Okay, I am pretty sure that my new website is ready for takeoff. If you find any errors or something doesn't work, please let me know.

In other news, I read this blog post a couple days ago, and I love what is going on there. The idea of having a separate learning session for your kids is such a marvelous idea. I would love to be able to do that with my kids. I would love to incorporate some of these ideas into my classroom also. For example, we are reading Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick, and it would be great to host a Skype call with the author and talk about his motivation for writing the story and how he got his ideas, etc. That would be fabulous.


I recently got a new iPod Nano for my birthday/eating-tons-of-cabbage-soup celebration. It came with a game called iQuiz. The really neat thing about that game is that you can make your own quizzes, and it is very easy (or more complex, if you are interested in that kind of stuff). So, for our weekly department meetings we had to come up with pre/post assessment. The theory behind this is that we give the same test twice. We give it to them once at the beginning of the quarter, and then again at the end. This is supposed to show us how much they have improved. I am not sure I am sold on this whole idea, yet, but we will give it a shot. The iPod story comes into play because we have finished our assessment for 2nd quarter and are ready to administer it. I made a quiz (pictured above, download the txt file here, or in the sidebar to the right, at the top) for the assessment we are giving and I think that the kids will actually want to take the practice quiz because it is offered in a different format. It will help them to do well on the test, also. I think I might make a quiz to help them practice for the CRTs (state tests that are associated with NCLB) also. I remember when Apple announced that game, and I immediately thought of doing something like this.

This would work well for the students because many of my students have iPods. The only problem is that I am sure that many of them do not have the most recent iPods, the ones that you can play these games on. But, if they download the iQuiz maker (or we download them on the school computers) they can practice inside that program. There are still a few kinks to work out, but it would be really cool if this could work.

To see if your iPod will work with this game, go to this website and scroll up. The iPods above where the link takes you will work (with the only exception being the iPod Touch).

Teacher Evaluations

My principal came into my room to evaluate my teaching abilities today. I have never thought that evaluations were a big deal--last year I had someone in my room to evaluate me six times. I know I am a good enough teacher for those evaluations so I am never worried. Certainly I could be a much better teacher, but my worst days are usually still good enough for getting a good grade. A few minutes after the principal left, I got a note that said, "Please come to the principals office at 2:35." That is right after we get out of class. I have to have one more evaluation before he will actually need to meet with me, but I went prepared anyway. I was not prepared.

He told me and the other teacher he evaluated today that he was very impressed with how well we did. He said that we were in the top 10 of first and second year teachers he has evaluated in his long career. He told each of us only one thing that we needed to do better, and congratulated us the rest of the time. That fits in very nicely with the culture of the school. They focus on positive behaviors instead of negative consequences. It works even with teachers. I must admit that I went through what I did in my lesson and tried to focus on what I could carry over to other lessons. It was great motivation.