Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Year, Big Changes, Geek Squad & Google Docs

Today was day 3 as ITRT and I am still adjusting to all the newness of it. It is going to take awhile to get used to and I have had mixed feelings each day. While I am so excited about this new adventure I am also really missing my classroom and the babies (1st graders)! I am hoping that it will get better when everyone is settled and I can get into classrooms working with teachers and students. Right now teachers are trying to establish classroom routines/procedures and begin diving into their assessments and curriculum and I can totally relate to that as a former classroom teacher! I am also crazy busy helping people with tech issues and doing the admin side of websites, inventory, etc.

Yesterday I met with my Geek Squad class which is eight 7th and 8th grade boys who are *brilliant* and super into technology! I guess I should tell you that the Geek Squad started last year as a club and took off. This group of young men came together under our principal to help maintain all of the technology in our building, help with training and also acquisition of new technology. This year it became an exploration encore class as well as a club before and after school. Of course you've heard of the Best Buy Geek Squad, we are like the mini Geek Squad for school version.

We started our class by playing Two Truths and a Lie. They had never played before so it was even more fun than I had expected. I modeled the "game" and then they had to write their three statements on an index card and share out with the group. They were really into trying to figure out the lie and they all learned something new about each other. 

I have mentioned Google Docs a few times and have promised a post or here we go. I am using Google Docs to create a digital classroom for the Geek Squad. One of my biggest concerns with using Google Docs with kids was the attachment to an email address/personal information but I found a sneaky little way around this with an awesome picture tutorial called creating Dummy Accounts! First I created a new google account specifically for Geek Squad and then followed the steps to create filters for each geek! I was a little nervous about whether it would actually work but it worked perfectly, The benefit of having one account is that I can monitor their "folder", sharing is easy and hello paperless!!!

Their first assignment on Google Docs was  a 3, 2, 1 activity (3 character traits every Geek Squad member should have, 2 strengths they feel they can offer to Geek Squad and 1 expectation for each other).

The bell rang and they didn't want to leave. We hadn't really done anything that great but they were so engaged with the technology that they wanted to stay even though they were doing work. The class flew and I didn't want them to leave either!!! I wasn't sure I was going to like middle school but I quickly fell in love. We were on a roll when the bell rang so I didn't get to close or go over a few other important things (our schedule and singing up for Remind101) so today after meeting with the principal we called a quick meeting to go over those two things and to present THREE big challenges to them for presentation opportunities! They were pumped and 6 of them had their schedule filled in by 5:00.

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