Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Using Edmodo for a Socratic Seminar

We conducted a Socratic Seminar on Friday with a special tool:

A Socratic Seminar is a text-based discussion.  So I reminded my students of these things before we began:

TO DO: Read the text, underline, circle, highlight things you think are important or that you do not understand. Write at least one question on the handout for class on Friday.

I will be choosing captains (facilitators) to lead the groups based on your questions and annotation of the text.

Link to the text: Pericles - Funeral Oration

Looking forward to seeing how it goes on Friday.

Some things to consider:
Listen actively.
Build on what others say.
Expose/suspend your assumptions.
Do not step on other’s talk. Silences and pauses are OK.
Emphasize clarification, amplification, and implications of ideas.
Converse directly with each other, not through the facilitator.
Let the conversation flow without raising hands, as much as possible.
Make references to the text and encourage others to do the same.
Watch your air time for how often you speak and how much you say when you speak.
Question 1—Agreement: Which parts of the text do we agree with in terms of our work?
Question 2—Aspiration: Which parts of the text do we aspire to or want to work toward?
Question 3—Alignment: What is the current reality, and what is the gap between where we are and our aspirations?”
Question 4—Adjustments: What needs to be done for us to succeed?

Debrief (5 Minutes). When everyone has spoken, the facilitator closes the discussion about the text and poses the following questions for open discussion:
· What did we learn?
· What new insights did we gain as result of this protocol?
· What worked well?
· Did we follow the protocol? If not, why?
· How could the process be improved?

Here is my debrief after it was all finished:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Classroom - It'll be fun tomorrow

[originally posted on my personal blog on 8/23/09]
This is going to be a great year.

This is my classroom for the new year. Tomorrow these seats will be filled (38 in my 6th period will do that!).  I am so excited about seeing the new students that I will meet for the first time. And I am even more excited about seeing my former students and how much they have grown.

A look as you walk through the door. I am lucky to be back in the corner. Most people leave me alone. If you come through my door, well... you meant to do it. :)

I moved my desk to the back this year. I had it along that window there last year. It was hard to see the computer monitor and this gets more kids in the front of the class. I think that's a psych ploy by me to make them think they are better students. :)

Closer look at my desk. :)

A look at the front of the room. I am going to do more work with me teaching from the board this year. I know, old school. But, the kids get tired of power points and projections. We are going to add a little more light this year. :)

You can see my "Target Board" on the left side. It's where I post our learning targets, agenda, and notes to my 3 preps. Above the board are college pennants, hopefully reminding them of why we are learning what we are learning. This year I added a cut out of the Geiko "Money you would be saving if you switched to Geiko."  I'll call it, "Money you could be saving if you prepare for a college education."

Our beautiful school. We are so lucky to call it home. Go Eagles!

Wishing a good first day to all the teachers and students out there.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Welcome Back - 1st Day of Instruction

[originally posted on my personal blog at the beginning of 09/10 school year]
The sun rises on a brand new year. This is the video that I will show on Monday to my World History Pre-AP classes. It started as a "Rules Video" a few years ago. This gives me an opportunity to show the kids some of my expectations for the year w/o talking like Charlie Brown's teacher for 50 minutes.

We had a lot of fun with Aidan and the green screen towards the end of the video. There are some neat outtakes at the end.

2009_10_1stDayVideo_WH from Mr. Duez on Vimeo.

2009_10_1stDayVideo_WH from Mr. Duez on Vimeo.
Our first day video for World History Pre-AP.  What will class be like?  What will we study?  What are our rules?

The video isn't perfect, but I think it sets a tone for a hopefully GREAT school year. Welcome back.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cornell Notes & Philosophical Chairs

Today and tomorrow I am a presenter in my district for AVID Path Training in Social Studies.  Basically it's two days of time with middle and high school teachers to present 'best teaching practices' to them.  The great thing about the training is that we actually 'do' and model the work.

Today we focused on topics like Using Poetry, Cornell Notes, Jigsawing, Quick Writes, and Philosophical Chairs.  Two things jump out to me and seemed to be significant.  First, teachers really appreciate well-prepared and on task professional development.  A teacher stopped me and my partner about an hour in and announced how excited he was that this training was going so well.  He has been through three professional development experiences this summer and was stunned that we were on the ball.  It was great to see how appreciative he and others were.

The other thing that stood out was how two techniques went over well with the teachers.  The first was Cornell Notes.  It may have been the best and most clearly designed Cornell Notes lesson that I have taught.  (I might finally be getting the hang of this thing)  Here is the power point that I used to introduce C Notes:
AVID HISTORY PATH:  Cornell Notes  

At the end of the power point, I distributed a sample of US History Cnotes with a grading rubric on the flip side.  Then I had each of the participants grade it for themselves.  Then we did "4 Corners" and had the teachers go to an A, B, and C corner (There were no Ds).  After discussing it in their corner group, one person presented the faults they had with the notes.

This was a wonderful way of emphasizing with the teachers what good note taking is and how they could do this with their students to impart just how to take notes and what the teacher is looking for.  I think it went over very well.

Also we did a wonderful Philosophical Chairs debate.  The teachers got into it.  The first thing I did was show my power point on PChairs to introduce the rules:
AVID HISTORY PATH:  Philosophical Chairs PPT  

Then we modeled Philosophical Chairs with this question:
Should the "Cash for Clunkers" program be continued by Congress?
The debate was split in 1/2 and was very lively, but well mannered.  I think the teachers got a great feel for just how they can use it.

I am looking forward to presenting Engaging the Text, Document-Based Questions, Free Response Questions and Socratic Seminar tomorrow.  This has been a wonderful group to work with.  I can't believe that school starts in less than 2 weeks!

Friday, July 10, 2009

School Pride

Today it was really great to meet up with Egypt again from MissTeacha. She has been in town this week for an AP World History institute at Rice. Norma has been there all week as well for Economics AP. We had a chance to have dinner with her earlier in the week, but today she came up to Kingwood to see the house, our school and have some chinese food with us.

Aidan just loved being with her. She is so kind, nice and warm. He just really loved having her at the house.

We had a chance to drive down to the high school and it was open because of summer school, but all the kids had left. So we walked through it to show her the school. My classroom was open, so she had a chance to check it out.

I know the school is special. It's beautiful. But, you take it for granted when you work there and you see it every day. But, the look on Egypt's face and the "Wow," that kept coming out of her mouth reminded me... I need to remember how lucky I am to teach at this school. Both Norma and I have to count our blessings. We've taught in many different schools and AHS is by far the best.

So tonight I'm feeling fortunate. Fortunate to have had a chance to meet and spend some time with Egypt. Very fortunate to have this wonderful life that I have. I must have someone looking out for me!

Pictures from our very first year at the school:
AHS Open Nest

A brief video that shows some of our AHS pride/culture:

1_Introduction: AHS 2007-2008 Video Intro from Mr. Duez on Vimeo.
This is the introduction I used for the year end videos in my World History Classes.

2007-2008! It was great.

Our Alma Mater video that I created:

AHS Alma Mater 2007 from Mr. Duez on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reflections on the 2008 - 2009 School Year

[item originally posted on my personal blog on 6/20/09]

I asked my World History classes to reflect on their school year.  Here is what they answered to the first question:

Mr. Duez's World History Pre-AP Class - End of the Year Reflection
What were the best activities or assignments of the year? Why?  (Things you enjoyed doing)                          
[examples:  projects - rock art, religion pstrs, castles, human rights posters, video project, career project; or cnn student news, philosophical chairs, socratic seminar, trench warfare.]

Video Project = 40
Castle Project = 33
Philosophical Chairs = 15
Rock Art Project = 13
CNN Student News = 12
Trench Warfare = 12
Human Rights Poster = 8

It's very interesting looking at these numbers.  Obviously our Video Project ( see the Video Project Blog here ) had a huge impact.  It is great to see that the kids enjoyed it.

The Castle Project was a pretty close second.  This can be a massive project.  But, the students put a lot of creativity into it.  Many students commented negatively about this project as well (I'll run those numbers later).  And I may continue to tweak it to make it better and a situation where students might be able to learn more.

I only used Philosophical Chairs during the fall semester and Socratic Seminar during the spring.  I am going to change that up next year and mix them up more.  And I am going to use both more.  I think the numbers would have been higher if we would have done them more often.  It is just hard to turn things over to the class sometimes as a teacher.  The benefit is that they learn from each other in their own language and it is a powerful way to get ideas across.  I just have to plan and work harder to get these activities into the class better.

Trench Warfare was fun (as it always is).  We take two sheets of notebook paper, make balls out of them, divide the class into two teams - East and West (Germans and French) and have them fight it out in trenches.  The trenches are created by using the rows in the classroom.  It is fun and it does give the students a bit of a feeling of what it must have been like to hide, attack and maneuver through the trenches.

Here is the form I used for the survey (adapted from one that MissTeacha inspired me to use):
Year End Reflection-WH  

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The New Humanities

I just love this video. Found it on Karl Fisch's Fischbowl.

After you get past the introductory portion about the professors, there is real vision here. They imagine an English department of content creators using Web 2.0 technology and not just the typical, read and write papers curriculum. Fantastic imagination.

For my own personal classes, I consider this a great challenge: Get students ready for a world that is improving faster than schools can keep pace with and the pace will keep getting faster. So what can I do? Chip away at the process by starting students down the road of content creation.

In my 5th six week's period my students this year created videos and we showcased them on this site:

It is my hope that the students learn how to create content in a stronger way. And it is my hope that they can move people in a new direction. As they said in the Rutgers video - Content Creation, Creativity through the portal of connected and networked computers.

I am very lucky to have a technology background, but I do believe that any teacher can start down this road and improve it. When I first started my "Video Project" it was merely a power point project. But, as technology has changed we changed with it. And I learned as much from my students as I have passed on to them. That is so much fun for a teacher!

Teachers out there, this is the time - it's summer. Think outside the box and try to find ways to give your students a chance in this new world.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Appreciation Part II

Continuing with another letter of appreciation from a student. This one was handed to me in our main hallway (called "Main Street") as I was running to class the other day. The student stopped me and just had this big look in their eyes. He just said, "Mr. D. I wrote this for you, I mean every word of it and Thank You for everything this year." I was stunned. But, not as much as when I sat and read it.
Dear Mr. D,
Easily the greatest man I have ever met in my life. I envy the happiness that you have, the love you have for your wife, your son, your job, and every aspect of life. From what I can tell you must have had a difficult childhood, but you took the best out of it and became somebody important.

You never gave up on me no matter what, and to have you there saying I could do it was so helpful. The last few years for me have been rough, especially this year. For the career project when my group stood up and I said I wanted to be a lawyer and you commented that I could do it most definitely, well that almost brought me to tears.

You tell me that I have so much potential, well Mr. D. I will try to push through the bad and be all that I hoped to be and more. You are someone I look up to and hope that I will be like one day. Your son is so very lucky to have a father like you to grow up learning from. The world is a much better place with David D around. I know I would have been lost this year without you.

Whatever I do in this life I just hope that I can reach your level of happiness. I hope that one day I will be like you, Mr. D. I do not think there are words to express how I feel. All I can say is thank you for everything. I will not let you down, never change, and I will see you down the road.

I will never forget you or all that you have done for me Mr. D.

Your student

ps: One of my favorite all time quotes... it's really funny... "If it's free it's for me. If it's free, I'll take 3!" - DD
Kind of leaves (even me) speechless.

I put this on my blog for 2 reasons:

1) I hope some teacher somewhere reads this and realizes that you never know what kind of impact you can have on a student. Every day I come to work and try to be consistent and show passion for my job and build relationships as best I can with my kids. Sometimes we forget that what students are going through when they are not at school can be pretty tough. Being there for them is important. Never forget the impact you can have.

2) I hope Aidan reads this some day and understands why my job is important to me. I hope some day he realizes that a job is not just measured by a pay check. Sometimes the pay that isn't in the paycheck is priceless.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Appreciation Part I

I have had several notes of appreciation from students in the past week. They really have meant a lot to me. I am going to type a few out here, but they are not for me... really they are for Aidan. I want him to be able to see why I do what I do.

When I left technology and turned down a lot of money to come back and teach, I hoped I would have an impact. That's really part of the pay. Knowing that what you do for a profession has the chance to improve the lives of others means a lot to me.

So here goes, the first letter was from an AVID student that gave me a Starbucks gift card for my birthday a few weeks ago. I know she probably can't afford to give me a gift card so it really meant a lot that she'd spend any amount of money towards something for me. She is a special young lady. All As in her classes. And she has 3 honors classes! So very proud of her.
This is for the most amazing teacher ever who never gives up on his students, is always there for anyone who needs help, and is an amazing role model. I thought this card would be perfect for you because I know you also long to see the world changed. Thank you for caring for us and may God bless you with an amazing birthday!
On the Starbucks card it said that money from purchases goes to support the Global Fund. She has the biggest heart and is always concerned about others. She wants to be a youth or childrens minister/pastor when she grows up. I think she'll be incredible at anything she chooses to do.

This was a letter that I got on that crazy Friday when we had a lock down on campus. This student has gone through a lot this year and it was the last full day of class. Everyone else was taking a test, but she was working on the quiz she missed a few days before. After she finished the quiz, she wrote this note and gave it to me. Then she asked if she could read it to the entire class. Of course we were all pretty emotional and stunned.
Mr. D, I've never really showed or have said how much I appreciate having you in my life. So I sit here and write to you. You've helped me in to understand that things in life come and go and sometimes there are road blocks along our path that we must break through. This year hasn't been the easiest, but the most worth while of my life. To be honest, I love my fifth period class and the adventures and journeys in here have been wonderful. It's come from not just the bottom, but through my whole heart to say you are THE GREATEST TEACHER on the face of the earth and probably the kindest most compassionate man I will ever come to know. I never knew that one person could change the outlook on the way I see life until I met you and I'm glad I did. I came into this year with very little self confidence and I am coming out strong and with pride and with so much confidence that I never knew I could have. So, I want to thank You Mr. D for teaching me not just what I can find in a book, but the things I will use for the rest of my life and with that I hold dear to my heart and go on to do something good with my life.
Stunning. It really gets to me, but I am just so happy that she is feeling better about herself.

So, Aidan... when you are old enough to finally read this on your own, "Pursue a job that isn't just a job... but something you are passionate about. Find the job that when you look at the clock on the wall, you hope it slows down because you have so much more to do today. Not the job where the clock on the wall is creeping along and you are hoping it could speed up until quitting time. It makes all the difference in the world."

[more tomorrow.]

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Graduation Day 2009

A picture from my cell phone cam. I had GREAT seats. Two rows back.

A beautiful day in Houston, Texas for our AHS graduation at Reliant Stadium. It was our second graduation ever... and it went off perfectly. Norma took some pictures from the stands. I was sitting on the floor with my advisory kids as they graduated. It was a neat feeling to be down there with them and able to share it with them. But, it was a LOT easier than last year when I had to read the White Community names as the kids crossed the stage. Talk about pressure.

Graduation is such a happy and sad mix. You are so proud and happy for what these kids have accomplished. But, you are so sad to see them moving on, yet it is exactly what must happen. The old make way for the new. We'll have a new group of freshmen on campus next year to take their place and the beat goes on. But, this was a very special group. They spent grades 10-12 at our new school and had come to us from the freshman campus. So they never spent any time at the old high school. They were 100% our kids. Next year will be the graduating of the first group to spend all 4 years with us. That will also be very special.

Here are a few pictures from the day:

Two of my seniors, they were so excited. Such great kids.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Video Project 09

I am really proud of the great work that my students did on their Video Projects. I have created a blog to showcase them:

Video Project 09

Let me know what you think.

On the blog I have posted video and text describing projects ranging from such topics as Vietnam to Genocide in Darfur. There are three primary areas that students could concentrate on for their project:

1) The Modern World - Issues or events past World War II and the Holocaust.
2) Africa - Issues and events concerning the citizens and development of the continent.
3) The Environment - Issues and events from Global Warming/Climate Change to Pollution.

Students have worked very hard on these videos. Not all of them are 100% perfect. There are some typos, awkward moments and a few factual inaccuracies. But, there is no questioning the merit of their efforts and their mission. Each student chose to work on a project that was important to them. It is evident in their passion for educating others and improving our world.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Life as a Mosquito

Today was a pretty cool day. My students have been working on their 5th Six Week's Video Project for about 5 weeks. They were itching to present them and to show the class. All were GREAT. It is amazing that they get better and better every year. But, technology and the human mind keeps advancing.

Don't let people convince you that kids get worse and more stupid every year. It is simply not true. I find that each year I teach the students are more engaged, philanthropic and have more of a sense of service to their community. I know people are going to read this and think I am diluted. It is simply my world and my observation and it is true of the students that I am very lucky to have.

Today at the end of one a video about Malaria (it kills a person in Africa every 30 seconds), the kids had a bit of fun:

The two students who were presenting had a message to the kids, donate to to help send nets to African families. $10 can get a net for a family. It saves lives.

Then they had a slide with a caption: "Because we all know mosquitoes are not as friendly as we think." (yep that's me. the class busted out laughing)

It made my day. I am a lucky teacher.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What Do Teachers Make?

I put this together for a training that we are doing in April. It's a bit of "Fresh Air" or an Ice breaker between parts of our training. It is called "What Do Teachers Make?" I adapted it from an email that made the rounds a few years ago. What do you think?

What Do Teachers Make What Do Teachers Make David Duez This is an icebreaker power point that I use for training teachers. Effective because of it's truth and simplicity. It was taken from an email that made the rounds a few years ago. I adapted it to power point form.

Note: I had no idea when I created this that it was an original poem created by Taylor Mali. He has a great story about it here: What Teachers Make - "Inspired Email Spam" versions
Original Poem here: What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali

Thanks to MsTeacher for pointing this out! Check out her awesome blog here

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Six Phases of Teaching

I put this together tonight. I'm going to show it as an "ice breaker" or "fresh air" during my 2 day AVID training next month. It was originally an email that was sent to me a bunch of times by teachers a few years ago. I converted it to a power point, but it really works better in a video.

What do you think?

Six Phases of Teaching from fordee on Vimeo.