TJMS Staff Newsletter

Technology and LRC

LRC Update

With MAP testing winding down, we once again look forward to book check out in the LRC! If you would like to set up a time for your whole class to come to the LRC next week, please email Shari Neyens or Samantha Hancock to schedule that time. Please encourage students to return any books they checked out before MAP tests if they have not renewed them. In addition, if you are looking for computer lab time, check out our Meeting Room site. There you can see if the date and time you would like is open for your use. If it is, please email Shari Neyens or Samantha Hancock and we will schedule you into the system.

Also, Tuesday, April 30th is the district Battle of the Books. One team from each grade will be participating in the battle at the Forum from 9:30-Noon. You will receive an email noting the students who will be participating later this week. Thank you to all teachers who encouraged student participation in the Battle!

TJ TechBytes

It is no secret that I am extremely excited about the addition of computer labs to our school next year! As we work toward 21st Century teaching and learning in our building, here are a few websites that you many want to check out right away and then maybe use more in-depth next year.

With Scribble Maps, you can draw, write, or add images or special markers on Google Earth images.

WeVideo is a free site that allows you to create, edit, and share videos like a pro! The "We" part in WeVideo means that you can collaborate on a video with anyone you invite! So if you are working on creating a video, you can request that others log into your video and work with you to create your final product which can then be downloaded or shared via Facebook or WeVideo's own sharing site. If you viewed the Jefferson Recycling video last week, I created it using WeVideo!

At the staff meeting last week, you may remember that we were using Today's Meet as a backchannel (which is a way to organize side discussions as they occur or to view questions instantly during a lesson or meeting). While Today's Meet works well with adults (well-behaved adults!) Backchannel Chat is a little different as it allows for a little more control and may be a easier to keep out unwanted comments from the classroom backchannel. Backchannel Chat gives the teacher the option to make students read-only (they can read but not post), you can remove participants, and also track student posts. It is safe to use as it does not collect student data; however, it does let them choose an avatar (fun!). Lastly, Backchannel Chat has a profanity filter to keep out anything that is less than desirable from a classroom backchannel.

Finally, many teachers completed our online Edmodo Basics training over the last six weeks. If you are interested in learning the basics of Edmodo and were not able to participate in the training, contact me and I will send you the course. You can continue through the course at your leisure or just stop by and see me in the LRC! I'd be more than happy to give you an overview of Edmodo and the positive effects it can have in your classroom.

Meet the New Staff!

Jesse Stoltz

This is my second year as a teacher. I taught high school at Tri-State Christian School in Galena, Illinois. I am the house 7-1 special education teacher. I love being able to teach in a school that I used to attend as a student! My sister Jordan got a job at Irving as a Para-Professional Educator and loves working in the teaching profession as well. My hobbies outside of school include watching and playing sports, working out, eating food, reading, hanging out with friends, listening to music, and enjoying a good movie or show.

Betsy Pelkey

How many years have you been a teacher?

This is my first year teaching.

What do you do at TJMS?

I teach 7th grade science and social studies.

What do you like best about TJMS?

The AC… haha. I like the staff and how supportive everyone has been.

Do you have a pet?

I have a dachshund named George.

What do you like to do in your time away from school?

Outside of school I like to run, garden, and read.

Just For Fun :)

You might be a 21st century teacher if…

  • You think of clouds as good things.
  • You check twitter for news. And only twitter.
  • The blogosphere is more relevant a term than the stratosphere.
  • You spent more this year on iPad peripherals than you have pencils and pens.
  • You hate Wikipedia.
  • You begged your school accountant for an iTunes card instead of your annual classroom fund.
  • Have actually used the phrase “digital citizenship” in a sentence with a straight face.
  • You’re screwed if the internet goes down during a lesson.
  • You love YouTube.
  • You forgot what chalk does to your skin. (We wish!)
  • Flipping the classroom is an instructional strategy rather than a method of classroom management.
  • Your students facebook friend request you, and won’t take the hint.
  • You text other teachers during meetings.
  • You think school should be out on Steve Jobs’ birthday.
  • You trade rooms with another teacher for a better Wi-Fi signal—and don’t tell them why.
  • Students blame passwords and log-in issues rather than the dog for eating their homework.
  • Your students have to explain certain technologies to you, but you pretend you already knew.
  • Your computer clock replaced the clock on the wall.
  • You seriously consider that if it’s not being talked about on twitter, it may not have happened.
  • You’ve spoken more recently with the tech leader in Mumbai than the new 10th grade Math teacher down the hall.
  • You always truly believe there’s an app for that.