone who has supported this blog over the years and I want to encourage readers to leave feedback so that I know what interests you.
Have a great week and thank you for stopping by.
Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2012. All rights reserved.