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How We Turned a Bad Worksheet into a Teachable Moment Integrating Technology

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Below is one of the worksheets that Braeden did at school. The top portion is a reading passage about Ecosystems with mis-spelled spelling words that he must identify and correct. The bottom portion asks him to imagine that he was an explorer and write about the ecosystem that he discovered for the first time. Sounds like a great activity? Wrong! In Braeden’s words… “I didn’t know what an ecosystem was. She wouldn’t tell us and I didn’t have my ipad to look it up. She gave it to us and sat in her desk. She told us that it wasn’t …

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Inside Our Battle for Good Teaching: Braeden’s Words

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis3 Comments

If I could’ve recored yesterday’s “Braeden rant”, I would’ve. I sat with a child on the verge of breaking because of the educational malpractice that he is experiencing. Amidst tears, he expressed his thoughts on the reprehensible actions of his teacher. Below is the rundown After mistakenly writing down (small – large) vs (large – small), Braeden was ridiculed in front of the entire class for making the same mistake over and over. Her words were, “You keep doing this!! You also do this on your math test!!” He was then told that he would receive “extra problems” to take …

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Set the Tone of Learning, Not the Limit

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

As a Geometry teacher, I loved teaching the unit on right triangles because it gave students an opportunity to experience real world applications of right triangles beyond what they knew. In the years that I taught, students devised methods and explored everything from determining the length of missing sides to eventually finding angle measures when given sides…inverse trig functions. Unfortunately, our state standards did not extend to inverse relationships. When we started using “Cscope”, now The Texas Curriculum Management Program Cooperative (TCMPC), it defined our unit even further. In its “specificities”, we were to only teach through trigonometric ratios. In our …

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Beyond the Tech to Engage the Disengaged

In Professional Growth, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis3 Comments

This past weekend, I took my nephew, son and his friends to participate in a collaborative “maker space” sponsored by SMART at TASA/TASB. As one of several schools rotating through their creative zone, the kids had access to various art supplies, a 3d cardstock printer, makey makey and objects for interaction. I believe that the idea was that the kids would get into the space itself, be inspired by the maKey maKey and “collaboratively” create. That formula worked for other schools. From what I heard, other groups of students blasted their way through the “maker” area, had a blast and …

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20 Ways to Turn Off Repeat in the Classroom

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Now that school is well beyond the planning phases of the first few weeks, it’s time to think about how to continuously ensure that this year is not a repeat of every other year. We’ve all heard the phrase about teachers that teach the same year over and over and over. How can we keep our schools from living the same cycle? I’ve been in staff meetings, like many of you, where we get the goals down on paper only to return to class and leave the goals on paper. Every now and then, there would be a goal reminder …

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Mobility for Students Must Begin with Addressing Teacher Beliefs

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Yesterday, I scared a teacher halfway to retirement by merely mentioning the idea of technology in a student’s hand. Her reply, in what can only be described as complete and total disgust, was “You actually want me to allow them to have a cell phone in my class?” She then added that kids would be texting and “Facebooking” and she would not be okay with that. In response, I said…Absolutely YES! Her response…blank stare. At #rscon4, my session, “Leveraging Mobile Devices to Develop Autonomy in Reluctant Learners” is all about utilizing mobile devices in such a way that kids leave …

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Why I Share My Nephew’s Stories

In Social Media, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Everyday we have the same routine. Spelling/vocabulary words, 26 of them, are written 5 times each. An excel math sheet is completed A homework chapter reader is read On Wednesday’s , 10 sentences are written as well Practice multiplication facts As soon as the kid gets home by 3pm, the homework cycle begins…day after day…after day. Like so many of our children, my nephew is such a dreamer. He creates some of the most fantastic art that I have ever seen. He makes random “things” using odd finds from around the house. He absolutely loves every thing about lions and …

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I Started a Love Affair with Discovery Education’s Science Techbook

In Professional Development, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Yesterday, I fell in love. I attended Discovery Education’s Techbook Connect Texas, an interactive experiential look inside of their science digital textbook. I was able to experience science from the perspective of a student and I felt something that I have never felt before…LOVE for Science! Unlike other digital textbooks, Discovery Ed’s techbook is equipped with media, interactive learning environments and other features that make personalized learning a more engaging experience.  Yesterday, I was able to connect on a more deeper pedagogical level as to how to best integrate media into a classroom…an area that is often ignored. In one …

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How A Movie Fixed What Accelerated Reader Broke

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

A week ago, Disney channel aired the movie, Judy Moody. My nephew has been obsessed since. He immediately told his mom that he wanted the books and excitedly brought home his scholastic book order form for his mother to order them. (More on this later) He has never asked for books before….NEVER. Braeden would rather draw instead of read because until now, reading has been a chore. Weekly, Braeden brings home a school printed chapter reader and must read it every night. On Friday, he and his classmates take turns on their classroom computers to take the accelerated reader test …

What Students Have to Say About BYOT

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Next month I will be a presenting a session entitled, Leveraging Mobile Devices to Develop Autonomy in Reluctant Learners during the 2013 Reform Symposium E-Conference, RSCON4. After learning from such prolific leaders last year, I was truly honored to be invited to share my perspectives with a global audience. I’ve been working on collecting feedback from current and former students about their thoughts on everything from technology and social responsibility, devices in the classroom and the transition into where mobile devices fit into  their normal lives. All of these students currently or formerly attended a high school that does not encourage or …