Friday, November 6, 2009

Junior High 1st Quarter Party

Junior high school students with no F's, decent attendance, and no disciplinary actions for 1st quarter were treated to a sledding party on Friday afternoon, November 6th. There was enough snow to make sleds slide, nice weather, and a warm fire. Everyone had a good time sledding, roasting marshmallows, drinking hot chocolate, and cozying up to the campfire!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tok Junior High Student Council

On Wednesday, October 28, all of the junior high students of Tok School gathered in the library during assembly period to discuss some ideas for a junior high student council. Up until now, junior high classes have elected class representatives to sit on the student council, but were not allowed to run for offices as those were reserved for high school students. Junior high students have felt that they have not had much of a voice in the affairs of student council.

So after some good class discussions and discussions with the whole group of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, it was decided that each class would nominate some of their existing officers to serve on a new Tok Junior High Student Council.

The new members gathered together and agreed to elect their own officers for our start up "board". The new officers are as follows:
President - Molly Bears, 7th grade
Vice President - Chloe Helmer, 7th grade
Secretary - Noelle Helmer, 8th grade
Treasurer - Cole Johnson, 8th grade
Representative to high school student council - Thomas Ervin, 8th grade
Board of Directors (voting members of the council):
Taylor Harbison, 7th grade
Rachel McQuillin, 7th grade
David Simmons, 6th grade
Collin Carlson, 6th grade

The junior high student council will have monthly meetings, and will discuss new ideas for junior high students like activity nights, formal dances, and other fun things.

Monday, October 12, 2009

These students are actually learning about the geography of Canada!

It may be a little noisy, but these 8th graders are playing Jeopardy while they are learning about the geography of Canada.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Interesting Stuff on Student Blogs

In case you have not checked out the blogs of the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders on the right of this page, as well as the blogs of the French students - you should! There are continually new and updated projects like slideshows, movies, Vokis, maps and all kinds of interesting stuff on there!

The 8th graders are finishing up some pretty interesting projects in World Geography about regions of the United States. They have interactive maps, Vokis, movies, and narrated slideshows. The 8th graders are in the process of putting them on their blogs, so be sure to look them over. Leave comments or questions!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Busy Students!

The junior high students at Tok School are using their 1:1 laptops in all kinds of ways every single day!  Students have been busy doing assignments online and creating all kinds of new things.  Some of the activities the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders have been working on are:

1. Online assignments.
2. Looking at interactive sites and watching videos online to gather new information.
3. Making maps to show and interpret data.
4. Making maps for study guides.
5. Creating podcasts and online slideshows.
6. Publishing their work to their own student blogs.
7. Writing and sharing documents on GoogleDocs.

This has made class periods very busy times for the students and they are accomplishing a lot already!  Be sure to check out student blogs from time to time to see what the students are up to.  Sometimes the content on their blogs will be similar, but much of the time it will be very different and unique.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Student Blogs

7th grade, 8th grade and French students are beginning their student blogs - you can see the links to their blogs on the right hand side of this page. These blogs are very versatile and students will be able to post projects, papers, and many other things onto their blogs.

Soon the 6th grade will have blogs too!

Parents and students are encouraged to look through these often as time goes by to see what our students are up to!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gmails and iGoogle Pages are Up!

As all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are well aware we are all set up with Gmail accounts. What this means is that all 6th, 7th and 8th graders also have iGoogle as their home page, which is a VERY cool thing! IGoogle is now their digital locker. It is decorated with pictures they like, and is full of gadgets they are interested in, as well as gadgets they will need for their classes. So - for parents AND students, here are some reminders about the guidelines for responsible use of Gmail and iGoogle:
1. Check your gmail every day.
2. NEVER throw away an email (this is your "work" account).
3. No personal emails - school related correspondence only.
4. Only appropriate pictures and gadgets on iGoogle. If we'd make you take it out of your locker, we'd probably make you take it off iGoogle too - use good judgement.
5. Any gadgets your teachers require you to have on iGoogle must be there and they must be above the fold!
6. If you change your gmail password you must email me your new password immediately. I must be able to access your accounts at any time.

Remember - these are "school" accounts - we expect you to handle them responsibly. Using them irresponsibly could be grounds for losing your laptop - which would be a tragedy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Setting Up Student Emails

Just a reminder to parents/guardians - I will be needing permission slips as soon as possible from you so that I can set up your child with a student email account. Many of you have already returned these and I thank you very much! Some of you may have missed the letter in the mail - if you have, you can go to any of the English page links on the right side of this blog and there is a place to click so you can download that letter. If you just read that and want to send me an email or call me to give verbal permission, that is fine too.

Here are the reasons your student needs to have a school email account:
1. Ability for student and I to communicate easily when not in class.
2. Students will be using a variety of free web tools in class - almost all require an email account to access (they do not require other personal information). Emails are now about the equivalent of a telephone number or mailing address - you need one for everything!
3. Access to all of Google's applications we will be using for many things in class - mostly GoogleDocs, Google Calendar, Blogger, and Gmail.

It will be hard to move ahead and require all students to use these applications for learning, when only those with approved email accounts will actually be able to do it.

So please please take a second to fill out the form, shoot me an email, or give me a call! Thanks again!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hooray - Laptops are ready!

Most 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students now have their very own laptops - we are ready for anything! As all students heard today, and will continue to hear from me, there are several items regarding the laptops that I consider very important, so I'll repeat them here...

1. Charge your laptop overnight.
2. When the bell rings your laptop should be powered on, and you should be on our homepage (this page) in your Firefox browser.
3. When the bell rings your laptops should be in what I call the "closed" position - which means almost but not quite closed. That way they are ready to go, but I have your attention at the beginning of class.
4. Any student may leave their laptop in my classroom overnight to charge if they don't want to take it home.
5. Only go to sites I have directed you to during class - failure to follow this direction will result in you losing the use of your laptop for that class period.
6. On many sites we link to and even on our own class sites, we can't escape advertisements. NEVER NEVER NEVER click on ads! I can't make it any clearer than that!

Those are some basics for now. We are starting out with small steps in the use of the laptops and these sites - soon students will notice that we are doing less and less work with paper and pencil (although it won't go away entirely!).

I am excited for all we will be able to learn with these laptops this year!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Welcome Back!

To all my new students - all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders as well as high school French students - welcome back to school and welcome to my classes!

I'm excited to be back teaching junior high and high school classes at Tok School after 3 years of trying out a few other things, like teaching new teachers to teach, and teaching the 3rd grade! I loved those things, but junior high is where my heart has always been and I am looking forward to a great year ahead of us!

I am also very excited to be a part of the one-to-one laptop program in our junior high at Tok School. One thing I've always been really enthusiastic about is using technology in my classes. During the past 3 years that I've been out of the junior high, a lot has changed about how technology is being used in classrooms and I've learned a whole lot! Last year my high school French class got a little taste of what we could do with technology - and this year I have big things planned - you will like it - I promise!

Continue to check this blog site as it will be "information central" for all of my classes this year. Each of my classes will have its own wiki - and the links to those wikis are on this blog page - it's important!