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!