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Myra's First Two Days Back at School

I am looking forward to my two first days of school.

The first day I return is a work day for teachers. I enjoy listening to all of the news that is presented that day such as the new babies and new marriages that have occurred. My principal is now using PowerPoint so he can incorporate the pictures of all of the events, as well as new staff members. We will then move on to meetings. I haven't figured out why it is referred to as a work day because I never seem to have time to work in my classrooms.

What I consider my second first day of school is the first day of student attendance. I am also looking forward to this day. I am planning on using Alice/Media Computation in my A.P. Computer Science A class this year and I am excited. The enrollment is down this year, the first time since I have been teaching this class, so I am hopeful that using this curriculum will help boost enrollment and student understanding.

Last year I had used a CMS in my computer classes and I want to continue using a CMS this year. However, I am running into some snags. I used Angel CMS last year which was offered free through the county office of education. This year, I recently discovered that they plan on charging which will cost about $180. With the budget crisis in California, I know my school won’t be able to pay for it. I had hoped to set up a Moodle server, but the school server I was going to use has been loaned to our district office. With the first day of school a little over 2 weeks away, I am not sure what I am going to do yet, but I am sure I will figure something out.

I have several new strategies I want to use with my Trigonometry classes. I attended a session at NECC that incorporated technology into a Trigonometry class. I plan to use some of those ideas this year to make trig more visual using Flash and Geometer’s Sketchpad. In addition, during the Alice/Media computation workshop, Steve Cooper demonstrated an Alice project that would be perfect for my trig class. It involved planets, ellipses and parameters. This will be a great way to introduce parameters to my students. They never seem to understand why a parameter is needed. Another piece of technology that I want to try with my trig students is blogs. I read about using a blog on Mr. Higgins' Blog in a math class. He has a different student post their class notes each day for other students to review. I would like to try that this year.

I hope that I can apply all of the ideas I plan to this year. I know they will benefit my students.

Myra Deister
CSTA Board Member

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