Deciphering technology

Just before the holiday break, our new technology – Mobi 360 – arrived. Hopefully the wireless projector that is part of this system will have been installed before Wednesday when we return to school.  Hopefully I will be able to make it all work the way it was intended.

We tried out the system the Thursday before going home.  The Pulse units operate like clickers and each student is assigned one to use for class.  I put our weekly vocabulary test into a Powerpoint slideshow and the kids took the test using their new technology.  Outside of two children who had pressed some combination of buttons and disassociated from the Mobi receiver, it was fun and quick AND yielded immediate data without hand correcting.

I love it when technology provides an improvement in delivering instruction or in  gathering assessment data. I love when technology provides some motivation for students.

Never a fan of single-minded programs, I’ve always thought of technology applications in education as part of a tool-kit.  After all, I use technology with a purpose, not just because it’s there.

Mobi is, of course, going to take some adjustment and preparation on my part. But so far, it looks like a powerful addition to this teacher’s toolkit.

Joyeux Noel!


Waiting to enter Notre Dame de Paris

I am not certain exactly when the idea occurred to us, but this past week, Adrien and I celebrated our anniversary with a quick trip to Paris. Nevermind that I now have a deeper understanding of my immigrant grandfather’s voyage to the new world after spending 12 hours on planes without being able to wiggle! Airline to remain anonymous.

We planned this trip to coincide with Christmas and so, we did as many tourists and some Parisians do – we went to Mass at Notre Dame cathedral. 2012 marks the 850th anniversary of the cathedral; I couldn’t help but wonder at that thought – that 850 years earlier people stood in this same spot to celebrate Christmas.

The giant pipe organ, bellowed the strains of Adeste Fideles while we waited

Ready to the procession

Ready to the procession

for the procession. Soon the start of Mass was signaled by the sweet smell of incense, a smell of unmistakable intensity. A young boy carefully carried the Christ child in procession, and with a cue from the priest, gently laid Him in the empty creche, a tradition that is repeated in many Christian churches across the world. And so, the first Mass at Christmas began.

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

And after Mass, we made our way through the mixed crowd leaving Notre Dame and those awaiting the beginning of the next Mass to the far edges, roped off in some hope of making order of the chaos.

Joyeux Noel!

25 December 2012

25 December 2012


Every child can relate to the anxiety one feels when you enter a school building for the first time. So can any teacher.

We feel helpless to comfort our colleagues and their students. Their grief and sense of loss is unimaginable. And they will naturally feel anxious when they return to a different school building in January.

So when this project, Snowflakes for Sandy Hook, started circulating through email and twitter, it seemed like a way we could offer support.

The simple act of creating a paper snowflake, a most child-like gift, resonated with my students. They had all heard of the shooting, they had noticed that a patrol car now monitors our arrivals and departures, they had questions about their own safety. And they wanted to make the students from Sandy Hook feel more comfortable in their new school building.

If you are a teacher, maybe you and your students would like to add your snowflakes too.


In the dark of winter…

There is a pall hanging over us. We want answers to the unanswerable. We need to put our anger and sadness  somewhere, but there is no place.

Tomorrow is a Monday that will be unlike any other. Tomorrow I need to try to reassure my 8-year-olds. Many of them will have watched too many reports on television, or overheard snippets of adult conversation.  While some of my students live with traumas, nothing like this has ever happened before. I pray that nothing close to it ever happens again.

I have no idea what I can say, except to reassure them that, while sometimes the adults in their lives have been unreliable, I am here to keep them safe.  As a teacher, I imagine that is exactly what passed through the minds of the teachers and administrators of Sandy Hook as they made split second decisions to shelter their own students. Six times that instinct to protect children from harm resulted in the ultimate sacrifice.

We will need to be together.