Teacher Evaluation: The Eternal Conundrum

 

Teacher evaluation time is a headache for most school administrators. How to be fair? It’s definitely not a simple task.

When it comes to evaluating a teachers’ performance, the student factor is essential. After all, who is exposed to the teacher on a daily basis? At our school we use Google Forms to assess a teacher’s work. We’ve prepared a form that hopefully gathers all the components that will give us an idea of how well the teacher is performing. This questionnaire was prepared by the department heads along with some of the teaching staff. It’s quick and easy to administer.

Now, I believe that students should be able to prepare a questionnaire of their own. I think their form would be vastly different from our own. Why?  Because they see the teacher from a totally different perspective. But we should take into consideration how they feel a teacher should work. By combining the results of both questionnaires we should get a better picture of the teacher and her classroom. Don’t you agree? I’m going to give it try and see what happens. The findings should be enlightening! ~~LMMolina

Professional development: Blogging workshop

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Teacher Appreciation Week 2018: A Reflection

I wonder if students and the general public really appreciate the hard work and long hours most educators put in on a daily basis.  Not only the time spent but usually the materials and economic resources that come out of the personal pocketbook! Most do it out of love and a desire to do what’s best for their students, particularly those students who may not be in an ideal environment at home.

The satisfaction one gets when doing something worthwhile without getting anything back is priceless. I know that not every one may feel that way and that teachers get frustrated at times but that frustration vanishes when they see their students achieve worthwhile goals.

I look back when I was a student and wonder how many of my teachers sacrificed personal time to be a better instructor. Here’s to all those educators who’ve gone and still go the extra mile! Happy week to all! ~~LMMolina

Integrating skills: Reading, writing, and coding!

Welcome to the wonderful world of computer science! With coding, a whole new language to learn and embrace. ~~LMMolina

English & Mrs. Molina

Session #4: Google ignitesCS Program

Some of the students from the 10th-grade English class have been delving into the world of computer science these past few weeks. Why not? It helps them see a whole new world.  It broadens their horizons, so to speak. At the same time, they continue to use their English-language skills.

Computer science uses the English language as a medium of expression.  So, not only do these students practice the English language but learn new terms such as, programming, machine learning, user interface, debugging, merge, decomposition...the list continues. I certainly hope they’re aware of how important the English language is when it comes to reading about technical topics!

Studying the topics related to computer science should expand their brains by making them think in different ways.  One topic that is in vogue is CODING.  Coding is what makes it possible for us to create computer…

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A Little Bit of Coding Can Go a Long Way!

At one of my IT Club meetings, I let the club members get a feel for coding by playing a card board game. I chose Robot Wars Coding Strategy Game because I found it relatively simple to play. Some of the student members found it challenging and fun at the same time! I discovered that the game made them think critically before making a move. And, as in any computer program, there were bugs! The members were so enthralled with the game that the meeting concluded way past the scheduled time. Hats off to the creators!

Any game that can make a student analyze how and when to move is a game that should be brought into the classroom. Those are the elements of programming which don’t always have to be for the geeky soul. Students can create their own board games based on what they’ve acquired in class. Creating and playing these games is conducive to higher learning. So why not give it a try? ~~LMMolina

Cyberix Club

 

A comical numbers game: “7 into 28”

Working with numbers should be fun. Right? Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. But if we don’t make it fun or interesting at least, we’ll zone out the students. How can we get students to get some humor out of something as serious as math?  I came across this comedy sketch featuring a lovable actor from way back. I decided to show it to my tech students and see their reaction. I didn’t think they would get it but surprisingly they did and now want to try it out on their math teacher! I wonder how she’ll react. (By the way, the students requested to see the video twice!)

The scene: Bud Abbott doles out $28 to pay his room rent even though he owes his landlord way more than that. How much is 13 times 7? Ninety one? Are you sure? With Abbott it comes out a bit differently! His reasoning? Check out the video! ~~LMMolina

 

A Reflection: Getting Ready for a New Semester

Once we hit January 1st, the holiday season winds down and I begin to think of the new semester.  How will I deal with the students who still have no electrical power in their homes? Our island is still in the process of recovering from two major hurricanes.

Although the school is going back to what may be called NORMAL. It’s been painstakingly slow getting there. Our technology has been adversely affected and a few classrooms have little or no access to the Internet. When most course contents are online, this hurts!

How have the teaching staff dealt with this? By going old tech in many instances. But since we have 100% power most of the time, teachers have prepared PowerPoint presentations using the content that students may not have access to in their homes. We will not go back to old methods after we have advanced so much regarding technology and all the resources the Internet has provided! Imagination and creativity are a must if we are to keep ahead in the learning game.

This not only applies to the classroom but to our daily routines outside of work. Can we handle school and home if Mother Nature strikes again? I certainly hope so but contingency plans must be put in place and these must effectively resolve emergencies as they arise. Will we be ready? For everyone’s sake, I certainly hope so! Wishing everyone an excellent New Year 2018!~~LMMolina

Meetings Post Hurricanes

Always learning something new with the Cyberix Club members! ~~LMMolina

CBCMR IT CLUB

After Hurricanes Irma and Maria we’ve had meetings #3 (Oct 19th), #4 (Nov 2nd), and #5 (Nov 16th).  With little power and no Internet, I had to come up with activities that needed neither! My thanks to those who’ve been attending all the meetings despite the circumstances.

We did a bit of programming on paper with the Hot Dog Programming Game at the 3rd meeting. At Meeting #4 we worked with Legos to build a “spooky” theme and completed the project at Meeting #5. All activities involved teamwork. I hope everyone enjoyed them. I sure did!

Next week we’ll have our last meeting of the semester. Since we’re back on the grid (finally!), we’ll probably do something online. We’ll also have some kind of ” get together” to celebrate the holiday season.

STeM Week will probably be held next semester if all goes as planned. If not, the Club will…

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After two hurricanes 

Our small island in the Caribbean was hit by two hurricanes this season, one of them being a category 5. For the past two months most of the island has been without power and water. Our school has been operating since October 9th but under poor conditions. It was greatly impacted and we’ve just recently had power restored 100%.  During that time the teaching staff has been working but it’s been an uphill battle. We’re a school that has been dependent on technology for almost everything for the past 10 years or more! Our community took a hit when we were stripped of that technology which kept everyone informed of all that went on in our school. The teachers could no longer use the electronic platforms. The office staff could not work to their full capacity. It was a blow to our system which has left us reeling from the aftershock.

As an educator, I’ve had to adjust to the “new” school by going back to some of the “old ways” of teaching and keeping records. This has meant more paper work and less electronics. It has meant redesigning some of the courses. Academic activities have been changed. Perhaps that’s been a good thing because we’ve learned to focus on important aspects of teaching. It’s made some us think outside the box.

This course of events has made me realize that we can adapt and adjust to circumstances beyond our control. We can go on, no matter what happens. It’s also been a lesson that has taught us to plan for unforeseen events such as these. Will we come ahead? I certainly hope so! Only time will tell. In the meantime, let’s stick with the basics. ~~LMM 

School Building after Hurricane María

Poetry Prompts

Thinking about ways to get my students to write poetry or just simply write, I got inspired by a photo I took of my plants for Instagram. I thought of the well-known nursery rhyme “How does your garden grow?” It’s simple and at the same time thought-provoking.

A few questions immediately came to mind: How does your garden grow? Can a garden be compared to life in general? Do you let your garden be overrun with weeds? Who are the weeds in your life? Do they serve a purpose?

This would be either an excellent poetry exercise in which the students might find words to rhyme with weed, flowers, thorns, green, insects and so on, or a writing prompt to get them to reflect on people or situations in life.

It might be a good way to assess what my students are capable of writing. I could use it as a diagnostic exercise to introduce a poetry unit. The possibilities are endless. ~~~LMM

Humor in the classroom:

It’s summer so it’s time to reflect on some of our teaching practices and what we can do to improve them. It’s a healthy activity and one that should be taken seriously but not so seriously that we berate ourselves for making some mistakes. After all, we’re only human.

One thing that any wise teacher should “seriously” consider is having fun in the classroom. Why not take advantage of humor to get your ideas across? I’ve listened to some comedy routines that could be used as grammar exercises.  Jerry Seinfeld has a skit dealing with the words “down” and “up”.  He says that as children we were always told to “sit down,” “settle down,” “quiet down” and “stay down” or  they were told to “sit up” straight, not to “stay up” late, and that they should “get up” early.

Comedy can also be used with debatable topics. What do most comedians usually do anyway?  They make fun of ordinary events. Things as simple as going to the grocery store or visiting the family doctor can turn into a hilarious situation. One popular topic that frequently pops up is that of food consumption.  Whether it be eating an ice cream cone on a hot summer day or baking cupcakes for the first time, there’s bound to be something laughable to discuss with a classmate or post on a blog.

When you have your students discuss daily activities that involve humor, the class seems to be more enjoyable.  Students will come away with a bit more knowledge and a healthy attitude towards life in general. So let’s “lighten up” a bit!~~LMMolina