Monday, August 31, 2009

A Hodge Podge of Things ...

I'm long overdue on a blog post and there are so many things I could write about. So, I am just going to touch briefly on several different things ...
  • First Week of School: ... was amazing. For the first time, I feel 100% comfortable in the classroom. I am FINALLY teaching something for the second time. In my first three years, I taught Algebra 1A, Algebra 1B, Algebra II, Geometry, PreCalculus, Tech Math II and SAT Prep (the math section). It is so nice to have found my niche in Algebra II. Truth be told, I hated Algebra II in my first year of teaching ... now I think it's wonderful! :) I have fabulous classes of extremely studious students. I'm at the point when I assign homework, they have no questions ... it's wierd. I walk and walk and walk and nothing ... wierd, but fullilling. I am excited that our school is smaller (another high school opened in the county and took our students & teachers), easier to walk around, filled with great teachers and great administrators. I am blessed to be in my school where integrating technology is becoming a must and is well supported.

  • If you follow me on Twitter (@msgregson) and don't live under a rock, you recently saw me debut my summer project: Links for Educators. It is a searchable database of education-related websites. There are still many things that we would like to incorporate and I already have a list of about 100 websites that I need to add to it, but it's there and has about 200 great websites already. We've been using Google Analytics to track visitors and I've been shocked at the different countries that people have visited from. I guess that's the power of the Twitter PLN! :) We also decided to add Google AdSense to the website. We've embedded Google Ads into the website and for each click on an ad, we receive money! It's like magic! We make money by visitors clicking links. It's unheard of! We've had a slow start making money, but I have no doubt it'll pick up. We broke even, so that's all I can ask for right now! I keep saying we, I know. We includes my boyfriend - the computer programmer. Without him, this website would not exist. My programming skills are there, but not where they need to be to do something like this. He's a genius! There will be a Version 2.0 of L4E coming soon. If there's anything you'd like to see, just let us know!

  • Twitter: Where do I even begin? I have met so many amazing people on Twitter. I have expanded my network, I have great conversations, I pose questions and get answers, I get to help other teachers. I mean, it's an amazing resource. I don't think I've ever thought THIS much about my classroom. But, my fellow Twitterers have helped me to do so and make me think of things I wouldn't normally think of! Thank you to my PLN. Life is wonderful with you! I am still learning how to balance school and twitter, but it's a great resource!

  • Technology In The Classroom: I have to say, I'm overwhelmed. I sit at my desk during planning and after school trying to wrap my head around all the technology I'm using. Making sure it's linked, relevant and great. I feel like I'm using too much, but then again, it's all working. I'm introducing a class study guide wiki tomorrow, nervous about that. I am introducing the Glogster Project for my Algebra II class next week. We're going to be using Google Docs this week. Lots of new things and I'm nervous it'll blow up in my face. But, we'll make it work. I love our new iLab. Teachers aren't using it yet - which leaves it for me whenever I want! Maybe they'll never realize it's power and I can use it all the time! :) Hahaha ... no no, I want them in there too! My projector for my SMARTBoard went down last week, so I've been whiteboarding it up lately. I know I did it for two whole years, but man, I don't like it! :) But, we make do with what we've got!
I could write forever ... the thoughts in my head are spinning. I've got my classroom, clubs, technology, grad school, you name it, I'm doing it. And, it's thrilling. I love my job, life, school, friends, family and my PLN. I grow everyday. Thank you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Prezi (the NEW powerpoint!)

It's Friday afternoon ... I'm sitting in my classroom on this teacher workday working away. I'm working the concession stand at the first football game of the season tonight, so I'm waiting to head down to the field. While I am waiting, I started to reflect on the past three workdays and the one we have left before students arrive on Tuesday.

I love my school. I love the people around me. I love math. I love teaching. I love my job. It is so wonderful. My life has turned to technology this past summer and everyone in this school is so supportive of technology and its use in the classroom.

I want to share my newest love. It's called Prezi. It is the NEW powerpoint. It is so interactive. It created a giant map of your information and you create a path through it. It is so innovative and it really helps your thought process. It doesn't have to be a linear presentation like powerpoint, very broken up. It moves and flows and I'm in love. While it is about near impossible to type math into, I have been using it in SAT Prep, where less math and more words. I could never use it, in its current version, to teach Algebra II or any other core math class. But, for words and information, it's amazing. You can imbed videos, images, etc. It's web-based, so no software! Your presentations store online and can be accessed online. They even have a way to download it to be used offline. It's great! Check out my presentations for the first four days in SAT Prep.

Real Numbers, Fractions & Decimals
Percents & Proportions
Factors, Multiples, Remainders and Divisibility

I hope you enjoy Prezi as much as I do and find ways to incorporate it into the classroom. I'm looking forward to Tuesday and seeing what the kids think of it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

the past and present ... and future!

Whew, it's been a long time since my last post. But, I don't think I have that many followers, so I don't think anyone was really missing out.

I've been busy planning away for the start of the school year, now just two weeks away. I've already incorporated so many new (for me) things into my classroom. I've got a classroom wiki ( now with information for students and parents. It is so much easier to use and update than our School Center sites, so I hope it works. I've embedded a Google Calendar in it to post section numbers, homework assignments, quiz/text dates, etc. So, hopefully that will keep me (and my students) more organized. I can update it from MY gmail account, which is easy access for me. I have been creating away Google Docs ... using them in lieu of student information sheets and for a new parent survey (student:, parent: I've created weekend assignments ( and presentations via Google Docs. I'm investigating the power of a Ning in a classroom, but not sold on it for a MATH classroom. (It looks GREAT for English & History discussions.) I'm planning uses for the iPod. We've incorporated a wiki ( as a way for our BETA Club students to sign up for service projects. And, I've created a SAT Prep wiki for reference for my SAT Prep class as well as all students at my school. (

I have (just this week) found some amazing math people on Twitter and my world has opened up. I found a guy who created an Algebra II Google Group and an Algebra II folder where people have posted ALL their Algebra II stuff. It excites me greatly to look through what others do in their classroom. I just found a gal who is teaching Honors Algebra II with laptops in the classroom. I've gotten in Twitter discussions about homework, bell ringers, technology - anything, you name it. I am so glad to have found these math people. While I was valuing all the technology talk, I was lacking the math talk ... until now.

I sat in on a Second Life session (via @ejulez and @mohax) at my school and while I didn't learn a whole lot of new stuff myself, it was equally enlightening to watch new teachers become SL newbies and see it's power. I had forgotten about that newbie feeling. It was great to relive that.

I recently posed the thought that I am not motivated to plan because I don't have a planner. The obvious response from my PLN was that I don't need a planner because of google docs and google calendars. I agree and have been using those, but I still love the paper and pencil planner. It can sit on my desk, I can reference it whenever I want too and I don't have to stare at a computer screen to know my agenda for the day.

Also in my research, I am finding so many lessons by teachers that are videos. Powerpoint slides, etc in a video format. And, it got me to thinking ... is technology going to replace teachers eventually? It's a scary thought that already teachers are just showing videos to teach instead of the teacher-student interaction method of teaching. I love my students, I love getting to know them, I love the back and forth in the classroom ... I hope we never lose that. @jimwysocki had a good point: "if people were able to self-motivate regularly, yes. until then, there is no replacing a motivating teacher." @mctownsley came back and said "the answer to that question might depend on whether or not you believe quality education involved not only rigor, but also relationships." and, lastly, @jmiscavish said "somebody will have to run the technology ... but yes, soon enough, i'll be obsolete." I love technology, don't get me wrong. But, I hope that technology will NEVER EVER replace teachers. We are too important. For some kids, we are their only role model, the only positive adult in their life. Students need to learn how to talk to adults and learn from them. Teachers need to be there to motivate, push and show. I sure hope I never live in (or my kids or grandkids or great-grandkids) live in a world where technology has REPLACED teachers. I only hope to live in a world where technology works right along with teachers to enhance learning.

Alright, I think I've vented enough for the day.