This week I received an email from one of our high school teachers who is fortunate to have a full set of CR-48 Chromebooks (thanks Google!) to use with her students each day. The email from this teacher stated simply:
“Read below….all because of Google Docs!!! (I’m not forwarding this to brag about myself, but to show you the power and accessibility of Google Docs. Almost 90% of my students downloaded her notes to study from.”
The following is what she sent, which was a note from a parent to the science department chairperson. I have not edited it at all.
“Just wanted to take a moment as a parent of a North student to commend one of the teachers from your department. My daughter has many strengths but has also had weaknesses in math and science. She works extremely hard and can be very obsessive about taking notes and being organized with materials. However, this quality can sometimes interfere with how she is learning the material and have her miss a lot of what is actually being taught. Her strength is taking notes. She could not understand why if she was taking great notes, why she wasn’t doing well on exams and not grasping important concepts. She likes to challenge herself and that is why she took college level courses and is excited about college.
After scoring low on a few Marine Biology exams, Mrs. Bernasconi decided to meet with my daughter. She was impressed with her note taking skills and realized that she could use this strength to teach Ariel how to take notes to reteach herself the material that can help with the exam. She assigned her to be the class notetaker and now posts her notes on her website. This has given her a new purpose and she makes sure that pertinent facts are in her notes. She is proud that students are coming up to her and praising her for her good notes and how they help them study for the test. She gets comments in the hallway like “Hey Ariel! Can you do that for every test?” She notices how many students are viewing her notes online. She feels proud that her strength is being used in a productive manner and today came to me and said “Mom, having the notes posted online has even made a difference for me because I feel like I understand everything more now because my notes have to be clear enough for all!” For the first time she feels confident about this class and feels good about today’s test. I don’t know how she did but I do know that her confidence has gone from 20% to 100% and it wasn’t enough for me to thank Heidi but I wanted to let administration know. As a teacher myself, I know the importance of feeling appreciated and knowing that I’ve made a difference in a child’s life. This is a classic special ed approach that should be used in ALL classes. Using the student’s strength to motivate and improve learning. This is clearly an example of a great teacher.”
Ariel’s notes, referred to in her mother’s letter, can be read here, and speaks volumes.
It is an honor to be a part of the transformation that’s taking place in our schools. The synergistic effect of great teachers and powerful online tools (Google Apps) is simply amazing.