What you see above are my multimedia tools: a document camera, a Surface RT, a VGA Manual Switch Box, along with speakers, cords, and adapters. Slowly my class is taking shape according to my grand design. The benefit of the switch box is that it allows me to “switch” effortlessly between the document camera and the Surface RT. No longer do I have to walk over to connector box in the wall behind my desk and switch plugs.
By the way, the “Brem” on the masking tape is that of Mr. Brem, who no longer needed the cart and let me snag it for my room.
Keeping students abreast of what’s going on in the classroom is incumbent upon us as teachers. This year I’m trying out two different methods of communication: (1) a color-coded agenda on the small whiteboard behind my desk, and (2) a digital iPhone pix uploaded to this blog. Either way, I should avoid hearing the question “What are we doing today?”
A student expressed surprise that I was the one who actually wrote on the board. She thought it looked too creative . . . well, at least colorful.
A fascinating aspect of the above television commercial is that what is read by a voice-over artist (New Zealander) is the text of “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost — and just the text, nothing else, for there’s an assumption that this one-hundred-year-old poem will be instantly recognizable to a general audience — no need to explain what the poem means or who wrote it — a fact unique to this twentieth-century poem.
I love the video’s interpretation, how we see the young man making the choice of the road “less traveled by” before his possible futures flash before us: walking along a railroad track and along a night road, hitchhiking, wading into the ocean, kissing a beautiful girl, tossing a duffle bag off a fire escape, working a fishing boat, crying, sleeping in a hotel room, sitting in a car with what might be his middle-aged self, laughing in a bus with an old man (his much older self?), eating while walking along another road. The series resolves into a scene with a different young man with his thumb out. A car picks him up, and we realize that the driver is the first man from the crossroads, now accompanied by a woman and small child. He smiles the smile of knowledge and experience. As the car pulls away into a golden landscape, the Ford logo appears on screen and we realize that we’ve been watching a commercial.
I spent some time the past two days rearranging the room. The new layout is something I’ve been planning to do awhile, but moving the projector and screen required approval from the district and was essential to getting everything angled just right. Now students can see the whiteboards and projector screen without turning or craning their necks.
My mantra this year is “Respect the Research.” Now my students, none of whom saw this wonderful movie over the summer, will know where I got the phrase. And, yes, this is my favorite movie so far this year.
My original conception of Common Core Grammar fit nicely on my home-office whiteboard. I hope it’ll help my students understand the importance of planning their writing. In order to write something as organized and structured as the book I ended up with, one has to begin with a map of where to go.