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Showing posts from January, 2011

Sample Revenue Table and Graph

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This is a example of a student's Revenue Table and Graph.  (It's small but you can still see what the students have been working on for a few days now.) Students needed to learn how to create a subtotal formula in order to accurately reflect categories with subtotaled revenue, much like a real city budget). There are many more subtotaled sections in the Expenditures table for them to practice this skill.
(Thank you, Jeremy, for emailing your work to me.)

Patience

The best laid plans...

Data entry is going to take much longer than I first thought, and that's okay--it's part of the process of implementing a project for the first time. The students need to create a simple formula for all of the subtotaled categories I've created or their budgets won't calculate properly and the expenditures budget has a lot of subtotaled sections.

Students also had to think about why one of the expenditure categories (Public Safety) has a negative balance.  (That was intentional--students may have to lay off some Public Safety employees or make cuts in other parts of their budget to keep their citizens safe).

Students were once again helping meteach other classmates today when questions arose.  I enjoy watching these "computer experts" feel confident in their skills and assist their peers.

Monday we will continue data entry and I will patiently wait for groups to be ready to analyze their budgets.

Data Entry

We started entering our Revenue and Expenditures data today (we'll finish tomorrow) and the students are becoming more comfortable and proficient with Numbers.  Saving documents to Numbers is something the students were unfamiliar with so we are learning how to do it together. 

Another issue today dealt with widening cells.  One of my fourth hour students figured it out and taught the class.  I enjoy having the students show their classmates what they know--it makes the "teacher" feel good and their peers appreciate it, as well.

Tomorrow is the beginning of what I've been waiting for: discussions and debates about the budget.

"This is so cool!"

That was pretty much the phrase for the day. 

My classes worked with their iPads today for the first time and were really impressed with them.  They used the Keynote and Numbers tutorials and I like how much there was for them to learn and work with--the tutorials are very thorough.  They kept students engaged and they were helping each other with the practice activities while I monitored and provided assistance, as well.

Interestingly, the room was quiet every class period as my students were engrossed in learning.  This technology kept them very focused and they really appreciated being able to use it.  I am pleasantly surprised by how smoothly it all fell into place. All in all, a terrific start!

The "What" and "Why" of our Project

Tomorrow my students will be receiving the specifics of our project.  The objective is that students are members of the (fictional) Peaceful Pines, Michigan City Council and they must balance the city budget.  I will give them data that shows a budget that's approximately 2 million dollars in the red and they must analyze it and determine how to either generate more revenue for the city, make cuts to city services, or (most likely), both.

We're doing this simulation for many reasons.  Students will be using reasoning skills to justify their final budgets.  I expect there to be great discussion and debate amongst group members as to how to rank what they view as important to city residents.  They will have to use critical thinking skills when they persuade group members to see their viewpoints and to explain to their residents why they must make cuts.  The students will also use the iPads to create spreadsheets, prepare a Keynote presentation of their findings and write about t…

Pages, Keynote and Numbers Videos

Today my classes finished viewing all three of the application videos from Apple.  Seeing what each app could do made my students feel more comfortable with the programs and more ready than ever to get started. Keynote seemed to be the favorite app--they loved all of the animation it provided.

I also pointed out to my students that I would be asking them throughout our experience for insight as to why iPads are useful in a classroom and what makes the iPad different than a standard laptop or desktop computer. I look forward to their thoughts.

Introducing Pages

I spoke to each of the classes today about the project and the apps we'll be using.  Some of my students have little to no experience with iPads, others not only are familiar with them but own one.  We started watching the Pages video today and the students couldn't wait to work with it!  They are particularly impressed with its ability to wrap text around pictures.  They were also excited about the touch-screen capability, unlike typical computers.  Tomorrow we will examine Numbers.

Preparing Students for the iPads

The iPads will be in my classroom soon and I'm trying to decide how to help the students in my classes that (like me) haven't had a lot of experience using them.

I think I will do this by downloading the videos of the apps we will be using (Pages, Keynote and Numbers), have them watch the videos and write down their thoughts.  My district Moodle page has many links to resources and tutorials to help me. After my preview students will get a feel of how iPads work and all of the new and interesting features available to them. They'll have a bit more prior knowledge and that will shorten the learning curve so that we can dive in and get to our project.

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After watching the app videos I am very excited to start working with the iPads! I know my students will be, too, and we're going to make the most of the time they're in our classroom.