My day began with an 8:30 session titled, "Understand and Enjoy Math through Interactive Software." This was an excellent session! The program can be used for grades 5-8. It covered a range of topics each addressed on multiple levels and by a variety of task. This program assures that each lesson is teacher centered and not task centered. Understanding and not memorization is the objective and the makeup of the program reinforces this. Each section presents concepts, examples, practice problems and a test of the concept. Some of the problems are randomly selected so that the children will not receive the same problems. It encourages critical thinking, and problem solving.
An example of this is how wrong answers are dealt with. If a student answers a problem wrong, they are not told wrong and given the answer. The student has three times to choose the correct answer. Each wrong answer prompts a hint which helps the student to think about what is being asked and how to solve the problem. There are awesome manipulatives which help to make the concepts concrete. The program can be used in a lab setting or in the classroom along with worksheets, and the computers. The presenter gave us a website and paper work which gives us permission to use his software in our various school systems.
Check it out for yourselves, it was great! http://www.neufeldmath.com
The second sessions was titled, "Digital Portfolios: addressing the Essential Questions."
The session began slowly, the presenters shared information the first half of the session
that we already knew and understood. Only near the end did they begin to share information that would help us understand how to use portfolios as an assessment. The questions were... 1. What should students know and be able to do? 2. Why collect the work? 3. Who will see the work? 4. How do we decide what is good? 5. How do you make it happen? They showed the various ways to use the portfolio as an assessment tool. The teacher identifies the standards and the students use it to correct themselves. Parent teacher conferences can utilize the portfolio to monitor a studentâs progress. For example a teacher may video tape a child as they begin to read and document their progress. Six months later another video is made. During the conference the teacher can share with the parents the results and it is a much better assessment than just a verbal or written response. Rubrics and school -career portfolios are also possible uses for digital portfolios.
There seems to be a downside to this however. Afterwards we were allowed a brief question and answer session. These are problems that were brought out: There must be a network in the school for this to be of value to the school and in the classroom. Many teachers are not familiar with the programs needed to create some of the portfolios. The presenters agreed that it would not be easy and that it requires work. Someone commented that most teachers do not have time to create something so elaborate.
For more info see the website www.ideasconsulting.com/dp
The third session was more fun. "Maximize PowerPoint Potential in your Classroom." The three presenters have over 29 years of teaching experience each. The presentation focused on linear and non-linear presentations. Linear slides flow from one slide to the next. Ideas for linear presentations are animated E Books which tell a story. The students have an objective, choose descriptive words and sentences and put them together with text, font, color, sound and transitions. Students use a rubric and base the story on two characters.
The non-linear projects don't flow from slide to slide but include a hyperlink. Teachers can use this so that instead of 20 different presentations, there will be a combine presentation presenting one project. For example one presenter created a descriptive vowel book. Each vowel is on one page, but if you click onto a vowel it will take you to a separate slide which can be worked on by individual students. Each student works together to produce a single presentation.
The website they provided will give you more ideas. www.medillelem.cps.k12.il.us/NECC2003
On my last day I headed out alone. I am proud of myself I went to the space needle and took awesome pictures. When I got there my film ran out. I loaded my last roll only to discover it was bad. So there I was with no film on top of one of the worldâs wonders. I decided not to be sad but to enjoy the wonder of the moment. As I considered my plight I asked a worker there if they knew where I could get some film? She sweetly said, "Around the corner." My smile returned and I got my film. I rode the Monorail back to the West Lake Center and walked the remaining two blocks to the convention center. I have grown in more ways than one during this conference. Critical thinking and problem solving does not always require technology. I will cherish my time here and keep in touch with as many of the other team members as possible.