World War II Project Reflections

Well, we started a flash project several weeks ago, my honors students chose topics from World War II to research and present to their classmates.  My goal was to take just a couple of days to do some quick research and explain it to the class.  We could then move on and forward in time, hopefully making a leap as if using a Tardis or a wormhole.

Well, things did not go quite as planned and we had to make a number of adjustments.  That being said, those adjustments led to a variety of learning experiences for both my students and myself.  To make a long story short,  the project took quite a bit longer that projected.  Some of the issues were out of our control, such as my classroom laptop not quite dying, but let’s say performing at a pace of a snail covered in molasses and pine tar, heading uphill, over sharp glass, on a cold winter’s day…dragging about 400 pounds of weight, and an open parachute into the wind.  Yet this only affected the project at the end, when my students were about to present their work to their classmates.

The project research and and presentation build was done in the computer lab; my new class set of iPads have a glitch, if students log in to Edmodo using a Google account, they can never be truly signed out.  This is a bit problematic since the iPads are shared across six classes.

Anyway, the project build took a bit longer than expected, though research was quick.  Since this was the first project build in class I wanted to make sure students were comfortable with the process.  Most groups used either Prezi or Google Slides as their presentation medium, a select few ventured out into podcasts, Google MyMaps,  and other formats.  Of the Prezi and Google Slide crew I managed to convince a few groups to turn their presentations into screencasts using Touchcast and the class Padcaster.  This process worked well overall and the extra time used for this project can be made up during the next project.

Some of the learning process for myself caught me by surprise.  Not normally known for my patience outside of the classroom, I believed that I have used technology long enough that I was beyond frustration when it glitched, broke, or bogged down in the classroom.  Well…I was greatly mistaken.  I have to give MAJOR PROPS, to one of my students whose presentation was delayed several times because of the computer problems.  He took the situation in stride, did not become frustrated and presented like a pro.  I on the other hand became rattled and not so calm with the device in question.

Looking back at the issue, I believe my frustration arose because the problems directly affected the students, and no I am not saying this to look good.  If a glitch affects me in the classroom, I have many ways to adapt and overcome the issue.  I have been in the classroom for many years, there are many tricks up my sleeve to work around problems.  This problem hit the students directly, they could not complete their presentations, thus lose out on a big chunk of their grade. I still do not know if it was stubbornness, myopia, or my minor OCD issues that prevented me from just trading rooms with a colleague to have the students present while the computer was down.  For whatever the reason, I turned down a couple of offers and took a delay of a couple of days with presentations, students used the time to review vocabulary, review their presentations, and other such coursework.

Overall, I was pleased with the students’ projects and their effort in creating them.   I am also very pleased with out technology department, they helped fix the computer issue and kept at it when the problem persisted for some unknown reason.  The major issue I had with the project, outside of the time issue I discussed earlier is the large group of projects that were similar in format.  I can change that rather easily moving forward, as the classroom teacher I have full control over that segment and it is an easy fix.  i will discuss that shortly.

Moving forward there are some changes I will implement.  For one, the time frame of the project and amount of class time will be scaled back.  Since students have worked through the process with “training wheels” we can take them off and speed up the process.  Also more work can be done on their own next time.  In conjunction with those changes.  My classroom door is always open for students who need help or a place to work, so scaling back class time can be made up before or after school and during study halls.

To address the homogeneity of the projects, here are several adaptations I have planned.  I will institute a “Project Passport” where students cannot complete the same style of project until after they have completed a number of other project styles.  This will expand their repertoire of knowledge, keep the class interesting, and continue to challenge all of us to expand our horizons.  A limit on the number of similar styles of projects will be put in place, in a first come first served basis.  This along with the passports will force the students to expand their horizons when it comes to projects.

The largest influence to the project homogeneity issue will come from my own personal changes.  I need to expand how I present information to the classes, by adding to my own skill set, I can introduce and model the various projects to my classes.  The additional styles should alleviate some fears on their part of the unknown and may even intrigue or pique their interest outright to expand horizons.

I plan to continue to update this blog and my other blog throughout the year, please check back to see how my efforts are progressing.

You can find the student projects posted on the class wiki by clicking here.

Sample Blog Post for Honors US II 2018

All blog posts need to contain certain information along with your post.  First, you need a “Title.” It may be creative, but it should have some indication of or relation to your topic.  You also need the main body of your post, this is obvious, but I mention it anyway. You must include “Tags” in your post, these are bits of information that help people find your post when searching on the Internet.  The more “Tags” you have the better the chance of people searching and finding your post. You should also place your post in a “Category” which is sort of like placing your post in a file cabinet drawer to help see the organization of your thoughts and ideas.

Some miscellaneous items, make sure you publish your post, especially if you are working on a mobile device.  Saving a post as a draft on a mobile device saves it only to that device, not to the Internet, whereas saving a post as a draft on a computer saves it to the Internet.  If you are not completed with your post just add “This Post is Currently Under Construction” so anyone who comes across your blog knows you are not finished. Please make sure you make YOUR BLOG the default blog to write to and not the class blog.  More information will be posted later.

Enrichment Opportunities 2017 2018 School Year

Students have been asking “Can I do extra credit?”  My response is always, “There are plenty of enrichment assignments you can attempt for enrichment points.”  What’s the difference?  Extra Credit is usually points just added on top of a students grade for whatever reason.  Enrichment Points are points added to a grade for completing an extra assignment, but they are averaged in as an extra test, quiz, or project, not just added on top of the existing grade.  They definitely help out, but not as much as just piling on points to the existing grade.

So what sort of projects to we have for enrichment?  I will keep the complete list on my website, mrsalvucci.com, they will be posted as their own page: Enrichment Assignments.  But for now, here is a quick list of projects students can explore for enrichment:

  • Working in some way shape or form on the class Internet Talk Show, “Wake Up New Brighton
    • We can use people on camera and behind the scenes to help showcase events and cool things about our school and community.
  • Creating a StoryCorps project about someone or something in the community.
  • Using the Livescribe Pen to take notes or create a pencast for your classmates.
  • Creating a review podcast to help your classmates with course materials.
  • Guest blogging on the class blog about a course of study topic or something you find interesting within the school or community at large.
  • Updating the class wiki to assist classmates with course information and notes.

The goal is to get students PUBLISHING and CONTRIBUTING to the Internet.  I hope to get them to become creators of positive and appropriate information and media.  To be aware of appropriate behaviors online in educational and general settings; where these habits can carry over into everyday social media experiences.  The students should have a positive digital footprint, one that they and their families can be proud of and use as a reference throughout their educational and professional careers.  The enrichment activities listed here are an attempt to move the students closer to those goals.

If you have any questions about this post or the enrichment activities, please feel free to contact me at my school email.

Student Blogging Challenge September 2013

This year I am hoping to get more of my students to participate on a global scale when it comes to collaboration.  They were encouraged to participate in the Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge for enrichment points this fall.  I have a number of students who were interested in signing up for the challenge.  Since this specific blogging challenge does not really fall within my social studies curriculum I am making participation voluntary for the students.  They can do as many or as few assignments as they have time for and are comfortable with.

I am using Edmodo as my online classroom platform, with a group set up specifically for Enrichment Assignments.  Each challenge will be rolled out as an optional assignment with in the group.  Each week will also have an optional assignment to go out and comment on another students’ blog from the list of participants. The hope is that once students get into the habit of commenting and communicating with others we can expand naturally into collaboration.  A list of student participants can be found  here.

I will list and link my students’ blogs to a separate page as they begin their journey into global collaboration.  I am hoping that the activities give them confidence and interest to become active and responsible digital citizens.

What I Want To Learn About this Year.

I am Robby L. and I would like to say that I would like to learn more about the cold war. i would also like to learn how to use the iPods more effectively. The finale thing I would like to learn about is how to use edublogs and gaggle more.

I would like to know about the cold war because it was a very crucial time for the world. I think it would be interesting if i learned more about the cold war because it does interest me.

I would like to learn how to use the iPods more effectively because its very crucial for my work that i have to put up on edmodo when i don’t have a computer that i work with.

I would like to learn how to use edublogs and gaggle more because it is also crucial for my school work. I also need to update this blog for a big part of my grade and that is why i want to learn more about edublogs and gaggle.

These are the things that i expect to learn and hope to learn more about.

Expectations for Mr. Sals Class

My name is Ashley Dietz, I am sixteen years old and I’m a junior at New Brighton. I’m going to BCCTC for Food prep and Service. I absolutely love to read and cook, I spend most of my time at home or with my close friends.

What I expect to learn from 20th Century US History is obviously about the history of the united states. I would think  we will discuss the different wars that happened with the US and I also believe we will study the development the united states has gone through over the many years.

What I expect to learn from the technology is how to use different techniques using different technological equipment. I also think we will learn how to do different projects on different pieces of technology.

Class Expectations: 2011/2012

Hello, I am Mr. Salvucci, usually called Mr. Sal.  I teach world cultures, POD, and 20th Century US History in New Brighton.

My expectations for class content this year mainly focus on streamlining the curriculum.  By this I mean having the content flow smoothly at a fairly even pace.  Last year seemed choppy at times, partly due to my adjusted schedule as Technology Integrator.  There are some interesting projects that can be implemented this year, such as world newscasts in world cultures, additional decade-based projects and multimedia in the 20th Century class, and interviews in POD.  I am hoping we can do more of these projects this upcoming year.

As for expectations based on technology…the main focus is to make technology invisible.  By that, I am aiming to make it such a normal part of the class, the students accept using technology as if it were pencil and paper.  Afterall, technology is to them what pencil and paper was to me as a student.  When we were finally allowed to use pens it was a big deal, not to mention the outcry of joy when erasable pens were introduced!  I apologize for my tangential rant, now back to my topic.  My second expectation is to regularly model the use of basic technologies, such as podcasting and blogging.  I feel that I need to participate on a regular basis if I expect my students to use these technologies in class.

We shall see what the new school year brings.