Maniac Monday: Al Capone Winner and Amazing Technology Teacher Interview
September 22, 2009 in Choldenko, Gennifer, Elementary Educators, Maniac Mondays, Research Ideas Tags: AL CAPONE SHINES HIS SHOES, book giveaway winner, maniac monday, sixth grade, technology in the classroom, Twitter, using technology with students
And the winner is Linda. Check out her blog, “Travels With Children” at http://minnemom.com/ . If you didn’t win a copy of Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko, think about purchasing a copy and giving it to your favorite kid during whichever winter holiday you celebrate!
Now on to Maniac Monday. . .
On this Maniac Monday, I want to celebrate the dedication of teachers to their students. There are some absolutely amazing teachers out there that I know do not get enough credit. I’m a big Twitter fan (follow me at www.twitter.com/Margo_L_Dill), and let’s just say these teachers should be the ones that have a million followers! One teacher in particular that I noticed from Twitter is Leigh Brockway. Here are her answers to some questions I asked about technology in her classroom. Just take a look at her answers. She is absolutely amazing!
Margo: Welcome, Leigh! Let’s start with the basics, so people can put you in a setting. Where (school name, city, state) do you teach? What grade/subject?
Leigh: I teach sixth grade in La Puente, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles.
Margo: Sixth grade in California. WOW! I know you must be tired by the end of the day. I used to teach fifth grade in a suburb of St. Louis. Why is it important to use technology in your classroom or with your students?
Leigh: We are preparing our students to do jobs that, for many, haven’t even been created yet. In addition, kids from low socioeconomic backgrounds are at a disadvantage regarding technology in that they don’t have the access that other, more affluent kids have. We have to try to bridge the gap; yet funding for technology in poorer areas seems to be less than it is in more affluent areas. It’s a tough situation. I am continually trying to find donations or buying computers with my own money to give my kids a decent shot and understanding and using different types of technology.
Margo: You make some great points, and all kids need to learn about using a computer today! I admire you so much for going the extra mile to provide that for your students. So, what technology do you have available to you, i.e., computers, smartboards, Internet access, etc.?
Leigh: My school has provided one desktop computer with an Internet connection. In addition, I have purchased three laptops and won a grant to have four more computers. So, the kids have access to eight computers. They are allowed to use my “teacher computer,” but that doesn’t happen in many classrooms.
Margo: Your students are so lucky to have a teacher like you, and so is your district. Congratulations on winning the grant. I know grants are terribly hard to write and very time consuming. How do you use technology in your classroom?
Leigh: I have a few students who bring their own laptops, so we have about one computer for every four students. Each student uses the Internet for research, and we have several class Wikis that we have made. We have a class web blog, and students are able to showcase their work there. We are in the process of getting a class website, but that has yet to be approved by the district. We do have a class web page at Scholastic, but I want each student in my class to have their own web page on a class site. In addition, I borrow LCD projectors from the high school teachers, who have them on occasion. I use them to do powerpoints, show the kids how to create their own powerpoints, how to word process, use Excel spreadsheets, etc. We are in the process of fund raising for our own LCD projector.
We also have a class Twitter page, and some of the students have their own Twitter pages. They had to get parental consent to do so. They are able to Twitter at certain times during class. They absolutely love using Twitter! We do not really use any other social media. Facebook and Myspace are, of course, banned websites on our server.
Margo: I love that your students are using Twitter! As I mentioned earlier, I am a Twitter fanatic, and I can see why students would love using it, too. You are teaching them such important skills, and I know that students love technology. It makes learning more fun for them. You are the perfect example to teachers who feel like they can not provide their students with computers or with technology due to funding. You are showing that it is possible. I hope that people can get some useful tips from you! In closing, please share with us your Twitter and blog addresses.
Margo: Leigh, thank you so much for being with us today! We look forward to all the wonderful things you and your students will be doing with technology. I want to give you a cyber hug for all your hard work and dedication to education.