Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time to Give Thanks

When you work in a school, there are definitely a lot of people who deserve your appreciation. So at Thanksgiving I like to prepare a treat for the secretaries and custodians/maintenance people that help keep me sane! Usually my treat of choice for this holiday is banana nut bread; it tends to get rave reviews.

 And of course I can't resist adding SNOOPY tags, with a little note on the back.

A sampling of this year's masterpieces.

I mix it up a bit during the other holidays with various treats, and add in more of the people that help me day to day. At Thanksgiving though I want to make sure I remember the biggies!

What do you do for your support staff at Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interior Design/Housing Project Idea

Having taught Interior Design/Housing for a few years before moving to junior high, I've always been on the lookout for good projects for the subject. A few years back another FACS teacher recommended using dollhouse kits for a project, which was an awesome idea and one I used. A lot of the kids were really into it and did great work. The drawbacks were that they were detail-oriented and time-consuming, so some students lost interest fairly early on. It was also a bit expensive. Tonight while surfing on Pinterest (and let's all admit, we're all addicted to Pinterest, right? The slippery slope, eh Jenna?) I found a great alternative option I just had to share. I think it could make a terrific group or individual project, depending on the skill/motivation level of the student. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Smart Boards & Sewing

I have to say, Smart Boards rock! Last year I had a projector for the first time ever, which was a game changer, and about a month ago I received my first SB. Not only is it glorious, it has saved lives. Student lives, which may have ended had I been forced to repeat myself any more.

Here's an example: the dilemma of teaching sewing to a couple dozen kids is that only two or three can see you demonstrate at a time. Meanwhile your back is turned to about 20 kids who have access to pins, needles, and scissors. We've all been there, it ain't pretty. Then of course throughout whatever project you're working on kids wind up spread out across seven different steps and it takes forever to get anywhere because you can't help them all at once.

Smart Board to the rescue! For each of my projects (and each of the practice steps leading up to the projects) I created short videos for each step. The entire class can watch the instruction, and I can replay it as many times as they need without losing my mind repeating myself endlessly. Then when some begin to move ahead while others move slower (or miss a few days of school), I can just play the video for the step everyone needs. It's been amazing!

An added benefit: I upload all the videos to a designated channel on YouTube, that way kids can access them at home if they are doing make-up work or just want to work on projects on their own time. Not saying I get a lot of views, but at Parent/Teacher Conferences a few weeks ago a few parents did tell me that their kids had been watching the videos at home. Hooray for useful technology!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Year Two

Successful new lesson today, so I'm sharing. We're learning about toddlers, and their assignment was to create a "visual" timeline of the second year of life. They were given a sheet with 12 boxes, to represent the 12 months in a year. In each, they had to write the number of the month, a description of something you can expect to see in a child that age along with a picture, and a label of "P," "I," "S," or "E" (physical development, intellectual development, social development, or emotional development). They did a really great job! Here's a cute one: