Sunday, February 9, 2014

Whats happening in my little corner of the world....

Well, there have been a lot of things going on since my last post. I have finally come to terms that my students behavior is not going to get any better if I keep doing what I have been doing. This is changing everyday.

A few things have happened since my last post and one of those was I was observed for the final time this year. This observation was moved back a couple of times because of the snow and cold weather. I was overly worried about this observation because the students had been acting like a caged animal that was just released. I was surprised that they were acting exceptional for their normal behavior. I did, however, have one student who decided to take it upon themselves to act out and be off task for most of the class period.

Whats going on in 7th Grade:
1. Students just finished up a short Microscope Unit
          * Finally got to use the microscopes I wrote a grant for at the beginning of the year.

2. Students are currently in the middle of a Measurement Unit
          * Trying to help out the math teacher and get this covered.

3. Going to start an Ecology Unit soon
          * Hatching eggs with the Kindergartens

Whats going on in 8th Grade:
1. Finishing up the Reteach Unit on Plate Tectonics
          * Feels like its taking for every and that is because all of the snow days

2. Going to have some guest soon
          * Tech Coach is coming to visit on Monday to help teach Kids Blog
          * I was asked if I would allow other teachers to come in to the room and see what I was doing    with Google Drive and Kids Blog.
          * I created an ITunes U course for the review day that consist of Google Forms, a Responder Scavenger Hunt and Create Your Own Assessment Blog

3. Going to start a Weather PBL soon
          * Creating an ITunes U Course for the students to use during this unit
          * Students are going to be blogging and creating a weather broadcast

So much going on.......


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Teaching in January

I labeled this blog "Teaching in January" because that is what I am doing currently. That makes no since but if you have every taught in January then you know it is one of the hardest months to teach in; well it is for me. I am so burned out that it is unbelievable that I make it to school the days we actually have school. I go though and not for any other purpose then to prove to myself that this month will be over and my urge to teach will come back. I switched my career paths in college because I did not want to be shut up in a basement somewhere doing lab test. I wanted to get out and share my knowledge and love of learning with someone.

Many things have happened since my last post and I am sorry that I have not posted before now.

First, I had to go back and reteach the Earth's systems and Earth's Place in the Universe Unit. I had the students complete a Prezi, most students loved it, and it was a major fail. In grading their projects over Christmas break I found that not many of the students understood what each term was and how they were related. I sat down with our awesome instructional coach and worked on reteach unit that was supposed to take 3 weeks and now has moved back because of the snow days. Regardless, we are moving on and finishing up the unit. This unit includes four squares, foldables, smelly eggs, graham crackers, homework and various other activities. I gave a pre-assessment to judge what knowledge that my students retained from last quarter's projects and the results where not very exciting. I expected it. The students just had their first quiz of the reteach unit and I have to say that it seems like they are retaining more information.

This is where I sometimes wish I taught one grade of Science and not two because then I would feel like I can focus more on the grade then being divided between two. However, I do like seeing the growth from year to year that my students have.

Last quarter I started using menus with the 7th graders. I found that a lot of my students have no organization skills at all. They think that once they get something back they do not need it anymore, which is not true, so I started making them keep folders with all of their information in it. I need to get back to that. The only problem with menus is that I have to make so many copies. I did do an interactive notebook but I need to step this up more this quarter.

There are so many different aspects of teaching that they do not tell you about in preparation of becoming a teacher. I do not know if they can really tell you everything. I have to keep this in mind when I am teaching my students. You can only do so much as a teacher and you have to rely on what other people do and say in order to feel the student is prepared for the next grade.

Going to make an effort to blog weekly. Setting a reminder!!!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Visitation Madness!!!!

Well today was my visitation day. The goal of today was to see how other teachers were integrating iPads and other various pieces of technology into their classrooms. During my visitations I visited Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Durfee Technology Magnet School.

Here is where my day begun.....

Made it to school five minutes later than I wanted to this morning but it was okay because we were still a little early by the time we (as in Mrs. Edwards(MOST AMAZING TECH COACH) and I) made it to TJ to meet with our first teacher of the day, Matt Grossman. During our visit we watched the students do the "I do, we do and you do" process. The students were working through a couple of different apps. First they were instructed to import a document from Dropbox into Goodnotes. Then the students were able to do annotate their work on the document. The first class of students was working on exponents and then the next two classes were working on like variables.


1. I need cases and stylist for my iPads.

2. I need to restructure the way my apps are organized on my student’s iPads.

3. Students need to model more of the problems that we work on in class.

4. Since of respect

Next we were leaving TJ to head to our next stop, Durfee Technology Magnet School and I get a phone call and a couple of text. I do not have a sub!! Of course I am starting to freak out, so I call the school to find out what happened to the sub we had lined up on Friday. Well, something happened in the computer and the sub was never approved. Well, when I was phone with one of our sectaries a sub accepted the job and was going to be in 30 minutes. This fact saved my day because if a sub was not found then I had to return to school. Which would not have been an ideal situation but I would have done it regardless. We stopped and got some tea and coffee to discuss our morning’s observations. Then grabbed lunch and headed to our next stop.

Now we are at Durfee Technology Magnet School and in McKearn's class. During this class students were working on several different tasks throughout the day. First the students were going over an assignment from the previous day and their scores. The students were told why they received the score they did on the assignment and why through a rubric. Next the students were instructed to pull out their notes from a previous day on their interview. They are currently working on college/career research. They had done four interviews and they had more to come. For the interviews they were using Skype. During class the students were using several apps/pieces of technology and they were notepad, edmodo, blogger, and apple TV. When we came back after recess we saw the students be given an assignment on the circulatory system. The students have been learning how blood travels through the body and today they had to create a story board. They are creating a first person story about a blood cell and its travel experience through the body. The next step after they create their story board is turn it into a comic strip using the app Comic Life.


1. All students engaged in learning experience.

2. Classroom atmosphere had a very community feel to it.

3. Very integrated units. No set block of time for one subject.

4. Students knew exactly what was expected of them and behaviors were directed in a positive way.

5. Students working at their own pace.

During the time that these students were at specials and recess we visited two other classrooms. The first class was Mrs. Pritts 2nd Grade Classroom. During this part of the observation I saw students working independently and in groups. Students were working on an Educreations slide show based off their story boards on horses. During the time the students who were not finished previously worked on their presentation the other students sat and listened to a Mrs. Pritts tell a story. After this block of time was over the students all were called to the rug. They listened and sang along with a video about odd and even numbers.

Next we ventured into a Walker's room. This is where I experienced iTunesU for the first time. Now I am a little obsessed with the app. I am looking into getting a mac book so that I may have safari to be able to create my own. I think this is the avenue I was heading with my 8th grade students.

I know this is a little late but I have been overly busy these last few days.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Long awaited UPDATE!!!!

Well, I have not blogged in a long time and there has been so many things taking place I do not know where to start. 

First, the students have been working on the Gen 1's almost daily. There have been days that we have not gotten them out due to the lab we were doing or like today I went back through all of their notes that we have taken up to this point. Reteach, reteach, reteach...... 

Second, speaking of notes I have been posting notes into Google Drive and having the students take them off of the iPad. Currently, I was talking through the notes as they copy them off their iPad but this is not as effective as I would have liked. So, today I had to back track and reteach them. I wanted to make sure the students understand the key concepts of the unit. The nice thing about the way my notes are structured is that each presentation is a chapter. Most of the presenations are between 4 to 10 slides long. 

Third, I and the students have made it through my first observation of the year. The students were working on a Venn Diagram on two concepts that we learning about at the time. The first part of the assignment was to create a list of six facts about each term. The next part was to teach the students about Educreations. They had to create a smiley face and write their name. I then taught them how to upload the screen shot to Google Drive. The next day was my observation and the students had to create a Venn Diagram in Educreations, take a screen shot of it and then upload it to Google Drive. There were good and bad things about this project. One bad thing was the fact I forgot to tell them that they only needed 3 facts for each category instead of 6.

Fourth, I am trying to make sure that I have not forgot anything related to iPads and I know I have. So, I created a meeting with my wonderful tech coach. I also apologized for not getting in touch sooner. 

Now its time to rework my units and get them mapped out...again. I am also very excited about creating fossils and doing an elemental baby book. The students love getting the iPads out and they ask every day if they are getting to use them. They also get very excited when other students are gone and you can probably guess why when you find out I only have 20 Gen 1's and my class sizes range from 22 to 27 students. One down side is that the stands I bought are not actually made for the an iPad but they work for what we need right now. I also wish we had key boards but right now the students are making due with the iPad. Please do not take this as me complaining about them because I am extremely thankful for the iPads and what changes they have brought to my classroom and my students. 

So, this is some of the things that I have done and have had happen to me since my last post. This is not all either and more is coming. 

More coming soon...... 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Exciting and Scary Times Ahead....Are You Ready for the Ride????

Well, the Gen 1's have arrived and are waiting on my training, as well as the students training, before they are going to be used in the classroom. I am only getting 20 and my classes have 28 students in them but this will work. I have students who I know I can pair and work really well together. Next task ahead of me is to create an Edmodo Lesson Plan for our silent day coming up. The students however this week have been working in Google Drive on Presentations on the different types of Scientist. Most students cannot get over the fact they do not have to hit save. They are learning how to navigate the web and also Google itself.  It awesome to see changes already in my some of my students but other students are still a work in progress. Now its time to start really planning all of my activities so that I can get them started. 

Year Goal: Gen 1 Project: Develop critical thinking, 21st century skill, self-paced learners. 
Weekly Goal: Grade Presentations and Create Edmodo Lesson Plan 
Today's Goal: Go to bed its almost midnight..... :) 

Also, planning an independent study for one of my students. Hope for the best. :) 

Changes are here...........

Ashley Keeling 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013



Well this last couple of weeks I have been waiting to see if and when I will retrieve my Gen 1's and the wait may be over soon. I am super excited and surprised that I am getting them so early. Even though I would have loved to start the year off with them but I understand the stress that our IT and Technology Departments deal with in our district. Every year has its own set of problems. 

School started last Wednesday and I have been learning my students as well as relearning some of my 8th grade students. This is no easy task because I still cannot pronounce some of their names correctly. During this process we have done a Google Drive Training and during this training we taught the students about Google drive. The students learned how to log in, create a folder, create a doc, and share that doc with me. Tomorrow the student will start their work on their Super Scientist Google Presentation, which is a small research project that we are going to start the year with. This project is also what we are going to use for our "Quiet Days" or "Silent Days". Our first trial run is this Friday and only for 5 minutes. The only means of communication is through Google Drive or Edmodo. I am interested to see how the students do, I mentioned it to them today. 

Well my every growing to do list keeps getting longer on top of the Gen 1 Process to do list I have. I hope for a smooth process but I know that will not happen. Learning to go on the fly but still keep control is a goal of mine this year because I know nothing new is easy and if you want it to work then you have to deal with the lows. 

Change is here.......

Ashley Keeling 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Curriculum Work.....OH MY!


Well the last few days I have been working side-by-side with my colleges in the Science department of District 61. We have been remapping the curriculum to fit the new common core science standards, also know as Next Generation Science Standards. This has been a long process but a good one. I understand what is expected of my students and myself. Being able to work with my colleges allows for collaboration across the district. This has helped with me with my planning for this years activities. This has also helped me to set a foundation for what I plan on doing this year in my classroom.

Once notes are created and activities are found it is time to put all of that into Google Drive. I am still working on my list from my previous post but it is a work in progress. If you can map out your curriculum for an entire year and have the assessments to go along with it, then it allows for a smoother process. Many of my changes will not only be in how I deliver my curriculum but also in my classroom management style. I am interested to see how the students react to this years classroom but as long as I stick to it then there should be no problem.

Changes are coming.....

Ashley Keeling