Mrelrod.com

About Me

My Ability to Teach a Variety of Subjects

My main strength is that I am multifaceted person. Although during most of my teaching career I have taught technology, I am equally at ease with teaching other subject areas. In fact, my student teaching assignment was in social studies and language arts. Click here to view a few lessons I created including one on a topical subject: discrimination. I believe this website and my discrimination unit clearly illustrates my diverse interests and reflects favorably on how I was able to integrate technology with core subject areas and the arts. It also shows my desire to get students involved in having a positive impact on their communities.

My CPS Experience and the Evolution of My Technology Teaching

I taught technology for 15 years in the Chicago Public School (CPS) system at the K-12 grade level. My initial teaching assignment was as a 6th grade social studies teacher at Pritzker School. However, the retiring teacher decided to not retire, so I became the computer teacher at Pritzker, which was interesting position as Pritzker didn't have a computer lab, so my first task was putting one together. My teaching in my early years revolved around teaching the components of the Microsoft Office suite of applications: Word, Excel, Publisher, and PowerPoint. Nonetheless, I always tried to connect what I was teaching to something students were doing in their classrooms. For instance, for a classroom that was learning multiplication facts, I would show the class how to create and format a table in a Word and then have them design and print a multiplication table using the skills they just learned. I also introduced students to programming and often started a class with a mini-lesson on a technology, math, or science related topic such as using number bases other than 10. A lesson on bases would allow me to expose students to how our decimal system works, how numbers can be represented in bases other than the familiar decimal or base 10 system, what and how exponents are used, how to derive basic properties and laws of exponents, and how and why computers use number in binary (base 2) form. I didn't restrict my mini-lessons to science and math topics. I also had students do things like create graphs in Excel using data from social studies. The data I choose was often linked to social inequality issues such as poverty. Overall, my goal was to have students use the skills they learned in the computer lab in their classrooms in a transparent manner. For example, students using a Word document table to summarize the results of a science lab experiment. Unfortunately, most classrooms only had 2 or 3 computers, so most class projects had to be done in the our computer labs, which was a less than an ideal way to integrate technology into a classroom.

In recent years, the ubiquitous availability of the Internet via improved wireless technology and more so the development of relatively affordable portable devices such as the iPad and Chromebooks have begun to revolutionize computer instruction and usage in schools. Hence at Scammon, my goal was to get a device into the hands of every student, and before I left Scammon, we reached the point where all students either had a Chromebook (3rd through 8th) or iPad (K-2nd) that they used throughout the day in a hybrid learning environment. Students used their devices in all subjects. For instance, they even took their devices to art, music, and physical education. Furthermore, students used their devices in a robust manner. They used their devices to collaborate with other students and communicate with their teachers. They shared documents, presentations, and spreadsheets with each other as they worked in teams. Students also were introduced to the usage of technologies such as 3D printer, robotics, and laser cutters. In essence, students were using technology throughout the day in a way that paralleled how they will use technology when they enter the workplace. In addition, Scammon had two teaching computer labs, and a labs that teacher could reserve to work on classroom projects.

In My Spare Time

In my spare time, I like to walk and run and have a streak of over 1300 days of getting in 10000 steps, which is about 5 miles per day. I used to love playing basketball. I like to read, but mostly nonfiction. I am currently reading a book called Imaginary Numbers. It is about numbers that were invented to find the square roots of negative numbers such as -1. For example, the square root of 1 is equal to 1 and -1 one since 1 multiplied by itself is 1 (1*1=1), and -1 multiplied by itself is also equal to 1 (-1*-1=1) . However, when you try to find the square root of -1, you will quickly realize there is no number in the real number system that you can multiply by itself to get -1. Hence, a number represented by the letter "i" was invented to be the square root of -1. Although they are called imaginary number, they are actually extraordinarily useful in math, science, and have an intimate connection to nature similar to the number π. In general, I like to do things that are physical or that allow me to learn something new.

Accomplishments

Computer Teacher/Technology Coordinator, Sept. 2008-2017

Scammon School

  • Developed a Rich, Engaging, and Standards-Based Computer Curriculum and Taught it to Students in Grades K-8

  • Introduced students to a wide variety of uses of technology such 3D design and printing, CAD, digital audio workstations, etc.

  • Introduced students to the intimate connections between computers, math, science, and social science through lessons in symbolic math, binary numbers, basic electronics and physics, privacy issues, fact checking, etc.

  • Worked to Develop a Transparent, Robust Integration of Technology in All Classes

  • Received Excellent Rating on Reach Performance Evaluation and 3.97 score on Professional Practice Section

  • Managed Software and Hardware Technology Resources

  • Implemented Girls on the Run Program

  • Served on Instructional Learning Team and test data analysis team

  • Coordinated Creation of First Place City of Chicago NATO Welcoming Video Contest Entry

  • Coordinated and Wrote Several Parts of Successful CPS Three iPad Cart Grant Entry

  • Oversaw Transition from a Traditional Computer Lab Based Technology Environment to a One Device per Student Hybrid Learning Environment in Grades 1-8

  • Developed and Maintained School Website and Created School Publicity Videos

  • Conducted Teacher and Parent Technology Training Classes

Computer Teacher/Technology Coordinator, Sept. 1999-2006

A.N. Pritzker School

  • Continued Developing a Rich, Engaging, and Standards-Based Computer Curriculum and Taught it to Students in Grades K-8

  • Received Superior Rating on Evaluation Every Year

  • Managed Software and Hardware Technology Resources

  • Served on LSC

  • Wrote School’s Technology Plan and Completed E-rate Application

  • Wrote Successful $45,000 Technology Literacy Grant and Managed Grant Project

  • Managed Illinois Workforce Advantage Grant in Conjunction with Near Northwest Side Neighborhood Network (NNNN)

  • Served on School Improvement Plan Committee

  • Created and organized Family Math and Science Night

  • Competed Gifted Institute Training

  • Conducted Summer Science and Technology Program for Students in Gifted Program

  • Developed and Maintained School Website and Implemented Student Newspaper

  • Successfully Solicited Community Investment and Partnerships in School Technology Improvements

  • Conducted Teacher Technology Training Classes

Endorsements/Education

  • Middle School, Social Studies, Math, Science, Computer Applications, and Computer Science

  • B.A., Elementary Education with High Honors, University of Illinois, Member of Honors College