1:1 Classroom – Subtext

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Going completely 1:1 in the classroom is both exhilarating and challenging. I have been at it for half a quarter now and I am treading water in hurricane. I thought I might share my experiences with a few of the apps I am using in class in order to let out some frustrations perhaps, but also to see if there is any way I can improve my use of the app.

The app that is at the forefront of my love and hate is Subtext. This app is extremely helpful when it comes to directing students what to look for when they read, allowing the teacher to give assignments to be completed within the app. These assignments can be canned assignments created by the Subtext team (which are tagged to Common Core Standards) or your own teacher made assignments. This has been really helpful for me, allowing me to see student’s highlighting in text and thoughtful responses (mostly) to standards-based open-ended questions I wrote. The interface is easy to manipulate as well, allowing me to give 1-4 stars as assessment.

My students have had mixed reviews of the app. They find the search feature in the app very helpful when it comes time to find significant quotes to use in their writing. Some have taken advantage of the app’s ability to read the text to them; however, the robotic, monotone voice leaves much to be desired. Also, the highlighting feature is somewhat cumbersome and sensitive.

Overall, the app allows me to see more of my students’ thinking as they read than I had before with paperback books and sticky notes. Also, I can read their notes without removing the book from their hands. Unfortunately to get many of the features I like, a school needs to purchase a premium account for every student who needs to use the app. A teacher can have only 30 premium accounts for free, but most teachers have far more than 30 students.

Anyone use Subtext and has other ideas to share? Perhaps even another app like it worth trying?

Back on the Plan

Well, school has begun. I am only half way through the first full week and the usual exhaustion has set it. I always see the beginning of the year like starting a new workout program. The first week or so is the most exciting and the most exhausting. You are sore and tired (and sometimes questioning why you even started this program).

But I know that this is what I love to do. This is what challenges me. What gives me purpose. What keeps my mind toned and energized. Bring it!

Getting everything just right

There is so much to do! I am sitting out in the backyard looking at the beginnings of a midwestern plain since the grass has grown so high, but all I am doing is trying to figure out how to get links to my pages online. Finally did it, though, so you can see a bit about me why this blog has the title that it does. I am also really excited about this blogging challenge by EduBlogs. It will give me the push I want to do something with this blog. It will also give me an example to show my students.

This is what I tend to do the week before school starts, find any opportunity to do something OTHER than prepare for classes to begin. Don’t get the wrong idea, I have done quite a bit, but with so much still left to do, I am getting back to my procrastinating ways. Cheers!

Starting to blog

My first post is really about it being my first post. You have to start somewhere and this is where I will start. I want to blog so that I can have a concrete (alright, electronic) place for my thoughts. Before this I would just have them in my head or share them with my wife, daughter, or friends, but that is where they would end. Now I will have a place to keep them that will not forget them. I will not make the argument right now whether they are worth remembering or not. Some will be and others will not. Either way, they will be here, for me and whomever else wants to read them.