Some great opportunities to get tech goodies for your classroom!  (Deadlines included.)

$1,000, free cameras: http://livegreen.discoveryeducation.com (May 15 — middle school only)

Whiteboards: http://smarterkids.org/research/details.asp (July 1)

Cash from Toshiba: http://www.toshiba.com/tafpub/jsp/home/default.jsp (August 1)


literature review, under construction

I continue to have trouble understanding the assignments in this course.  This seems to be related to the course’s online nature (and my own obtuseness).

First, I’m never really sure what’s due.  That’s my fault, for not reading the syllabus, or for not paying attention (or taking notes) when I do read it.  What is due tonight is a weekly check-in.  That’s what I’m doing right now.  However, I’ve received a grade so far for “timeline” and “pre-thesis.”  Do these count as check-ins for their respective weeks?  I doubt it.  Did I get credit for my prior check-ins?

Second, my grades for these two items were 10 and 40, respectively. That would seem to be a 100% (10 out of 10) and a 67% (40 out of 60) on these assignments.  67% is not acceptable, personally, but that isn’t the end of the story: the comment reads “a good start!”  Does that mean I’ll be getting more points here as I fill in the thesis?  I can’t really tell.

Unrelated to that, I got the good news this week that I’ve been accepted into the MA program.  Since I started working toward this degree, in Spring 2007, I was seeking and being given permission to take each course.  I was missing only my writing requirement.  I passed the WREE in February.  My status as a student in the MA program is one big thing I no longer have to worry about.

Research for the literature review continues.  I am spending too much time on the search, limiting the time I have to write.  This isn’t good, but it isn’t horrible, since I can write quickly.  (I had a six-year career as a journalist in my 20s.  I wrote a lot, and I occasionally was required to write single-draft copy extremely quickly.)

My next decision is how to break what I’ve found into three sections.  My paper will be on the use of an online classroom-participation system as a tool to enhance participation, and I believe I’ve identified section three: do we even need participation?  I’ve found an interesting article that questions the fundamental assumptions about this popular grading component.  I’ll look for other articles to support or refute the importance of classroom participation.

I’m not sure what sections one and two will be about.  Most likely one of them will be a survey of existing participation-tracking systems.  Maybe section one will be low-tech systems and section two will be high-tech systems.  I welcome suggestions here.

myCP online participation-tracking system

You can see the system here:


Use the “demo” link to see a display of some demo data using the software.  Thanks for any comments.

Preliminary Thesis (preliminary)

I am working with a project about which I have written nothing prior to this class, so most of my sections are empty or preliminary.  I believe this is what is expected of us.  I look forward to commentary from my classmates and Dr. Newberry.

The thesis is here.

Timeline development

I’ve cloned Dr. N’s model to use for my timeline. I’m pulling all the data into a table for neatness. His model is set up for a Winter 2009 graduation, which fits with my new schedule. (I had been planning on Spring 2009, but I think I could save a few bucks by graduating earlier. A couple weeks ago, I unexpectedly passed the WREE, which means one fewer class.)

I need to figure out which if any classes are offered in the summer.

I’m posting a link to the early draft of this timeline for comments before the deadline. Thanks for any feedback.

One of the difficulties I had with this assignment was defining the requirements.  First, there was no template to work from, so I thought I had to use my own imagination to determine the requirements. Then, Dr. N posted a template, which was so complete and so nearly matched my own foreseeable schedule that there was little I needed to do to change it.  The challenge then became: how much must I change this in order for it to be considered my own work?

Next, we haven’t been given addresses for each other’s blogs yet, so I haven’t been able to comment on others’ work or receive comments on my own.  I’m trying to be the official Class Pest this semester so I can avoid the heartache of an A- on my report card.  (Last quarter, my GPA dropped from a 3.921 to a 3.906. Sad but true.)  I’m pretty sure Class Pest role requires bugging classmates as well as teacher.


…like a mouse ear

Welcome to frogs have big heads, the blog of my 11 weeks in ETEC 644, with Dr. Brian Newberry at Cal State San Bernardino.

The title of this blog comes from an essay on amphibians by one of my wife’s students. The first paragraph goes like this:

Frogs have big heads — like a mouse ear.
Frogs have no necks — like the moon.

She loves working with 4th graders!

Newer entries »