Archive for April, 2012

I like Green Google and Ham.

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Tarkington is a green school and thanks to the incredible teachers and students on the Green Club help us live and learn green each day. Between recycled products they sell to maintaining the garden to hosting our annual Green

Night that attracts over 200 community members to all the day to day conservation efforts they put effort into, they wow us all.

As I step up and work to lessen the paper waste in the classroom with technology, I also found some incredible effort and little know greening going on produced by Google. First off they have a Google Green which discusses the green effort at Google campuses. Then there is the, Google Green Scrapbook which is a content creator designed with environmental issues. Totally slick.


And So it Goes.

Posted: April 21, 2012 in Thought Fulls.

I am incredibly proud of what our iPad classrooms are doing and working towards and exploding into. Now next year we will be so lucky because our budget allows us to purchase 4 more carts, meaning we will have a 7 1:1 classrooms. (so yay!) But in order for our teachers to receive these classrooms, they must apply. Now I couldn’t stomach something like “What would you be a good candidate for an iPad classroom?”

See what I came up with below.

1. Have an Working Website.
2. Chose one lesson they hated teaching this year and rewrite it as if they were teaching it in a 1:1 classroom. 3. Chose one lesson they loved teaching this year and rewrite it as if they were teaching it in a 1:1 classroom.
4. Agree to 10 hours of working PD with me over the summer to prepare for an year of grooviness with iPads.
5. Participate in a private, reflection shared between the iPad classroom teachers.
6. Meet for a celebratory dinner before June 15.

The reasoning behind this application is that teacher who “win” will have already planned at least two of their lessons and more will be planned as we work together over the summer.

Off to the Races!

It’s Evidence!

Posted: April 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

Two quick stories as I end a crazy week and begin a weekend full of hockey and basketball and theatre and as much geekiness as I can fit in. First, personally. I have three children, two boys and a girl and in the mornings they have to walk two blocks to their school. Rule is they leave at 8:35, not too early, not so late they have to rush. My oldest is hell bent on leaving at 8:35 on the dot and if his siblings are not ready he leaves. This infuriates my daughter. Another rule from a crazy mom, they have to text me when they get to school. Now.. that ends the foreword and here we are on Monday of this week and I get a text from my daughter about 8:36 with the picture below attached:

Along with the picture came “Danny left with out us! He is the little black shape far far.  Away.”  Yes it actually made me giggle for quite a while.

Now fast forward to today. At Tarkington we celebrated a “Day of Silence” The students pledged silence for the day to protest bullying. In one of our 5th grade rooms, there sits Carlos. Pledge taken. All set to go. Ms. Berman begins her lessons, writing instructions on the board and Carlos raises his hand. She points to him and he holds the iPad up and Ms. Berman hears a computer generated voice  – “This is great! The iPad can talk for me!” Again – the giggles ensued.

These two stories help me illustrate why using technology in the classroom is so, so just a right choice. It is the world in which our students exist and will continue to exist in. By using technology in the classroom we are arming them with the skill set they need to feel comfortable with computers and have a sense of resiliency to “figure it out” with any tech issue regardless of whether it is a PC, a Mac, a tablet or whatever else the future holds.

(Golly Gee – Who doesn’t love a title filled with alliteration)

So right, you can begin to transform your classroom without 32 iPads. Of course, but here is the deal-io I am working with as the school years leaps over the half-way mark.

Setting: 3rd Grade 1:1 Classroom
Characters: Very eager, very inquisitive, very concerned students, an amazed teacher and me.
Prelude: Swelling music, children dancing around, hoisting their iPads up in the air and spinning about with joyful expression. Teacher humming as petite bluebirds land on her wrists.
Scene: As I waltz into the room, the children encircle me and hug me, thanking me for the iPads, fighting over who was to tell me first their lastest iPad activity. Suddenly, I notice David in the corner, clutching his iPad to his chest. Parting the students, David looks up to me, looking terrified! Lowering to his level, I ask him what could be perplexing him! Peering up, he stares at me and says “Ms. Darche…. what will happen next year in 4th Grade… when I don’t have an iPad?” Teacher and all the students, turn and stare at me…

Fade to Black. 

Dramatic? Maybe a bit, however in someways it isn’t. It is a real concern of these students who will move into a more “traditional” classroom. Not to say that the only way to transform a classroom is to fill it with iPads, but it does aide in moving the teacher from the front of the classroom to the center of it. At Tarkington, we are at the initial position to the transitional stage…..(to be continued)

I love new staff members, I love when they join a staff I have been a part of for a while and in the same regard I love being the new staff member. Possibilities aplenty, what new skills will they come armed with to help us building our Tarkington community. We already have one of the most talented staffs I have experienced: skilled scientists who design incredible experiments, bilingual speakers who teach skills and a second language, literature gurus, and math maniacs.

Two fine arts teachers joined our staff this year, one is planning a full blown production of Frog and Toad and the other finds beauty in everything. In fact, one day I had to ask if she ever considered anything ugly. Our new art teacher, Ms. Hoff has been updating a lovely website, I just had to share. Enjoy the beauty!