A break that went my way

Today as I was reviewing some of the material for the unit I’m still teaching for entry 1, I stumbled across a wonderful thing – a useable video for my portfolio. I had only taken it as a means of peer critique. I took a video of student performance (using miniDV camera captured it straight to my laptop), converted it into wmv format (prefer divx, but I windows media player is the only thing that I could be certain would be on all of the school computers), got the site up and running using my googlepages account and then created a free domain name so the students could use it (hooray for .co.nr!). I then used a site to create a web based evaluation form that emailed me the results. Its a pretty sweet little setup.

At any rate, I was reviewing the video after the fact today and thought – crap, I can use this! This means that as of this moment, I’m almost halfway finished with the commentary for entry 1 at this moment and will have it finished before I go to bed tonight (miles to go before I sleep).

Now I can spend the rest of this week doing heavy editing and physical assembly of the portfolio instead of sweating it out to actually continue teaching the unit and writing the commentary at the 11th hour. Now I’m looking pretty comfortable with sending it next day air on Wednesday.

It’s nice to have a break go my way, I really needed this . . .

In unrelated news, I have two posts that I’ve had in my drafts folder for a while. One is titled “if life were more like star trek” and the other “concert etiquette or lack thereof.” The star trek one may not see the light of day, but the concert etiquette one definitely will. Just give me time.

2 Down, 2 to Go

Entry 4 (Documented Accomplishments: Contributing to Student Learning): Done. Simply needs to be re-read and edited as time allows.

Entry 3 (Demonstrating and Developing Musicianship): No change since last post. It’s on the docket for Thursday of this week.

Entry 2 (Delivering Instruction): Done.

Entry 1 (Planning): Taught first lesson of new unit, filmed first video. Went rather well. Since I’m on spring break now I’ve got time to actually write the rest of the unit, then film the 2nd video on the 28th or so, write the commentary that night, give it to a reader on the 29th – make changes, have it at FedEx by 6pm on the 29th.

1 Down, 3 to go

I now have 1 of my 4 portfolio entries finished for all practical purposes. I have recorded the video, edited, and burned it to DVD, as well as writing my 11 page commentary for Entry 2. This entry documents my ability to effectively deliver instruction. That one is done. Here’s where I stand with the rest:

Entry 4 (Documented Accomplishments: Contributing to Student Learning): I’ve done all of the items needed for this, just need to write the commentary and physically gather the evidence. I plan to do this on Saturday and Sunday.

Entry 3 (Demonstrating and Developing Musicianship): I have recorded, edited, and burned to DVD my teaching video for this entry, but still need to write the commentary. That’s the project for Thursday and if need be, Friday (though I’d rather watch Battlestar Galactica).

Entry 2 (Delivering Instruction): Done. I have given this to two different national board certified teachers and asked them to critique it for me. Unless they recommend a major rewrite, all I should have to do is edit.

Entry 1 (Planning): Major problem. The videos I’ve shot thus far suck. The unit I planned revolves around a piece of literature that frankly, turned out to be of lesser quality than I intiially thought. This means I have to start from scratch. The problem is next week is spring break and the portfolio is due in Ewing, NJ on March 31. Looking on the bright side, I have a week to thoroughly plan the unit, but only 7-8 class periods to execute the unit, record two videos each three minutes of length (before and after the unit) and write the commentary. Looks like FedEx will be getting some big bucks out of me that week.

So that’s where I stand at the moment. It’s not where I’d like to be, but at least I know where I am.

Crunch Time

It?s crunch time for me right now. For some strange reason, I decided to pursue National Board Certification this year. Now, that wouldn?t be such a bad thing if I wasn’t trying to pursue a doctoral degree at the same time. A word to the wise: both are worthwhile and rewarding endeavors – just don’t try them at the same time.

My portfolio is due on March 31. I have 4 entries to submit. I?ve done a ton of preparation, but this week it will all be coming together. My plan is to have entry 3 completed by Thursday of next week. Entry 1 needs to be done by 9:00AM on Monday, March 13. I’m using it as one of my required research projects for the doctoral program at Auburn (I’m not a complete idiot, I do dovetail when possible). I’ll be going down next weekend to live in the library at Auburn. My goal is to finish Entry 2 then as well.

That leaves Entry 4 to be the sole thing I need to complete during my spring break (March 13-17). I hope to finish it by Saturday, spend most of Sunday the 19th assembling all of my materials, and then FedEx my portfolio entry to NBPTS on Monday the 20th. That puts me just ahead of the March 31 deadline and the mayhem that certainly surrounds literally thousands of portfolio boxes arriving the week of the 31st. Some even go so far as to fly to the office in person to hand deliver it. I may have procrastinating tendencies, but I’m not that bad.

Well, this ends an evening/night work session that was extremely productive. I’ll try to keep my progress posted.