Low Tech Solution for High Tech Stuff

Carol Here: As technology use is becoming more and more prevalent in schools, we sometimes have to be creative with what we have and don’t have. At my school, we are fortunate enough to have a very involved group of parents and PTA. They were generous enough to fund a class set of chrome books for our students! We decided that we would have a sign-up sheet for teachers so they would be able to sign up and use the chrome books for an hour or a day, depending on the schedule. One problem: No way to store, charge, or move them around. Now, I would love to take credit for our solution but unfortunately I can’t, the credit has to go to our brilliant Computer Instructional Specialist. He told us about an idea he saw that has been used effectively in other schools that also do not have access or money for a proper cart. Here is what he came up with. read more

The Official End of Summer

John Here:

The first day of school in high school is actually one of the easiest days you’re going to get. For the most part the students are in as much shock as you are at being back in school. The seniors are too cool, the juniors are feeling much larger than they really are, the sophomores are glad they’re not at the bottom anymore, and the freshmen are just plain terrified. They come in dead silent not knowing what to expect and usually stay that way throughout the day. Most of us have been spoiled rotten by not having to get up early for a couple of months so you also have a high degree of yawning and trying to stay awake to say nothing of the problems the students are having trying to keep from falling unconscious after lunch. The students generally get ruled and regulated to death in all their classes and then the realization hits that they (and us) actually have to come back and do this again tomorrow. The fall is a great time at school with football, dances, activities and all the possibilities that a new year brings. As we get rolling and get to know each other I can’t help thinking that this is a pretty good deal. read more

Back to School…for the 24th Time

John Here:  24 years is a long time. Compared to a historian’s view of time, 24 years is a short time but going to the same place every day for 24 years can be classified, I think, as a long time. I’m starting year number 24 at my high school. If you knew my school you might say that 24 years should qualify as 48 years. My school can be described as “inner city” or “urban”. I prefer to think of it as just school. We have all the issues that an inner city school has, poverty, family dysfunction, gangs, you can read about in the newspaper I suppose (if anyone still does that), yet my kids are some of the nicest, most resilient, good people I have ever met.   It’s a unique place and there are challenges, it is not an easy place to teach yet I’m still here. Some people might think my kids are different somehow. They may have different issues than I did growing up for sure, but a teenager is a teenager and teenagers are, if you observe them long enough, hysterically funny. The trick is remembering that you were once one of them and you were no different than they are. Insecure, goofy, trying to be cool, trying to figure out the opposite sex (or the same sex for that matter), wondering when this endless class will be over so I can just hang out with my friends because that is all I really ever want to do, what is the point of finding X, I will never use any of this, why are we even bothering to study this since someone else already figured it out anyway? These are the some of the burning issues we all had as teenagers and today’s teenagers are no different than we were. It doesn’t matter where they’re from or who they are, they are all basically the same. As we roll into another school year I realize that I really like this place.  Now I just wonder what my classroom looks like after no supervision for a summer. read more

Beach Blogger Bash

Carol Here: We had the great pleasure of going to the “Southern California Back to School Blogger Beach Bash” last weekend and we were able to meet some other teachers/bloggers from SoCal. We met up at Sandy’s Restaurant in Huntington Beach just a stone’s throw from the Huntington Beach pier. read more