Preparing my students for the future

Today, while I was finishing my reports cards, doing final calculations to figure out my students final marks, writing their comments and giving them feedback. I couldn’t help but notice that the marks I gave my students were all quite high. Usually, my average marks are around a B. This year, I am teaching grade 9 for the first time and my approach, especially teaching in an IB school, (Académie de la Capitale) is quite different.

First of all, I don’t accept a mark lower than 80% this year (this idea I got from my online course that I am taking). When I mark a student’s assignment, I give them feedback and ask them additional questions for them to answer and in doing so, they will better achieve the learning outcomes while coming back to me with a higher quality assignment.

One of the courses that I teach this year is also an online course. Therefore my students are constantly emailing me for clarification and to ask questions. Their success rate is higher because they are completing an assignment to its fullest. I even have students that submit their assignment to receive feedback before I mark their assignment, thus allowing me to guide them in the right direction to achieve the outcomes. In an IB school, there is also the flexibility in learning methodology and so if I see a student who doesn’t get something, then I will create another task or change the activity to allow them the highest success rate.

I was sharing these present observations with my fiancé, who is starting out in a law firm, and we came to the conclusion that this approach is often used to train people in the real world. For example, in work, he will have to draft a legal document and then share it with his supervisor. She will provide him feedback and then he will go and make the necessary changes before returning with the best possible product.

As a teacher, our lessons can be peer reviewed, but often, experience is our guide: good old trial and error. We may try and teach a lesson one day and it doesn’t go as planned, but do we give up and end it there? No, we go home, evaluate what worked, what didn’t work  and make the necessary changes before going back the next day to start again.

successpointconsulting.com

My point here is that by allowing our students the opportunity to try until they succeed and by providing them with the tools to do so, we are better preparing them for their future. In a rapidly changing world, they must have the courage to try once, receive feedback and then give more effort until they reach their goal

And that is why I love teaching IB! The structure of an IB approach creates the setting to prepare our students to be hands-on learners, to find the courage to succeed, to ask for clarification, to give feedback and to work collaboratively just like in the work force. This approach favors the classroom without walls approach that I have become very interested in integrating into my own teaching. Break down those walls!

Where I want to be in one less click!

Wow!

So maybe I might be a little behind the times, but I just discovered Google Apps!

I have heard of their Apps before and after a quick glance, I became aware that I was already using some of them. However, last night was the real discovery : life is much easier with Google Apps!

Basically, I chose all the Apps that correspond to my daily online usage and determined how using the app brings me to where I want to be in less time!

Screen Shot of Google Apps!

In addition to my daily usage apps, I found some really neat apps to use with my students:

Diigo Web
Type Scout
Evernote Web
Picasa
Prezi
Sketchpad
Typing Test – Key Hero
QR Code Creator
Weebly
Google Docs
For Language schools there is Google Translate
For teachers, the Webpage Screenshot app is awesome!
And many more…

Another great thing is that we already use Google Chrome as our Internet browser at school ( I would highly recommend you install Google Chrome on your school computers, especially if you also work with Google Docs). By adding educative apps to the Chrome home page, it makes it that much easier to share app links with our students. In addition, each app has its own image. Therefore, it is much  easier to guide our younger students to where we want them to go.

Happy Apping!

Learning with Technology

What a few busy weeks of learning ahead of me!

1) This week I started my level 2 MYP Technology training online, where in addition to getting to know the program, I am meeting lots of great new IB technology teacher to collaborate with. http://www.ibo.org/

2) I am only a few weeks away from completing my Teaching and Learning with Technology course, in addition to 2 other courses, and am already very excited to see what January has in store for me.

3) Today I attended an amazing workshop : Friends For Life, http://www.friendsinfo.net/ca.htm, where I couldn’t avoid sharing my two sense in using technology to help our students communicate with their peers, teachers and parents.

4) I plan to complete Google’s certification to become a Google certified educator, over the holidays!!! So excited!!! http://www.google.com/educators/gtc.html

I just love learning, working with and exploring new technologies!

My quote for today:
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
– B.B. King

Have a great weekend everyone!

Opps…Almost forgot about report cards and parent teacher interviews coming up!