Tuesday, December 4, 2012

November 27, 2012

How thankful we are for our school districts support of our 1:1 program at the middle school and continue this support with becoming a 1:1 high school.

As I have been visiting classes the first two days of this week, here is some of what I have been observing:
  • Numbers being used to document and graph data
  • Spelling words being tested on the iPad
  • Research being conducted on famous pieces of art
  • Mini movies being created by students with props being built by students
  • Students being creators of reserach projects on our global society
  • Musical notes and counts being quizzed to document proficiency on scales


photo 2.JPG

Our Middle School Student Council organized a food drive and delivered over 100 items to the Atkins Food Bank.

Thank you to all of the families who sent items to be shared with others.  We appreciate your donations and generosity!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paying it Forward

What does Benton Community Middle School have to offer other schools in their thinking about becoming or improving their 1:1 program?

That's the premise of today's post.  How can we share our 1:1 learning with other schools so they can sucessfully implement their 1:1 program?  This is a huge question -- but I really believe an even more important question is "How can we really make the school of today relevant for our current students, not the students we were thirty years ago?" (I'm aging myself -- yikes!)

Today, we put a technology device in student's hands -- but if our systems don't fundamentally change the "what and how" of the experiences students are receiving in our schools -- we have created a much larger gap for students to overcome once they graduate.

Recently, I listened to Steve Jobs and Seth Godin on TedTalks highlighting their beliefs focusing on the importance of moving beyond the industrial age in schools.  They speak enthusiastically of having students and staff create "more passionately" and connecting the dots, not collecting the dots from students. Godin ends his talk by saying "If you care enough about your work to be willing to be criticized for it then you have done a good days work!"

So, opening up our doors to visitors who want to learn and be willing to ask us critical questions will hopefully teach us how to get better and continue to strive to meet the needs of the students we have in today's classrooms to prepare them for their tomorrow.  Thus, creating educational experiences, as Jobs implied might help "connect dots looking forward", both for our students and our staff. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Here is a quick bulleted list of what is happening with iPad’s in our MS as of 10/11/12 (gotta love this date:).  By no means is this list a reflection of the only ways in which iPads are being used.  
The Middle School staff are integrating the iPad in a variety of ways to focus student learning at levels that reflect organization, critiquing and generating new ideas and products.  These skills, which correspond with the Characteristics of Effective Instruction, as outlined in the Iowa Core, are also at the higher end of the revised Bloom's Taxonomy

The Middle School saff are also collaborating with one another to increase their own knowledge level on ways to use the iPad to increase student learning and create classroom websites that students and families utilize both at school and home.

Here's our list...
*QR codes being used our MS pass book with a google doc being used to record passes for MS students (restroom, office, nurse, etc.) - thus seeing trends in student behavior

*QR code being used to upload a document that students work with in an English classroom

*Spelling app being used by students to input spelling words verbally and then being able to practice typing (spelling them) and hearing them again before the assessment at the end of each week

*1st days of school students taking screen shots of schedules – giving staff ideas of ways to utilize the camera – now students take pictures of textbooks so they don’t have to take textbooks home

*Students creating spreadsheets with the Numbers app to record classroom data

*Students observed during classroom walk-thru the first week of school utilizing:  google calendar, google mail, simple physics, notes, notability, edmoto, imovie

*No issues with wireless network with addition of 250 devices plus 15 apple tvs -- way to go "Magic" (aka our Technology Director)

*MS Staff presented to HS staff @ one way they are using iPad in the MS on 9/5/12 (only 11.5 days into the new school year)

*As of 9/26/12 – 4 teachers had not used any paper – all documents for class work were accessed on the iPad

*Ag Science – using iPad to create notes on parts of plants

*Music classes (band and vocal) accessing quizlet to have students demonstrate competency with pre-determined learning targets for the course

*All google email accounts and Edmoto username and passwords were made to be the same for every MS student
*Students accessing websites for learning about the changing population in the world and historical events

*Teachers giving both written and verbal feedback to students on homework and assessments

*Students creating EduCreations to demonstrate learning – both written and orally

*Biggest challenge to date - - students remembering passwords

Thursday, October 4, 2012

O'Connell HR wins iPad shirts with Box Top Collection

Ms. O'Connel's homeroom collected 945 Box Tops for our 1st Box Top Collection of the 2012-13 school year. They each won an MS iPad t-shirt.  As a middle school we collected over 4500 Box Tops during homecoming week and will use the money to purchase iPad apps that will help enhance the learning environment of our middle school.

Monday, October 1, 2012

iPad cases

                                                 Benton Community MS iPad Case

Our process for chosing cases included the following criteria:

1.        Durability – tough case (we’re working with middle school studentsJ)

2.       Corner protection

3.       Cover that puts the ipad in sleep mode when covering the screen

4.       Strap on back

5.       Stand to set iPad up on desk or table for typing

6.       Multiple colors for different grades

7.       ID holder for student ID (approximately 3.25 X 2.25”)

We didn't end up with our case meeting all of our criteria -- but we are satisified with our case, the Griffin Survivor.  We had over 100 free case samples sent to our school.  Students were a huge help in this process -- they would spend their study hall in my office researching cases and then we'd email the company and ask for free samples.   Companies were great about working with us and even giving us suggestions about other products that may meet our needs!  Below is a picture of some of the cases we tried out.  The box on my desk is full of iPad cases, as well as the one's spread out on my desk.  The Apple project manager that worked with us was very impressed when he saw this -- but Apple was not impressed enough to send me a FREE case:)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

iPad Tshirt

Benton Community MS Staff
September 16, 2012

We had shirts made for our iPad rollout.   The front says:  "Benton Middle School -- there's an app for that!" and on back is a QR code that takes you to our Benton homepage.   If you want to order one of our shirts -- send an email to me:  jprusha@benton.k12.ia.us

1:1 Website

MS iPad 1:1 site
(Click on the above info to go to our link:)
This site was developed by Jonathan Wylie our technology consultant from GWAEA for our staff training this past summer.  He was kind enough to let us copy the site and personalize it for our students and family use.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where we've come from...

September 17, 2012
We think it's about time we start documenting our happenings since we've introduced the iPad's into our Middle School.  In order to do that,we think it's important to go back and remember some of what we (the MS Staff) have done since first learning that becoming a 1:1 school was a possibility in January of 2012.

The first question we tried to answer was this:  What do we need a device to do in order to make a difference in student learning?

Here's a brief timelime of our process:
2009-10 -- Discussions via Skype and email with Van Meter @ their process of being a 1:1.  Sent staff to 1:1 conference.  MacBooks in the building for two weeks for staff to learn with.
2010-11 -- Sent staff to 1:1 Conference.  MacBooks in the building for two weeks for staff to learn with.
December 2011 -- Discussion with Administrative Team of going 1:1 in the district and decision to start in the MS in 2012-13 school year.
1/13/12 -- Discussion of going to visit Waverly MS and their 1:1 program between Technology Director and Principal
1/18/12 -- Visited Lisbon 1:1with Technology Director, Principal and staff members
1/26/12 -- Met with 8 core teachers to discuss Characteristics of Effective Instruction (CEI) and what would be the impact of going 1:1 in the MS
1/27/12 -- Shared info with MS Staff from IASCD newsletter of Van Meter Schools
1/31/12 -- Met with 8 core teachers to continue discussion of CEI
2/7/12 -- Group went to visit Waverly MS and 1:1 initiative
2/8/12 -- Group went to visit VanMeter and 1:1 initiative
2/9/12 -- Met with 8 core teachers to continue discussion of CEI and follow-up on visits to 1:1 schools
2/10/12 -- PD with breakout session on iPad usage in schools presented by Jonathan Wylie (GWAEA)
2/13/12 -- Surveyed students regarding electronic devices and internet access at their homes and got our first iPad2 in the building for staff to use
2/21/12 -- Staff attend iPad training at GWAEA with Jonathan Wylie
2/23/12 -- Apple meeting with rep
2/24/12 -- Jonathan Wylie here from GWAEA  to meet with staff during their planning period
2/27/12 -- Discussion of what device would serve our purpose
3/8/12 -- Met as a MS staff and finalized decision on going 1:1 with the iPad
3/9/12 -- Apple meeting with rep
3/19/12 -- Group went to visit CVCS and 1:1 initiative
3/21/12 -- Group met with Board of Education to propose going 1:1 with iPad's in the MS
4/5/12 -- MS Staff given iPad's to use to learn with
4/11/12 -- Group went to state 1:1 conference
4/11/12 -- Board approved purchase of iPad's
5/29 & 5/30/12 -- MS Staff on-site training on iPad's from Jonathan Wylie from GWAEA
7/11 & 7/12/12 -- MS Staff on-site training on iPad's from Jonathan Wylie from GWAEA and got their own assigned new iPad

All along we were working with our Apple Rep and Project Manager, as well as developing our AUP and FAQ documents and updating our infrastructure to accommodate a wireless network that has the capabilities to function with 260 iPad's going non-stop all day long.  We know we're forgetting some dates -- but the overall picture we want you to see is that we did alot of discussion and learning from one another, as well as other schools (THANKS so much for your willingness to share your journey with us), along with a tremendous amount of WORK behind the scenes before our iPad rollout date on 8/16/12. 

So, now it's September 17, 2012 and we're amazed with our staff and students.  The picture at the top of this post is from a science classroom on September 12, 2012, when 1999 BC graduate, Dr. Patrick Gibney currently of Princeton University, came and shared with our students how to extract DNA from strawberries.  He told me he wanted copies of the protocol for each student -- so we scanned it into a PDF and emailed it to one of our science teachers and he uploaded it to Edmoto for the students to access.  We're on our way to being paperless here at BC Middle School.

We're going to end this post with a HUGE thank you to all the MS staff who have been and continue to be a fantastic collaborative team, along with Tyler Maschino our Technology Director and our Board of Directors for having the faith in our people to make such a financial commitment for our staff, students and families.

iPad Rollout picture

September 18, 2012

This is a picture from our iPad rollout night on Aug. 16, 2012 -- Fantastic attendance from families!

Our staff chose to have our iPad rollout on Open House -- which went fantastic with so many helping hands!  Our plan went as follows:

6:30p.m. -- Familes reported to gymnasium for an overview PowerPoint that focused on responsibility, expectations, on-liine safety, acceptable use policy and basic care of the iPad

6:45p.m. -- Students were dismissed to their homerooms and homeroom tinstructors overviewed some of the features of the iPad and reviewed and had families sign the acceptable use policy and our internet safety policy.  Once all paperwork was taken care of -- iPads and charging cords were given out and families were free to leave.  This process took approximately one hour.

Our goal was to have 100% of our families attend Open House or our follow-up meeting which was held on August 22, 2012.  Currently, we have 216 students in our MS and our percentage of families that have attended a rollout meeting is:  99.99%.