This is the wiki for the middle school staff development that will take place April 16, 2008. The idea of this staff development is that we as a community of teachers can benefit from the expertise of our colleagues. If there is something that you would like covered during the staff development or you would like to share during the staff development click on "Edit This Page" and type it in. If a topic you are interested is already on the list, add you name so that we know how many people are interested. Don't forget to click "Save" when you are finished..

Meeting notes in red.

1. A brief explanation of what a wiki is and what it can be used for. - Steve & Regina will share
If you want to look at how Regina used wikis with her students click here.
Also look at the Separate Peace site that the students made. I, Regina only posted the questions for discussion and the kids did the rest.

We saw some of Regina's students work (links above) and continued the conversation with a demonstration of the blogging that her students are doing.

2. I'd like more critical thinking. (Please Harry) - Steve & Regina
What does that mean...amongst the staff or within the classroom? Can you give an example? I ask so I am prepared to participate - wende
Because of conflicts with volleyball practice earlier in the year, 6th grade class trip...I have yet to get in on the critical thinking sessions. Unfortunately, I will miss this meeting because of the 7th grade class trip. Anyway we can do more with critical thinking before the year ends? Nancy

Harry gave an explanation of CT with some examples that Regina, Khullood and Steve have done and offered to have more CT sessions on Wednesdays. Everyone is welcome to attend as many or as few sessions as they wish.

3. I'd like to learn more on how to help kids with special needs, since we do not have "aula recurso" in Middle School. - Dalys Barquero
Ditto that; In the states, I actually had to create a separate test for these students to meet their needs. Should I be doing that here? - Kathleen I would also like to know more. Margie
In the UCR the students with a handicap or have trouble learning could ask the professor for a "adecuacion curricular" I don t know how to say that in english but is pretty much an adaptation of the school program to the students specific needs, I had a classmate with adecuacion because he could only see 20% of what we normally see. Idont know if this is helpful but I can ask the teacher how she adapted the program to that particular student- Randolph

4. This is called an accommodation...Ana....This is done depending on the needs of every student..Some may require just a few things and others a full change in the curriculum.

We discussed some of the accomodations that CDS does & does not do and some school policies and legal issues regarding accomodations for students with learning disabilities. We also discussed some specific issues we are currently dealing with.

6. I will give a brief tour of Second Life. - Steve
Ramapo Island blog.
Here is a snapshot of me and some "people" I hung out with in SL. Guess which one is me. Yes, I'm the zebra man with the duck on his shoulder.

Steve gave a brief tour of SL with explanations of how some schools are using it to support learning. Some links below.
Short article on SL in education with some links.
International Schools Island Check out the video of the teacher giving a tour with the chairs automatically following.
SimTeach Wiki What you should know before taking teens into SL.
Skoolaborate A lot of tech integration. Not just SL.
Article about ed tech with an emphasis on gaming.

The following was tabled for another meeting due to lack of time:
5.I would like to ask all teachers...How do you deal with the dyslexia in your classes? We know there are certain students that present this characteristic and I want to know what accommodations, if any, are given to them? Would you like to help them? I have a few tips that really work....Ana
I also have several students with dyslexia, and I've gotten some good information from the high school counselor for help in the classroom as well-Wende

7. I think this would be a great afternoon for Dr. Amador to join us for training. - Kathleen

8. I would like to hear more about how teachers are assessing critical thinking and possibly go over some concrete examples. Claudia

9. I have a dvd on assessment that i would love to share if we have time. It is long but i can show a portion of it to stimulate some discussion.

10. I wanted to respond to the critical thinking inquiries, notably Nancy, Wende, and Steve. To answer your questions, you do not need to do anything to prepare for the sessions. Just show up with an open mind. I was thinking that one of the things we could do at a future time would be to practice re-structuring a favorite lesson into a critical thinking lesson. If we do not find time to do some critical thinking i will arrange for some voluntary sessions on Wednesdays, from now to the end of the year, when we are not meeting as a faculty. I hope that addresses all of the posts.

11. I'd like to know how we can better integrate the curriculum. I would like to know what other teachers are doing and try to reinforce that in my classes. I'm all for interdisciplinary units, but I feel that we have an overly rigid schedule and fragmented curriculum. We need training on how to work as teams and how to find bridges among the disciplines. Kerri
I have some experience with integration. -Steve