Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oh My GOD! The School Year Started!

Courtesy Pfaff, Flickr CC
     Today I got a request from a fellow teacher who had gone through Project Lead the Way training with me this summer.  We are both teaching Introduction to Engineering Design (IED)and Digital Electronics (DE).  We are at schools that are about 20 miles apart but differ in so very many ways.
     Seems he needs some  basic items required in the first 2  to 3 weeks of DE.  And, as far as costs of things for this course, the items he needs are relatively inexpensive.  But his school district shifts fiscal years during the middle of the summer and doesn't address new purchases until after the shift.  So, his order went in about 2 weeks ago.  With a 6 to 8 week return from the supplier that means that supplies he needs now won't be to campus until the 2nd 6-weeks grading period.
     Now this is not a show stopper for my friend.  He's a "professional" and can handle the proverbial curve ball so often thrown at us as teachers.  But still, that school knew he was going to be teaching this course when they sent him to training (with last year's fiscal dollars).  Couldn't someone have thought - "I wonder what equipment he will need for this course?"   Followed by, "We should get some of that equipment now because he'll need to get started in August."  Except that's not a school administrator's forte.  Once the Summer starts there's hiring of new teachers, overseeing of building maintenance, personal vacation, and training/conferences to attend. 
    I feel fortunate in my situation.  As far as I can tell, an early August inventory of equipment revealed that I had just about any and everything required for both of my classes.    And, I have not heard an inordinate amount of complaining from the rest of the staff about not having all of their supplies. 
   This isn't the first time I have heard complaining (or been the one complaining) about having the supplies I need at the beginning of the school year.  Seems that whether I was in Virginia, Rhode Island, Florida, Texas, or with DoDDS overseas, there were times when the administration seemed surprised that school was starting. 
    I guess I was spoiled by incredible Supply Officers in the Navy.   The best of these would always anticipate expenditures and budget changes that might impact our operations.  Seems to me we should require our assistant supes for budget and finance to attend Naval Suppy Officer training so they would do a better job of ensuring our operations aren't impacted by the current fiscal situation.  After all the daily operations we teachers are conducting in our classrooms directly effects our overall mission of student readiness.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Link Post for Summer 2010

                                             Photo courtesy of DEZZ flickr cc
     Quite often I have seen posts that seem to just have links to good stuff.  And there are times I tell myself, "I never make time to write a new post."  My wife's usual response to this is to tell me to create a link post.  She does that periodically to one or more of her 3 blogs to keep them fresh and updated.  So, here are 10 links to things I have put into my Delicious account this summer.  Thank you to all who provided me these links via twitter.

   1.   Wallwisher.com is a fun way of creating a discussion board.  You just create the wall and post a thought and then have others come to the wall to leave comments, thoughts, or ideas.  Go there now and tell me how you might use this.  In the Project Based world I live in I see this as a good way to get Knows and Need to Knows after introducing a project.

   2. Discovery Education is not a new thing for me.  However, with the change from math to engineering I found a new love of the video collections like the indoor ski area built in Dubai.  By the way I skied indoors in the Netherlands and loved it.  If you get a chance to try it don't miss it.

   3.  Teachers First is a list of sites related to specific content areas.  If I was just starting out in teaching, was just trying out using the web as a source of information, or if I just wanted something in my back pocket to be able to access this would be the place to go.

   4.  First in Education has its list of Top 100 Tech Blogs for Teachers.  If you don't see it here but you find a different one somewhere else then book mark it and share it with us.

   5.  Makezine's Top 10 Kid-Friendly Projects is just what it says it is.  These are good projects to get your creative juices flowing.

   6.  The American Association of School Librarians has a great post listing the Top 25 websites for teaching and learning.  You could easily end up bookmarking each and every one.

   7.  The Educational Blogs bundle created in Google Reader by George Couros is a quck glance of some 45 blogs.  When I went there today I looked at the number and between his list and my list there had been over 350 blog posts by educators about education since the last day of school in June.  That explains why my brain hurts.

   8.  Tom Barrett compiled this list of 10 Google Forms for the classroom.  If you don't see one there that you like it might get you comfortable enough to create your own form.

   9.  This was posted in the School Library Journal in December but I didn't see it on twitter until last week.  What I liked about it was how we got to see twitter being used and the thought process behind Kate Messner's decision to include twitter in her classroom.

  10.  For my last link I chose Kelly Tenkely's post on Redefining Cheating.  As we become a world of more and more open sources and with the use of social collaboration with a host of others from around the world, we need to think about what it means to "cheat."  Kelly does a great job getting us to think.