Friday, December 15, 2023

Using Bard in Creating Grammar Lessons for ELA

I'm back in an ELA classroom part-time at ASP for G6 and G7. I'm loving being with students everyday in the role of teacher, rather than principal. I enjoy the challenges and struggles of administration, but being in the classroom is always more fun. Our current textbook for ELA is from HMH and it is a good book, but sometimes I feel like not doing certain work online. Grammar is something I feel works better offline for me. Giving students time to practice reading examples of sentences and then creating their own examples without the distractions of the online world can be a good break from digital life. The grammar lesson for this particular unit is dealing with Simple, Compound, and Complex sentences. The HMH lesson was good, but I thought — let's see how Bard handles the idea.

I typed in the following prompt: Explanation for 7th grade students about simple sentences with 10 examples of simple sentences. The results were this lesson about Simply Sentences. I was pretty happy with the results and the style, so I used the prompt two more times, but changed it to Compound Sentences and Complex Sentences. I'll be teaching these lessons next week, so I will return to provide my experience with the students.

Update 12.19.23

I used the lessons with both of my middle school classes and it went quite well. Students asked many questions about how I used AI to create the lessons. It lead to natural discussions about ethical use of AI technology. We wrote our practice sentences together in class. We will be working on Argumentative Essays after the holiday, so they will be expected to use Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences correctly in the essay.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Make One Thing Better Everyday 2

For those of you who have followed my blog for awhile, you probably remember a post from the past I wrote called Make One Thing Better Everyday. It was moderately popular as far as my blog goes. The idea came again to me today at my new job at ASP. One of our teachers was struggling with Google Classroom. For some reason, she wasn't able to make a Google Classroom on our domain. I guessed that as a new teacher, she was never added to the Google Group for teachers at ASP. Later after several discussions with the IT ladies, we determined that the teacher was, in fact, on the Google Group. We had her log out and log back in, restart the computer, checked to make sure she wasn't on a different Chrome account — everything was set up as it should be. I told the IT ladies, "I have one last idea. Take the teacher off the list and put her back on." They did me one better; they removed every teacher and then put them all back on... And it worked! Now the teacher's account can create Google Classrooms in our domain. So that was my making one thing better for today. One teacher is now very happy, because she can use Google Classroom and the IT folks know one more trick to try if something isn't working for a teacher. I guess it is really like making two things better, but who is counting? LOL.

Monday, September 4, 2023

New School Year, New School

It has been one heck of a ride during the last year. I had a short tour at a principal at a school in Cambodia and then returned to Korea to be at an ASP branch in Daegu. Both of those situations were difficult, but I found ways to survive them. Luckily both of those experiences lead me to where I currently am — American STEM Prep in Gwanggyo. I'm currently serving as the Vice Principal. My focus in on the secondary school and the Principal is focusing on the elementary school. We have a small, but thriving little school that has grades 6 to 10. I'm also teaching middle school science until the science teacher arrives in late October. Science is a stretch for me, but I'm excited to be back in a classroom with middle school students. Once the science teacher arrives, the Curriculum Director and I will split the middle school English classes between us. As it stands right now, we are both teaching full-time in addition to our admin roles. Not easy, but definitely worth it. The kids are great! We have a nice little leadership team for the secondary that includes a Head Teacher, Curriculum Director, and me (Vice Principal). We are utilizing Google Chats & Spaces to facilitate communication and it is working quite well so far. Day one is in the books! Looking forward to finishing the first week of school at ASP.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

iMovie App Basics

Another quick lesson for students and teacher new to iPads. This one is about iMovie. I broke my class into groups of teachers and students together, because everyone at ASPD is new to iPads. Please feel free to reuse and remix this activity.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Clips App Basics


Between the instructions and Tasks, you can post your groups. I was working with five pairs as teams.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Everybody Wants to Talk About Accountability, But Nobody Wants to be Accountable

"Everybody wanna go up to heaven/but nobody wanna die/I don't know why." Peter Tosh

I'm going to tell a personal story from a few years ago. I will change the names to protect everyone's privacy and feelings. I have a school friend who we will call Cindy. Cindy is someone I've known for going on 40 years. 

A few years ago, one of her children was graduating from high school. He joined a group of kids on a senior prank. It was common for soon-to-be graduates to break into the school on the weekend before graduation and move furniture around and leave some goofy posters. For years it was the tradition and had never gone too far with the "damage." In fact, there had never been damage, just some stuff moved around and a few funny posters put up. No harm done. Unfortunately this time, things were a little different. A smaller group of kids from the larger group had decided to do cause some real trouble. Things got ugly. Real vandalism occurred: property was destroyed, walls were spray painted. Cindy's son wasn't actually involved with the real vandalism and wasn't actually in the area where it happened, but he was in the school. I believe her about her son not being in the wrong group, but again — he did break into the school.

The principal found out who some of the people involved were and slowly managed to get a decent list of people involved with the general shenanigans as well as the destructive ones. He pressed charges on those who did real damage to the school and then the principal decided that anyone who had broken into the school would not be able to walk at graduation. Cindy lost her mind. She, and some friends, took to social media and the editorial page of the local paper to air their grievances about the unjust nature of the punishment. Cindy is a parent I know personally. She told me on many occasions that people who commit crimes should be punished. But, when it came to her son, even though he was definitely and admittedly in the school when he should have been, she didn't want punishment.

And that is the real problem I see in society right now — everybody wants to talk about accountability, but nobody wants accountability when it comes to them. We want accountability in theory, but not in practice. Sadly that isn't how accountability works, gang. I can see it in schools all the time. The parent who wants "high standards," but then when his child doesn't make the grade, he wants the child's grade raised. The teacher who doesn't accept late work from students, but routinely fails to do lesson plans, provide feedback, or evaluate assessments in a timely manner. The administrator who has no empathy toward a teacher's personal matters outside of work, but then leaves work early to go to the doctor or the bank. It goes around and around and everyone screams out, "Where is the accountability?" However when put in a situation, they are quicker to say, "But there should be an exception for me!"

Monday, February 6, 2023

The Difficulties of Opening New Private International School in Daegu, Korea (according to ChatCPT)

A few weeks back, I wrote a blog post about the difficulties of opening new school in Daegu, Korea. It focused on the specific challenges we were facing in doing it, but I was curious to see what ChatGPT thought the difficulties would be. Overall, ChatGPT was right on the money, but I feel that it is because new schools face similar problems everywhere, so it was easy for the AI to "answer" the question. Here is the answer it provided:

Opening a new private international school in Daegu, South Korea can present various difficulties that need to be overcome to ensure success. Some of the significant challenges are:

Competition: Daegu is a competitive market for international private schools, with many established institutions offering similar programs and services. New schools need to differentiate themselves to attract students and also compete with online education options. (This was interesting, because there aren't actually many international schools in Daegu. I'm very interested in how this part of the answer come out. I'm guessing ChatGPT was working of a general source of information about opening international schools in general and it applied it to Daegu without checking to see if that was the case locally. As this technology evolves over time, it will be able to give specific information from a location.)

Cultural differences: South Korea has a unique culture, language, and educational system that can be challenging for those unfamiliar with the country. Schools must understand and be inclusive of these cultural differences to build a supportive community.

Regulatory compliance: International private schools in South Korea must comply with a complex set of regulations and standards at the national and local levels, including obtaining necessary licenses, permits, and certifications, and meeting student safety, curriculum, and teacher qualifications standards.

Staffing: Recruiting and retaining qualified staff is crucial, but can be challenging as the pool of qualified international educators may be limited and competition for top talent is fierce. Schools must offer competitive compensation and benefits and have a supportive workplace culture.

Marketing and enrollment: Marketing and enrollment are major challenges for any new school, and schools must effectively communicate their unique value proposition, build a strong reputation, and align their programs with changing demands and expectations.

Infrastructure and facilities: Developing necessary infrastructure and facilities can be costly, especially in a city like Daegu with high real estate prices, and schools must consider the long-term maintenance and operational costs.

Curriculum and program development: Developing a quality curriculum and educational program is critical and schools must adapt to changing needs and expectations of students.

IT infrastructure and technology: Schools need robust IT infrastructure and technology to support operations and meet the needs of students and staff, which can be a significant challenge for new schools.

Financing: Obtaining sufficient financing to cover the costs of opening a new school can be difficult, especially in a competitive market like Daegu. Schools may need to secure loans, grants, or partnerships with investors to secure funding.

These are some of the difficulties that a new private international school in Daegu may face. Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning, effective communication, and a commitment to providing high-quality education.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Opening a New School — The Struggles, part 1

Opening a new school is a collection of struggles, but those struggles are intensified when you try to do it in the middle of the academic year. Since Covid-19 and the now well documented "quiet quitting" that is happening in education, finding qualified teachers was going to be difficult. However, finding qualified educators in the middle of the school year is a very difficult uphill climb. Somehow, Brandon (our Director) and I have managed to find three teachers and we have a few more interviews this week. 

The other struggle has been finding students. Daegu International School has a huge waiting list, but that

doesn't mean parents are willing to jump into a new school. Korean parents take education very seriously and the culture of Daegu is also a little more conservative than Seoul, Busan, or Incheon. The parents want to see proof. But how does that happen without students? It is a real pickle. We did have a parent information session last Saturday and around 15 parents showed up to listen to our explanations of why American STEM Prep was a great investment in their child's future, but now we have to see if any of parents give us a try. One of the public schools here in an IB school, so many parents think, "The public schools of Daegu are great, why pay?"

Then we have the added problem that the building we will be using is still in the process of being renovated and won't be finished until mid-February. So we can't really take parents and students on a tour of the school. Furthermore, due to now being open, our website is still under construction, so we don't really have an online presence to show off. The ASE website looks great, but the Daegu section isn't available yet.

So you are probably to yourself, "Why Tim? Why would you do this job?" It is a fair question, but I absolutely love the challenge of it. I like being at the opening of a new school and working with colleagues to figure out all of the little things that need to be done. Building the culture as you go.