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February 2012

January 2012

Bullying



It's funny how you learn as much as your students sometime when you teach.

We are working hard to stop bullying in the classroom and yes, most of the time bullying in the classroom occurs because students are insecure.

The part that gets me, is how much bullying I see in outside the classroom, among adults.

Also it gets to me, pretty badly, but the nice thing is I can talk about it with students and we all learn together. 

Sent from my Windows Phone


How to get things for your classroom and your students

Though I am a bit afraid to share, since there is only so much money to go around and so many things needed… and this is the basis of a talk I have proposed for an upcoming conference.

Donor’s choose at http://www.donorschoose.com is a great way to get small items for your classroom.  I started out asking for XBox Controller’s and have graduated to netbooks and XBox’s. 

Here’s how Donor’s Choose works:

  • Sign up and get initial points.  Since I am doing Game Programming, I asked for XBox controllers.  It took a few months but I got donations and got them.
  • Once you get a project funded, you get the item, and then you have acknowledge the award.
    • They want pictures of the items being used.
    • Signed permission slips from the students.
    • Thank you letters.
  • Once you’ve done the above, you can get more points.

Couple of hints: 

  • Make your projects as small as possible. I find it easier to get Netbooks funded than it is for Notebooks. BTW, Netbooks are great for programming NXT Robots, with RobotC.
  • Go back to your old projects so you don’t have to write everything from scratch.  Each project gets easier to write and to fund.
  • Be creative in your writing.  Keywords are low income, minority, etc.  Also, my Game Programming and my Robots projects are hits with the techies.

I’ve also received several grants and have been on the evaluation end of a yearly reward given by my district.  To get a grant, work on it in pieces, don’t try to do it all at once.  If you need letters of recommendation, write the letter for the other person, email them and let them tweak it.  That’s makes it easier for them and lets them focus on the aspect you need for the grant or the award.

The biggest thing when filling out any form, is to give them only what they need and make it as clear and succinct as possible.  The reader will glaze over after the third sentence. 

In the past few years, I’ve gotten the following:

    • TI Teaching Fellow and Innovative Teacher in STEM (first year it was awarded)
    • 2 grants from the Texas Workforce Commission for Robotics
    • 1 grant from the Junior League
    • 11 projects from Donor’s Choose
    • 1 student so far – Dallas Maverick’s Co-Captain

The biggest thing – FOLLOW AND READ DIRECTIONS!


Latest Mission

Well, it’s a series of missions, objective is to increase the number of students taking Computer Science at my school.  There is an ulterior motive.

We are planning a Dallas ISD District Open House for Computer Science, at Townview, Wednesday night, on February 22, from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.  We will have tables set up for Dallas ISD teachers, local universities and college, and local employers.  If you would like a table, email me at kweaver at dallasisd.org

It’s been approved by the district, still finalizing the facilities.


Two of my good ideas

We had staff development and I said two things that were positivity acknowledged so I’ll mention them here.

  • Always take home the positive things that happen at school and leave the bad ones behind.  If nothing else, it will help YOUR attitude.

 

  • The second was about our advisory period – it would be much more effective if we kept the same subset of kids each year.  I know there will be reasons we lose kids and have to add kids to the group, but if at least 50% were the same, I think it would make a difference.

Advisory is a 1/2 class period where we are supposed to be working with kids and making a different, and I think if we could build a long term relationship it would really help. 

We’re doing a book study of “Teaching with Poverty in Mind”, and relationship building is mentioned often in that book.