Archive for July, 2008

Since finding out about my job status, I felt I could move full speed ahead and actually do a little decorating in my room. I have been busy brainstorming ideas for classroom decorations for the upcoming year to go along with my construction theme. Friday, my wonderful husband went with me to begin putting up a “road” on one of my walls in my classroom. It turned out great, but I totally forgot to bring my camera with me to get pics. I will add some next week. I have decided to do the road on one wall (the Information Highway), and do large tools (hammer, wrench, saw, etc.) on my other large wall. The title will be “Technology Tools” and I will write the names of some of the tools we will be using throughout the year (Blogs, Wikis, Podcasting, etc.).

Today I managed to get my traffic light decoration made. I plan on hanging it from the ceiling in the middle of the room.

Continue below to see how I made it (includes pics).

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Breaking News

I just got the phone call from Human Resources I’ve been waiting for all summer: I got my job back! (see Limbo post for backstory)  I planned on going to the Board meeting on Thursday hoping to hear a word, but it looks like I won’t need to. I’m thrilled. Off to celebrate!

In my last post I explained that I have decided to go with a theme in the computer lab this year. After many Google searches for classroom themes, computer lab themes, etc. I have chosen a construction theme.  The “motto” will be Futures Under Construction. I’m really excited about this theme.  So much that I have transformed my classroom blog into a new website/blog for the upcoming year to match the theme. On current website,  I can change the header and background colors (and of course design the pages), but I have to email my site admin to do these things. I am a perfectionist, so I believe I would only drive them crazy with my requests to try this and try that. The blog gives me the freedom to upload my header once or thirty times until it is just right for me. I will also change it each year to match whatever theme I choose. I also like that the blog will now be included in the website, whereas before it was another place for the students to visit. They really weren’t comfortable with the blog because of how seldom they were able to go there.

The week before school starts I will point my domain name towards the new site.

Exciting!

After seeing Vicky S’s cool computer lab wiki on the Elementary Tech Teachers Ning, I noticed her lab will have a theme this year: It’s a Small World.  I really love the idea of having a yearly theme, and it would be an excuse to spruce up the room a bit.  I think it would grab the students’ interest as well and get them excited about what they will learn in the lab.

I googled “computer lab themes” and ran across a fabulous computer lab website by Mrs. Steen.  She has a jungle theme in her lab, complete with decorations and “Top Banana” awards! She has so many resources for other computer lab teachers as well, including a wealth of thematic links that will definitely come in handy during the year. This is definitely a site to check out if you are a computer lab teacher.

I guess you can adapt any classroom theme to the computer lab, so that is my mission. I will report back my findings and decision!

Update: I just found a treasure trove of computer lab pictures decorated in the “Study Island” theme from the contest they had back in 2007. Click on the school entries by state at the bottom to see all of the entries. It will take forever to look through them all!

Limbo

The school system I work for, back in May, cut 492 jobs. 305 of those are non-tenured teachers (you must work for the system for 3 years to be considered tenured).  Last year was my first year, so this puts me in jeopardy. I am still (patiently) waiting to hear from my principal about whether or not I will be rehired. There is a Board meeting on July 24th, so hopefully that will be the day I learn of my fate.

The fact that my certification is in Elementary Education is a good thing.  This means I could go into a regular K-5 classroom.  I love my job as a computer/technology teacher and hope with all my heart I get to keep my job, but since there is a possibility I may not, I decided to make a list of pros for having my own classroom.

  • It would be an interesting experience to be with a certain group of students all year long.  Right now I see over 800 a week.
  • It would be fun to incorporate technology into my regular classroom teaching on a daily basis.
  • I would love to do some online projects with them.  Seeing all grade levels, it would be too cumbersome to do these projects.  I guess I could choose certain classes, but I think I would feel bad having to choose. Right now I have just been informing the teachers about them and assisting them if they want to participate.
  • I would love to make class movies similar to Mrs. Newingham’s.  These are a must-see if you haven’t seen them.
  • I would love to connect with another classroom through ePals.

Ok, I feel better already. As soon as I hear, I will update my blog.

Before I had children (and for a short time when they were immobile), I was an avid digital scrapbooker. I would spend hours at a time picking out the pictures I wanted to use, searching the digital scrapbooking sites for the perfect kit to match the pictures, and then another few hours actually creating my page(s). I still love it and often make scrapbook-style invitations for my own family and upon request from others. I also use my skills for my websites (including my blog header!).

My program of choice is Adobe Photoshop. I remember about 5 years ago I was using an ancient program called Microsoft Image Composer. I knew all the tips and tricks, so I was reluctant to change, although I knew I wasn’t doing myself any favors by not knowing Photoshop. I remember opening up the program thinking “this is the day I will learn it”, only to get frustrated and close it. Then the day finally came: I looked up a simple tutorial, learned all about layers, and I haven’t looked back.

These days, I don’t have the time like I used to, which lead me to the program Smilebox.  I came across this program as I was looking for different slideshow programs similar to Photoshow.

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    av2My name is Amber Coggin, and I am an Elementary Technology teacher in Mobile, Alabama. I created this blog as a central place to discuss thoughts and ideas regarding what I have going on in the classroom and on the web. I hope you find it useful to you in some way. Read more.
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