Thursday, September 11, 2008

Leading the Middle School Classroom to the 21st Century

New technologies are being introduced to us on a daily basis. 21st century terms such as blog, social network, twitter, skype, texting, RSS and wiki are rapidly becoming a major part of today's vernacular. While these terms may still sound a little foreign to many teachers, students are using these tools to connect to the world. It will not be very long before teachers are expected to incorporate some of these instruments into their instructional practice.

The challenge for teachers will be making sense of how these new technologies play-out in their classrooms. After all, middle school students are middle school students.

Dr. Tracy Weeks, the district's director for instructional technology (for another two hours...her last day is today), advises teachers who are a bit reluctant (or petrified) of bringing these new technologies into the classroom to follow a four step plan:

1. Collaborate with your PLC team or another colleague;
2. Don't reinvent the wheel - modify a lesson you are familiar with by adding 21st century technology components;
3. Deliver the lesson and be mindful of the engagement of your students;
4. Reflect on the delivery of the lesson (Don't forget to obtain feedback from your students and share the successes and challenges with your PLC team members and colleagues).

The August 2008 addition of Instructor shares 7 effective ways to bring today's technology into your classroom. Topics include the use of Blogs, Social Networks, Podcasts, Wikis, Bookmarking, Video Posting and Google Maps. You may read this article by click here. Happy reading!

-R



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Take a Break from the Daily Grind and Reflect!

Okay, so here we are moving toward the fourth week of school and the newness of the year is wearing thin; that's because students are settling in. They have commenced to playing sappy jokes and are even in the back of your classroom passing juicy notes - in other words, the honeymoon is over!

The daily grind is becoming apparent as we think about lesson plans, lunch duty, grading papers and all the meetings. It's within the daily grind that educators lose site of their mission, vision, and commitments. We enter a stage of survival mode, which often displaces us from reflective practice. From time-to-time it's critical we take a purposeful walk back toward a more reflective teaching practice. It is during this walk we often uncover our innovation, best practice and creativity as educators.

Take a moment to reflect on the district's Mission, Vision and Commitment to Excellence & Equity

Mission
Empower all students to acquire the knowledge, skills and insights necessary to live rewarding, productive lives, prepared to contribute positively to the global community.

How do you intend to bring the global community into your classroom?

Vision
A district recognized for educational excellence and equity, providing a rigorous, innovative educational program that supports and challenges each students to achieve at a high level and graduate from high school prepared for the future.

How will you prepare students for a future that is relatively unknown?

Commitment to Excellence & Equity
We believe we can reach our mission only if we raise the achievement of all students, close the achievement gaps and eliminate institutional barriers that prevent students from reaching high levels of success.

How you will eliminate the racial predictability of achievement outcomes in your classroom?

Have a great year!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome!








Welcome to, In the Middle, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School's middle school blog. The purpose of this site is to provide a space for the exchange of our ideas, thoughts, successes and challenges. It is our goal to post useful information, weblinks, and thought provoking questions relevant to the middle school experience in our district and beyond. So, comeback soon to see what’s new and exciting In the Middle.