Today is the start of Second Semester! I'm starting a bunch of new things. Some of them borrowed from elementary school, some of them technology pieces. All of them to try to engage middle school students.
- I've moved most of my website things from a hodgepodge of different sites to Weebly. There is still a lesson plan blog but it moved from Blogger. There's a Warm-up Blog but it moved from the student blogs. I've also updated my homepage to be simpler and more easily redirect students to Weebly. You can see it at mrknaus.com.
- This is where I'm taking a risk. I've got one class that consistently doesn't turn in homework. They know how to do it and they get it. However, they don't get it turned in. I've created a classroom Facebook page and classroom Twitter page. I'll be posting assignments in both spots. The majority of my students have Facebook pages. This seems like a great way to connect with students. We'll see how it goes. I put links on my Weebly page.
- Texting goes right to the students pockets. I'm going to be using Google Voice to send out text messages to those students who are willing to share their cell phone number. This seems to be the best way to connect with students and really make sure that it gets to them. Using Google Voice allows me to do this without using my personal cell phone.
- For the first time in my life, I've created a Room 254 Newsletter that will go home on Mondays. This is the first assignment for the quarter. Parents have some things to fill out on the back and turn in.
- I'm going to send home a robo-voicemail this afternoon for each student. Just to let them know who I am, how to contact me and what the homework for the night is.
- Competition. I'm setting up groups in each class. Each group can earn points. The group with the most points at the end of 4 weeks gets some sort of prize. I think I will do this with each class too. They will earn points from homework completion, being on time, perfect attendance, cooperating, and other things.
I just realized that this is a lot of things. The only things that are truly new are the competition, the newsletter, and texting. I've been doing all the other things right along but will be putting more effort into them now.
I'll be updating everyone on the results and pitfalls in the coming weeks.