Saturday, October 4, 2008

Prometheus--Thief of Fire

In Greek mythology, Prometheus was the person who stole fire from Zeus and brought it to the people. A few weeks ago, a great guy named Nate (ultimately with help from Kathleen, Scott, Anna, and Joelle) brought fire to my classroom....A Promethean interactive whiteboard.

This Wednesday, the UPS truck brought the gas for the fire...Activotes. For those who haven't used them, Activotes are devices that each student uses to interact with the lesson (other people in my school call them the clickers). If you want to see a lesson come alive, hand out electronics!

So, you are wondering how things have changed since the introduction of this amazing technology. First, a little about me. I haven't been a paper-pencil person for at least a dozen years. I never saw the need to quantify things in the music classroom. I have kids write stories, as previously discussed, but I don't do tests. I like to have kids SHOW me that they understand what we are learning.

The addition of the whiteboard has changed a lot in my classroom, but not the basic fundamentals. The kids spend eighty percent of the time in front of the board (if not more). I do my twenty percent is mostly setting up the activities and a little instruction. In fact, since the Activslate arrived, I have spent even less time in front of the board! The focus of my instruction is still the children, but now the kids have ramped up motivation...they are on fire!

Adding the Activotes this week has changed the atmosphere in my room...I am still dreaming of ways to make it better. We have been talking about naming the notes the kids will have to know to play the keyboards in February. The interesting thing to me is that I had the votes in "Anonymous" mode and the kids still wanted to know how they were doing... The quest for learning was apparent. Perhaps more than in the past, the students wanted to get the 'right' answer and were eager to listen better to instruction so taht they could get the answer right. I am not sure what all the implications of this are. I am not sure if the motivation is intrinsic, which has always been my goal. For now, I am going to go with the on-fire excitement and find ways to transfer that assignment to an instrument.

From my early experiences, I have decided that Promethean is correctly named for Prometheus, the one who shares fire. My classroom is definitely on fire!!!


jepcke said...

So glad to hear about the fire your ActivBoard and the Activotes have caused in your classroom. My district is in the beginning stages of implementing the Promethean products. When I was a classroom teacher it was my dream to have an IWB in my classroom. 5 years later I am able to bring the dream to all the teachers in my district.

Your blog post will serve as inspiration to other teachers; particularly those who aren't grade level specific classroom teachers. I plan on sharing it with my staff during some of our Promethean PD.

I look forward to continuing to hear about your journey with Promethean.

SherryC said...

While I don't love tests, I find they are pretty useful in Social Studies. Since I have started given them with the Promethean Board and Activotes, my scores have gone through the roof. I assign them by numbers and the kids know what number they have. They really want to get it right. You are right ... they listen more careful and think their answers through. I love my board and am hoping to find more time to learn more cool stuff for it! Glad you are loving yours!

Julie Everett said...

I so wish I could visit your classroom. I can only imagine the fire within the four walls. You are such an inspiration, and I am thankful for your leadership in education.

Anonymous said...

TJ, thanks for all the help throughout this year on Twitter. I will be helping a district with the Activotes (I've only really use the SMART Senteos and eInstruction) and I ran across your blog post. Great to hear, I may be picking your brain a little after the holidays.