Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Friday, September 6, 2013

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My Summer School Teachers: Catlin Tucker
Last Spring I heard rave reviews from my California friends who attended CUE and had the privilege of hearing Catlin Tucker's keynote.  So this summer when I was beefing up on the Common Core Standards, I was happy to find several webinars by Catlin on SimpleK12. Catlin is a high school English teacher and the author of Blended Learning in Grades 4-12.  Catlin has a good understanding of the changes and challenges of switching to the Common Core State Standards, and not only clearly lays out the key points, but also offers great examples of how to implement the Common Core in the classroom.  I think that what most impresses me with Catlin is the way she is making blended instruction and technology an integral part of her instruction even though she and her students have limited access to school provided technology.  Catlin finds a way to make it work for she and her students and she inspires others to do the same.

Catlin is a fellow Google Certified Teacher and her school is also a Google Apps for Education school. Catlin takes great advantage of these resources in organizing, managing and teaching her classes.  Students write and collaborate on projects, using docs, presentations and drawing. Students create learning portfolios using Google Sites.  Catlin shares assignments and templates using a shared folder in Google Drive.  Students submit their assignments online. Catlin uses the comment feature in the Google Suite to guide her students in their writing.  Catlin also uses a program called Collaborize Classroom which is similar to Edmodo which we use in our district.  With this program, students are able to have online discussions and share resources to enhance their learning.

A question I always hear when this type of integration is talked about in the classroom is "What about our students who do not have access to the internet at home? "  Catlin's answer to this in words and actions is that they just make it work.  Catlin teaches in a block schedule so her students meet every other day, giving them a little extra time to find access and get assignments done.  Catlin has created a map for her students with places and times  in the school and the community where students can access the internet outside of class time.  Catlin leverages the devices that her students bring into the classroom having students work in pairs, etc, to use the tools they have available.  A few times a month she is able to sign up for her school's computer lab.  She makes the most of this time by having tabs open on her Google Drive with all of the docs her students are currently working on.  She is able to comment and collaborate with students real time.

Check out Catlin's blog where she shares examples of how she uses technology to teach efficiently and effectively.

As I said, Catlin is a high school English teacher and so I highly recommend our secondary ELA teachers take a look at the wealth of resources she has to offer on her blog.  But Catlin has done quite a bit of research on integrating tech with the Common Core in all levels and for both Math and ELA, so we all have something to learn from her talent and generosity in sharing what she has learned.

Thanks Catlin for your expertise, and inspiration. Pin It Now!

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