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!