Monday, April 1, 2013

NCEA 2013: Prezi, Prezi, Prezi

Google document with handout information.

Prezi, Prezi, Prezi:
Using Technology Effectively
With a Collaborative Learning Pedagogy
Mr. Adam Thompson, M.Ed., M.A.
5th Grade Homeroom Teacher at Western Academy
Forensics Coach, Editor of Western Word, Wrestling Coach

1.   Start by identifying curricular goals.
a.    What is the core concept(s) for your class project?
                           i. Interpretive paradigms for literature (12th)
                          ii. Birth of American nation state (5th)
b.   What are your primary learning objectives?
                           i. Identify, differentiate, analyze, evaluate, and
                      apply different ideological approaches to the   
                     meanings of texts (12th)
                         ii. Investigate, contextualize, illustrate, narrate,  
                       critique, and above all, remember, humanity
                       amidst the complex nature of warfare (5th)
2.   Consider your audience.
a.    What is the best way to group your students?
                           i. 60 students divided across 3 classes (12th);           
                        3 sets of pairings per interpretive model
                          ii. 20 students divided into 4 houses (5th);                     
                        5 students per battle
b.   What visual metaphor or Prezi template will appeal most  
            to your audience?
                           i. Visual metaphor of key(s) to texts (12th)
                          ii. Prezi template suited to WA House system (5th)
c.    What can you do to incentivize the project?
                       i. Group capstone to senior year to complement the
                       individual Senior Thesis project; cloud-based
                        reference tool for students to utilize from college  
                        (12th) = intrinsic motivation
                         ii. House competition for pride and prizes (snake
                        skin wallet, PS3 game, donut party) (5th)
                        = extrinsic motivation
3.   Scaffold the project.
a.   Build foregrounded title frame and individual frames with
            titles and central picture for each literary model+ MLA
            citation examples (12th).
b.   Supply annotated central image of 13 colonies, as well as
            a completed template with original YouTube video and
            maps of the Battle of Bunker Hill + MLA citation examples
c.   Showcase examples of other great Prezis online.
d.   Review the rubric with the students.
4.   Monitor the project.
a.   Regularly save copies of the Prezi.
b.   Demonstrate Prezi techniques with the students.
c.   Celebrate achievements and provide constructive
    criticism as the Prezi evolves.
d.   Provide basic or advanced paths for group work to create  
            a smooth flowing Prezi.
5.   Assess the project.
a.   Students showcase their work in class.
b.   Grade the collaborative projects following the rubric you
            distributed at the beginning.
c.   Return assessments with suggestions for improvement.
d.   Allow time for revision and improvement.
e.   Publish/publicize students' final product.
Literary Theory Overview Prezi Rubric
Content: 50 pts
1. 3 characteristics of assigned literary theory
2. 2 quotes from intellectuals associated with the movement that
   support or comment on characteristics mentioned
3. An impact statement about the significance of this movement OR a
   critique of its legitimacy and/or value
4. 1 video or image of import
Creativity/Style: 20 pts
1. Utilization of various Prezi functions
2. Aesthetics in terms of design, proportion, color, symmetry
Grammar: 15 pts
1. Correct spelling and proper use of punctuation
2. Consistency with approach within partnership
Format: 15 pts
1. Correct citations for images and videos in MLA format
5 Key Battles of American Revolutionary War Rubric
Style/Formatting of Prezi              15  /  15
3 Images with Notes/Captions      15  /  15
Student Map of Battle                    20  /  20   
YouTube Videos                            40  /  40
·   Student (35)                                          
·   Additional Resource (5)
MLA Citation                                 10  /  10  
                                    Final Grade: 100/100

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Drink Texas, Eat Texas

When the heat becomes just about unbearable, as it has in Texas over the last couple of months or so, there are really only two ways to beat back the inferno—beer and ice cream—and there is really nothing better in the whole wide world than a cold St. Arnold’s or Shiner in a frosty mug followed by an even colder scoop, or three, of Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cross-Curricular Initiatives PPT Presentation

I put together a PPT today on cross-curricular initiatives for a STH faculty in-service. I'm not sure if I will even be presenting it yet, but it is definitely a subject that interests me greatly. I wrote my Master's Thesis on interdisciplinarity and its application in Catholic schools, so, yeah, I dig it. Let me know what you think! I realize that one or two of the slides got a bit blurred when I uploaded it to Google Docs. I apologize for that. You can access the PPT here or below.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jesus' Fortitude Before the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes

Jesus’ altruism never fails to astonish me. Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew recounts the famous miracle of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes. I have heard this story many times in my life, and it always strikes a chord and resonates with me. Usually the narrative focuses my attention on the Eucharistic mystery and its sacramental foreshadowing in Christ’s feeding of the five thousand. I have also wondered with exceeding wonder at the generous and gracious heart of our Lord and Savior. The perpetual kid in me sometimes dwells on the miraculous omnipotence of God to do so much with so little. This time, though, what caught my attention is Jesus’ fortitude and stark humanity.

At the outset of the reading, Jesus has just found out that John the Baptist has been executed, clearly an ominous portent of what is to come in his own life, and he withdraws to be by himself in the comfort of solitude. Jesus’ prayer and isolation are interrupted, no disrupted really, however, when the masses pursue him ravenous for his teaching. Can you imagine the emotional turmoil and inner conflict that Jesus must have felt? The reality of his terrible destiny at the cross is beginning to dawn on him with the death of the prophet. He must be feeling real fear and struggling to get a handle on it before he continues with his mission. Instead of rest and convalescence, Jesus finds a mob at his feet testing his mettle even further. And how does he respond? The only way he knows how to: with love and the breaking of the bread. You just gotta love this man! It is a real test of courage to put aside his own personal angst to shepherd his needy people and to satiate their spiritual and physical hunger. Jesus does so without complaint in the true spirit of charity. It is easy to put my faith in such a warm and hospitable savior.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why I Love Zombie Fiction

For some, it’s vampires. For others, it’s witches. For still others, it’s ghosts. But for me, it’s all about the zombies. In the last few years, I have been ravenously gobbling up these stories like one of the living dead greedily slurping up a still bloody strip of man flesh. I cannot quite place my finger on exactly why I have such an uncanny interest in these spine-tingling narratives, but maybe it has something to do with their exploration of the dark side of humanity, like all occult subjects; or perhaps, it is, ironically, their curious spotlighting of man’s fundamental goodness that can never quite be snuffed out no matter how hopeless a post-apocalyptical world may seem; however, maybe it is the versatility of the zombie flick aesthetic or its seemingly universal applicability to the germane social issues of the time; finally, I wonder it if it is just one of those pesky “all of the above” answers that test-makers plant at the end of a sequence of multiple-choice questions to make test-takers question their gut instincts and ponder if this is a trick question or not. No trick questions here. It’s definitely all of the above.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Frakking & Fracking: Best Homophones Ever!

Growing up in a house with four brothers and then teaching at an all-boys high school, the crass culture of cussing has been with me all my life, but now that I am a teacher I have to watch my language. Enter Battlestar Galactica to save the day. By substituting frakking, frakked, or frak in place of that other very familiar four-letter word beginning with the letter f, I have been able to avoid blurting out a word that might jeopardize my job security or taint my character.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Playing Chicken With Our Economy

Playing chicken with our economic security is probably not the best or surest method of problem solving in a national crisis, nor is it a particularly exemplary model of leadership. Frankly, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and leads me to wonder if there is anyone out there not disillusioned with the political process yet. I’m sure there are a few idealists left, but there numbers are surely dwindling as representatives on both sides of the aisle prove obstinate in their unwillingness to budge on the issue and break the current partisan quagmire.