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Monday, July 30, 2012

Dr. Clemmie Webber (1913 - 2012)

Dr. Clemmie Webber (1913 - 2012)

Gene Zaleski
The Times and Democrat

July 28, 2012

Mr. Zaleski,

Thank you for writing a fitting tribute to the life of Dr. Clemmie Webber (http://bit.ly/nyk_clemmie_webber).

I spent perhaps one week with Dr. Webber as a student (in Dr. Carl Clark's high school SAT camp at SCSU circa 1985), but she was a mentor, hero, and lifelong inspiration to me.

Dr. Webber was in her early 70s by then, but she was razor-sharp and insightful.

She taught a few classes during the camp on vocabulary (the meaning of words), and language (how words are used) - and how language was more important than vocabulary.

I did not know it at the time, but those few days with her would influence my decision years later to help start a school (Tech High Charter School in Atlanta, GA), and to develop games that enhance math students' language skills.

This is what makes a great teacher:

1. I remember her 25 years later.
2. She could relate to all students.
3. Every word she said was insightful.

Rest in peace, Dr. Webber - and thank you.


Sincerely,

Derrick Brown
Calhoun County High School (Class of 1987 Valedictorian)
http://reachthenteach.blogspot.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/dbrowndbrown

"Do not mistake activity for achievement." (John Wooden, noted achiever)

Big Ideas About Technology & Learning: 4 Ways To Use Google Talk





Google Docs is an application that allows users to create and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with all school stakeholders (students, parents, faculty & staff, administration, board, and community).

Google Forms is an application that allows users to create forms (interactive documents that facilitate data collection). All data entered into the form is automatically entered into a downloadable spreadsheet!

Google Calendar is an application that facilitates the efficient managing and sharing of events.

Google Mail (GMail) is a multi-faceted communication tool.

Google Talk is a text, voice, and video chat application. When used wisely, it can facilitate powerful, positive communication between school stakeholders ...

  1. Invite Guest Teachers To Your Classroom. Use Google Talk's video chat to allow teachers from other charter schools to be guest stars in your daily classroom production!
  2. Increase Parental Involvement. Allow parents to participate in daily instruction by leading your classroom warmups, or by reading to students!
  3. Conduct Parent / Team Meetings. Imagine the scheduling convenience of conducting parent conferences or collaborative department meetings online!
  4. Conduct Online Office Hours. With parental permission, allow students to ask questions and receive help on homework, or even more detailed project assignments!

To Learn More ...
  1. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Slide Presentation - 54 Slides)
  2. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Professional Development Webinar - 58 minutes, 52 seconds)
Please share your thoughts on these "Big Ideas" and best practices by leaving comments below. Email us or follow us on Twitter @dbrowndbrown to submit your own "Big Ideas" and best practices!
 
 
Copyright © 2012 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Big Ideas About Math Education: Making Math Fun!





I am a teacher, but math is my primary subject.

My (math) teaching is guided by a few big ideas taught to me by my teachers:

1. Students must learn to do math, and must then learn what math does.

2. Language (how we use words and sounds to communicate) and discourse (verbal expression in speech and writing) are more important than vocabulary (knowledge of words).

3. Language mastery is the key to content mastery.

4. Language mastery is the key to self-expression - which develops self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-discipline.
   
Therefore ...

5. Content mastery is predicated upon using self-expression to build self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-discipline.

6. Divergent thinking (seeing multiple solutions to a problem) inspires creativity (the process of having original ideas), which adds value to society.


I apply these "Big Ideas" to math teaching through the design and strategic use of games to build my students' language skills, and to let them have some creative fun!

About Talk To Me


One game I use a lot is called Talk To Me - a game show (in the tradition of Taboo and Pictionary) that requires teams of contestants to build language and discourse skills by guessing vocabulary terms from verbal and/or pictorial clues presented by a single teammate.

The clue giver is provided with the term's formal definition (which does not always help)!


 Talk To Me Game Cards


What Are Talk To Me’s Rules?


Teams take turns giving and guessing clues for 30-90 seconds per round. The game host and commissioner decide the actual length of each round, as well as the number of rounds per game. At the end of the game, the team that guessed the most terms correctly wins!

Required Materials & Suggested Roles

• Talk To Me card sets
• Whiteboard with markers (one for clues, one for scorekeeping)
• Egg timer (30-90-second) or watch
• Scorekeeper
• Timekeeper
• Commissioner (peacekeeper)
• Host

How Was Talk To Me Created?


Early in my teaching career, I saw the lack of emphasis placed on building math language skills as a problem that might be best addressed by creatively demonstrating the prevalence, importance, and sheer beauty of language to math teachers and students.

To accomplish this, in 2003 I created a game called
Talk To Me to promote the creative and systematic development of students’ verbal command of subject-specific language via an educational, entertaining game. I created and tested early versions of the game as classroom manipulatives that augmented each of the subjects I taught as a roving high school instructor and long-term substitute.

The name Talk To Me was coined during an early test of the game. A frantic clue giver was frustrated by opposing team members distracting her team members by purposely giving them the wrong answers. During a stoppage in play, she admonished her teammates to "Talk to me ... do not worry about him or them ...". That moment symbolized the awareness I wanted to promote to math teachers and students – that building language skills and learning to communicate effectively were critical components in mastering all subjects, but especially in math.


How Can I Play Talk To Me?

  1. Talk To Me (General Math Edition) - Teach the Language of Math! (130-card "print-it-yourself" set)
  2. Using "Talk To Me" To Teach The Language of Math! (FREE 24-page teacher guide to using Talk To Me in the classroom)

Please share your thoughts on these "Big Ideas" and best practices by leaving comments below. Email us or follow us on Twitter @dbrowndbrown to submit your own "Big Ideas" and best practices!

 
Copyright © 2012 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Big Ideas About Technology & Learning: 3 Ways To Use Google Mail (GMail)




Google Docs is an application that allows users to create and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with all school stakeholders (students, parents, faculty & staff, administration, board, and community).

Google Forms is an application that allows users to create forms (interactive documents that facilitate data collection). All data entered into the form is automatically entered into a downloadable spreadsheet!

Google Calendar is an application that facilitates the efficient managing and sharing of events.

Google Mail (GMail) is a multi-faceted communication tool. Do not be misled by its simple user interface! Beneath it are a rich set of functions that allow you to accomplish ...

  1. Bilingual Parent Communication. Use Gmail's Translate feature to communicate with parents in different languages.
  2. Global Writing Projects. Establish pen pals for your students in other states or countries, and use the Translate feature to let them correspond!
  3. Internal Email Addresses. Establish school-based email addresses for all stakeholder groups (Administration, Faculty, Staff, Board, Students - even Parents) to effect spam-free, virus-free communication and file exchanges.

To Learn More ...
  1. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Slide Presentation - 54 Slides)
  2. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Professional Development Webinar - 58 minutes, 52 seconds)
Please share your thoughts on these "Big Ideas" and best practices by leaving comments below. Email us or follow us on Twitter @dbrowndbrown to submit your own "Big Ideas" and best practices!
 
 
Copyright © 2012 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Big Ideas About Technology & Learning: 5 Ways To Use Google Calendar



Google Docs (see overview) is an application that allows users to create and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with all school stakeholders (students, parents, faculty & staff, administration, board, and community).

Google Forms is an application that allows users to create forms (interactive documents that facilitate data collection). All data entered into the form is automatically entered into a downloadable spreadsheet!

Google Calendar is an application that facilitates the efficient managing and sharing of events. Imagine being able to easily manage the following scheduling tasks ...

  1. Shared School Calendars. Create district, testing, grade level, and leadership calendars - and share them all with appropriate stakeholders.
  2. Check-Out Calendars. Manage your school's shared resources like field trip vans, media center equipment (books, projectors, computers, cameras, etc). Know who has what at all times!
  3. Standards Mapping. Teachers with common subjects can all align their course standards with projected dates of completion..
  4. Pacing Guides. Teachers with common subjects can stay abreast of each team members' pace with respect to completing their standards maps.
  5. Using Appointment Slots for Office Hours. Administrative staff will especially find it handy to allow the efficient scheduling of appointments during designated office hours.

To Learn More ...
  1. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Slide Presentation - 54 Slides)
  2. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Professional Development Webinar - 58 minutes, 52 seconds)
Please share your thoughts on these "Big Ideas" and best practices by leaving comments below. Email us or follow us on Twitter @dbrowndbrown to submit your own "Big Ideas" and best practices!
 
 
Copyright © 2012 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Big Ideas About Technology & Learning: 5 Ways To Use Google Forms




Google Docs (see overview) is an application that allows users to create and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with all school stakeholders (students, parents, faculty & staff, administration, board, and community).

Google Forms is an application that allows users to create forms (interactive documents that facilitate data collection). All data entered into the form is automatically entered into a downloadable spreadsheet!

Imagine being able to collect data efficiently in the following ways, then having the time to analyze, synthesize, and strategize about how to use the resulting information ...

  1. Formative and Summative Assessments. Create a "warmup" problem to give at the beginning of class, then edit it during class to provide at mini-quiz - at the end of the same class.
  2. Survey Students. Create student inventories that allow you insight to their character, personality, and temperament. Use this knowledge to build productive relationships with your students!
  3. Teacher or Student Observations. Collect observation data into a spreadsheet that is ready to analyze as soon as observations are completed.
  4. Online Reading Record. Track your students' reading activity efficiently.
  5. Tracking Discipline Referrals. Allow all faculty and staff members to submit referrals into a centralized database. Eliminate lengthy, handwritten referrals that must be filed.

To Learn More ...
  1. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Slide Presentation - 54 Slides)
  2. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Professional Development Webinar - 58 minutes, 52 seconds)
Please share your thoughts on these "Big Ideas" and best practices by leaving comments below. Email us or follow us on Twitter @dbrowndbrown to submit your own "Big Ideas" and best practices!
 
 
Copyright © 2012 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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