Made on Motivator
In the last post, I talked about how my new 7th graders were telling me they lacked self confidence. My orginal plan was to share a free website my wife had shared with me, however, I got off track. She attended the conference at Bowling Green a few weeks back and while Mike and I were presenting she traveled to a few sessions. One session showed her the website Motivator. It is a free site and I believe a good way to personalize motivational comments for your students. I plan to use this a few times a week, to add quotes and motivational comments with images of my student. I hope by the end of the year to have a room full of these images and quotes. Give it a try and let me know what you think about this free software. In a few weeks, I plan to address the question: How do we motivate middle school students in a more thoughtful way. Cheers, Garth
Do kids lack Confidence?
Made free on Motivator
School started this week. Just like the last 16 years, I could not sleep for the first two nights. Tired and that funny feeling in my stomach, I made it to work almost an hour early. The room was set up and the lesson plan ready for day one. The students were smiling and bouncing from room to room. At 12, they still are excited to start a new year. They seemed open and ready to engage in learning. By the third day (after a pretty good sleep), I interviewed each student on video into my computer to save for later use. I asked them three questions: 1. What are two goals you have for this year? 2. What is one long term goal you have for life? 3. What are two things I should know about you?
First, I was shocked how many came into the hall with sweat dripping from their foreheads because they were scared of being on film. I encouraged each student and gave them some positive feedback. My goal was to save these files until the end of the year for them to view and comment on. BUT, of course the new cloud server did not really save them, all were lost. Oh well.
What I found most interesting were the comments: yes, some talked of all A's, Honor Roll, and wealth and fame, but most talked about one word: confidence.
I was stumped on this one. I did not expect these students to say "I lack confidence in my ability." I don't know why this hit me so hard, but it has forced me to think about how to move forward. I know kids gain confidence from doing a task well, taking pride in it. So, I have to find ways to provide chances for my students to gain confidence from doing great things with our content. I have a feeling this is going to be a harder task than I thought.
I wonder what else they would tell us about learning, if we really listened?
tonight we spoke with Scott Sibberson, technology specialist at Dublin Jerome High School. Scott's bio is below the podcast. Garth and Scott met via Twitter and Garth was interested in Scott's Tweets and what was going on at Jerome High. Scott talked about how listening to Alan November's BLC 10 conference motivated him to find new ways to use technology to create PLNs (Personal Learning Networks). Scott discussed the plans for rolling out Twitter in his building. We will talk with Scott in a few months to see how it is going as well as talking about some of the technology projects teachers in his building are doing.
Dublin Jerome High School
As technology specialist at Jerome High School, I work with teachers and students to implement technology in classrooms. My
responsibilities include basic troubleshooting, training, and implementation of new programs. It is my hope to make technology a
seamless part of the education process.
Bowling Green, Ohio: August 11, 2010. Mike and I presented "The Giant Eagle Standard". During this presentation we discussed the student created online textbook, skype collaboration, and Google Docs collaboration between two school about 35 miles apart. The link to the wiki is here. Full Presentation is below.
Garth, Steph and I are currently listening to Alan November speak at a technology conference at Bowling Green State University. He started with a question: "what is the most important skill we should be teaching students?". Alan then said that the president of HSBC, West Point University and a college professor all said that it should be EMPATHY. Interesting talk Mr. November is giving about all the ways we, as teachers, should be using technology, but he is very pessimistic about teachers changing, giving students more control and bringing social networking into the classroom. Great talking points, lots to think about. More from the road as it occurs.
Tonight we talked about a few things, in ESPN "rapid-fire" format. We discussed web filtering in schools, the use of Facebook in the classroom, a great website called Answer Garden, and the use of cell phones with students. Below is the Wiffiti wall that we created. Wiffiti, which we have discussed, allows you to post messages to a live web page via the computer or your cell phone. Please text the number below and add your comments about the technologies we discussed.
Text this number: 87884
Start your text message with: @wif33872
Then just type your answer