Wednesday, December 26, 2012


The last few months have been the craziest I have ever experienced. In case you haven't noticed--I've been pretty much absent from the blog here. I haven't had any time to do anything crafty, or pretty much anything that doesn't deal with my classroom or an iPad.

Exactly four months ago, our school was presented with an opportunity of a lifetime....and I took a chartered ride on this.
 A couple weeks later, after the School Board voted to approve, we got the okay to tell our students that they would each be receiving their own iPad. The kids already had an idea of what was going on, as rumors were flying throughout the community. I wanted to do something a little fun, so I took a big box, put an empty iPad box with a note inside and wrapped it. We had been talking about Inferences, so we made guesses about what was inside the box. It was pretty fun to watch them read the note inside the box. The most exciting thing for the kids, is that they would get to take them home.
I spent the next several weeks (months--it felt like a year!!), helping get everything ready--and learning a lot about how servers, and highly technical things that make it possible for all the technology to run work. I inventoried all the iPads, MacBooks, iMacs, Apple TVs, TVs,....everything that came in to the school---I've touched it. We had a classroom where we had everything, and it was quite a site to see that many iPads in one place. Oh....and I removed (and inventoried) about 140 computers that were removed from our building (that was a PAIN)--I love computers that are All-in-One. I've helped teachers learn how to deal with this new technology--and how it will change the way they teach. I've researched hundreds of apps. I've also synced my students' iPads and deleted all their work (they were NOT happy with me)
I've been exhausted!!
I've learned!!!
I am SO Grateful!!
I am Excited to Teach!!!
 The best day came the week before Thanksgiving (my last day with a student teacher). We were finally ready to hand out the iPads. I was able to pass out iPads to every classroom---one of the best days I've ever had. We have video footage of kids so excited, they're bouncing. Handing iPads to kids who've never touched them made all the work worth it. Of course, my lucky students have to get some perks, and they were the first students in the school to get theirs:) 
It's been tiring and exhausting, but this is something I believe will make a difference in my classroom and in schools. It is a tool that I can, just like I might use fraction manipulatives to teach math. Students have more ownership ownership of their learning. Sitting and listening to a teacher talk, doesn't work for most students any more. If you come and visit my classroom, students are showing what they've learned. They know how to find an answer to something they don't know---and they'll actually do it too. They are excited about learning--and that says a LOT!!
On December 14, we had our official ribbon cutting. We had a lot of media and dignitaries in attendance. My students did GREAT!!! They kept asking me why I was so nervous. They each had an app that we'd been using in class, which they showed and explained to our visitors (which more than doubled our class size). I was NERVOUS--these were important people and we needed to show that this is something that would be good for other schools as well. 
I had to do my second TV interview (thankfully I didn't sound near as stupid!)
I visited with legislators and the lieutenant governor about why this is a good thing and what kids need.

Part of this process is the responsibility to have visitors come to our school and see how it is actually implemented in real classrooms. We took a classroom that isn't currently being used and created a conference room. One of my coworkers and I decorated the room (funny---because I am not a decorator). She came up with most of the ideas--I did the manual labor--and made sure it all got done.
This is a quote, which we thought was appropriate for this process. Notice--the bottom row is spaced too far down:( 
Note: Putting vinyl on cinder block wall is a PAIN!!

this is a collection of fun "schoolish" things. The printing is a Norman Rockwell--the girl is sitting outside the Principal's office with a black eye. I love it!!

This is our biggest conversation piece of the room. No one has entered when I've been in there, that hasn't come over to this wall and had a good laugh. We chose a student from every class and had them draw a picture of their teacher. So FUN!! It's amazing how perfectly some of them drew their teacher.
Here is me--sporting some really chunky highlights, and BROWN eyes?? Funny thing is I was in the room when she was drawing it. I was teaching them how to color the eyes and said, "So if my eyes were brown, I would color this part brown:)"

So--that's where I've been for the past four months. I am hoping that it will calm down now that the initial part is over (crossing my fingers!) But, if I'm absent, know that I am learning a lot about Macs, servers, syncing, and learning how to teach all over because--it is DIFFERENT with iPads. A good different though.