Opening Letter to Mr. Croy’s Students and Parents, 2016-2017 School Year

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Dear Students and Parents .


Welcome to 7th Grade ELA with Mr. Croy!


I am very excited to begin my 26th year teaching at Oak Harbor Middle School with an amazing team of seventh grade teachers. Seventh grade is going to be your best year ever! I know it.


I am also very excited to be YOUR teacher. We are going to read some great books, write creatively and powerfully, and learn to be great communicators and learners. I have many exciting projects and ideas to share with you for the year. Each will involve your creativity and some cool technology. We have MacBooks for every student in my class and a few iPads too, and many other gadgets, gizmos, and resources. I am always looking for ways to bring technology into our lessons to make the lessons fun and give our writing and communication a genuine audience and an authentic purpose.


I’m looking forward to learning all about you, but first let me tell you about myself. My wife and I have four daughters. I coached football at Oak Harbor for 19 years, wrestling for 10, and track for 10. I have retired from coaching but I still love sports.  I am the advisor of our 7th grade chess club, and co-advisor for our computer and robotics club. I love to write, speak, and art. I graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1991, and earned my Master’s Degree from Bowling Green State University in 1996. My dog, Jedi, is one my closest friends. I love movies, reading, kayaking, music, and, well… just about everything. I’m always trying to learn and do more.


I completely understand what it is like being in a busy family. With that in mind, I want to encourage each of you to agree to a no-stress, no-drama school year. Communicate with me, mark due dates on your calendar, and be prepared. If something comes up, just contact me. I will understand, but we want to build good habits.


I am looking forward to learning about you.  We will start the year with a couple of activities to do just that.


I use the Remind system to send out daily reminders. I am hoping for 100% participation from parents and students with this system. Let me know if you need help signing up. I have sent the paperwork home with your child.


We will have days where I welcome YOUR technology in the classroom. (If you don’t have any, don’t worry; you can use the tech in our class.) You do NOT need an iPad for my classroom, but if you have one, it is welcome with your parents’ permission on special, pre-announced days. I am working on a very special project for Apple involving the iPad. This is NOT a requirement, but I am trying to get as many students involved in this project as possible. Apple is sending their marketing department to my classroom this year to film. This will be exciting and beneficial to our school. Let me know if you have an iPad and are interested. Again, you do NOT need to go get an iPad.


I will post frequent classroom updates on our class website: www.MRCROY.com


Homework for parents: Please complete the 3-2-1 sheet that I have sent home. Include anything you would like me to know about your child. Does your child have any special needs, accommodations, or resources? Do you and your child have any goals for the year? If you need to share something with me privately, email me at kcroy@bcssd.com. Also, please join the Remind service. I have sent papers with directions home. We are aiming for 100% participation.


Homework for students: Please write me a short letter introducing yourself to me. Tell me about yourself. What do you like to do? What have you always wanted to learn? Do you have any favorite books or authors? What are your dreams and goals for life? Are you involved in sports or clubs?


Every student should read for 15 minutes a day. Every day.  Fifteen minutes or more. Every day.


Technology is a big part of my classroom and our year. Please complete and sign the technology letter and return it so you can use all of the tech in our class.  Also, please sign and return the approval to have your picture used from classroom activities and projects. I want to document and share your discoveries, writing, and learning.


I love reading, writing, and all forms of communication. I am going to work hard to help my students become excellent communicators! I challenge them to push themselves to read, write, and create as much as they can this year.


This is going to be a great year!


I am excited to learn about you and be your teacher.


Sincerely,

Mr. Croy

Swift Resources: Learn the Swift Programming Language

 

Swift 2

I host computer and robotics club with my seventh grade students and I am compiling a list of resources for them to learn Swift.  I believe Swift is the future of coding and I am going all-in to learn as much as I can, and to make as many opportunities to help my students learn Swift as well. 

I have written about Swift before, and included some links to resources to learn Swift on your iPhone. You can access that article here: http://wirededucator.com/8-ways-to-start-learning-swift-programming-language-on-your-iphone-for-free/

I am compliling a list of resources to learn Swift below, so bookmark this page and come back often. 

I have included a large list of free resources that I like, and a list of paid resources that I believe are helpful. 

Free resources to learn Swift:

• Code.org is where every student should begin learning to code.  Start here and then move forward with these resources: https://code.org 

• A Quick Swift 2 Quick Start Free Tutorial: https://www.raywenderlich.com/115253/swift-2-tutorial-a-quick-start

• Team Tree House’s Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Learning Swift: http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/an-absolute-beginners-guide-to-swift but please note they do try to bring you in to their paid courses. Just use this guide to learn a little. 

• CodeAcademy is one of my favorite resources. What a great way to learn to code. They do not have a Swift language course yet. Learn Javascript instead as intro to programming language if you want to use CodeAcademy until the provide one for Swift. https://www.codecademy.com I really wish Code Academy would create a Swift Course. 

• Apple provides some amazing free resources for Swift 2: https://developer.apple.com/ios/ and these too https://developer.apple.com/resources/ and this is where you enroll into the Apple Developer Program: https://developer.apple.com/programs/enroll/

• LifeHacker offers this Full Beginner’s Guide to Learning to Code: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2011/02/learn-to-code-the-full-beginners-guide/

• RunSwift: RunSwift is a really cool project. It is free.  It allows you to start learning Swift in your browser! That’s right, you don’t need Xcode to start learning with this project. Check it out: http://www.runswiftlang.com

• Stanford’s free app development course: If you’re interested in making an app for the iPhone or iPad, subscribe to their newly launched iOS 9 course on iTunes U. https://itunes.apple.com/au/course/developing-ios-9-apps-swift/id1104579961

• Ray Wenderlich provides an amazing collection of both written and video tutorials for learning Swift for free: Here are his video tutorials: https://www.raywenderlich.com/video-tutorials and for the written tutorials go here: https://www.raywenderlich.com/category/swift

Paid Resources to Learn Swift: Here are some paid resources to learn Swift (Complete the free ones first.): 

Udemy Course that I like and paid for at a discount: 

                 • The Swift Cookbook of Code: Actual code students can use. https://www.udemy.com/the-swift-cookbook-of-code-snippets-hundreds-of-solutions/learn/v4/overview

                 • Swift Mastery, Build 20 Apps: https://www.udemy.com/build-5-very-cool-apps-with-swift-from-start-to-finish/learn/v4/overview

                 • Swift Essestials, Learn Swift Step by Step: https://www.udemy.com/swift-learn-apples-new-programming-language-by-examples/learn/v4/overview

                 • Build a Trivia Game with Swift: I thought my students might like to build a game to learn how to code. https://www.udemy.com/build-a-trivia-iphone-game-that-monetizes-swift-and-ios-8/learn/v4/overview

                 • Learn the Swift Programming Language for Beginners: https://www.udemy.com/learn-the-swift-programming-language-basics-in-one-day/learn/v4/overview

                 • The Complete Swift Course, Build 15 Real Apps: https://www.udemy.com/complete-ios-developer-course/learn/v4/overview

Other Paid Courses: 

StackSkills: Learn Swift Programming Step by Step: I purchased this course with an incredible discount. I’m not sure what it sells for now.  I would try to use all of the free courses first. https://stackskills.com/courses/learn-swift-programming-step-by-step?code=BA1EF8BCEF5ACDB6A1DF18AB18B2E3D5

• We Heart Swift is a mixture of free and paid content.  Even the paid content is inexpensive: https://www.weheartswift.com/swift-programming-scratch-100-exercises/

Team Tree House: This looks interesting. They have a 7 day free trial and then you can choose a $25 or $49 a month plan. I inquired about educational pricing and received this message from Chelsey, “Thanks for reaching out to us. We’re excited to know you’re interested in joining Treehouse! We’ve outlined our EDU group costs below: Monthly Subscription: $9 a month per Student/Teacher and an Annual Subscription: $90 a year per Student/Teacher. https://teamtreehouse.com

Here are some great resources to learn Swift on your iPhone for free: 

Yes, you can learn Swift Programming Language on your iPhone. Here is a variety of free resources to help you get started learning the new Swift Programming Language on your iPhone. Let me know your favorite in the comments. Also, if you know of any other resources please leave links in the comments. Thanks!

1. The Swift Programming Language iBook by Apple (iBook): Here is the link to the iBook which you can download and consumer on your iPhone. And remember, this is just book one, of the series. This is a great resource by Apple, Inc.

2. The Swift Programming Language iOS Developer website by Apple: This is Apple’s free Developer Library website on Swift free to everyone. Read the overview and check out all of the great free resources. Also check out Apple’s Swift Programming Language Library. Another great website by a third party is: TeamTreeHouse. They offer a great “Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Swift.

3. Kodify a free iPhone app that works a little bit like DuoLingo does for Spanish. I really like this app. It currently has five learning modules with three more in development.  All free.  Here’s the link.

4. Swifty: Another free iPhone app that teaches the basics of Swift Basics. Offers in-app purchases as you progress. The introductory to Swift is very nice and free, and then the five in-app purchase chapters are .99 cents each or you can by them all for $2.99. A great start for free though. Nice app.

5. Udemy: is an app that allows you to download for free and purchase online course from Udemy and take the course on your phone. One of the courses is a great, free course titled An Introduction to Swift for Non-Programmers.

6. YouTube: Believe it or not, Apple has released a complete playlist for learning Swift on YouTube.  Yes, I said YouTube. There are currently 38 videos in this series. Here’s a link to the playlist. 

7. The Swift Blog: This is a blog updated regularly by Apple about updates and resources on and information on The Swift Programming Language.  Check it out here.

8. iTunes University: iTunes U is a great way to learn many things and there are some great courses on how to learn swift. The most prestigious and noteworthy is of course Stanford’s  iTunes U Course: Developing iOS 8 Apps with Swift. It’s free and amazing. You won’t believe how much content is offered.


 

January 4th summary by Aiden, my student.

Today’s summary is written by my student, Aiden. Nice work Aiden.


Screen Shot 2016 01 04 at 10 44 02 PM

“Today in Mr. Croy’s class we were really busy. First, we did our survey about our winter break and figured out our partners for the week. Then,  we read chapter seventeen of Percy Jackson The Lightning Thief. After that, We spent the rest of our time working on our vocab so we would have less homework. All of the student worked hard with their partners and got a lot of their vocab homework done. All in all, Mr. Croy’s class today was pretty laid back and gave us time to get caught up on our homework.”


By: Aiden Hall

Seventh Graders Attend The Force Awakens

Today we took 133 seventh graders to the movies to see The Force Awakens as part of our mythology unit. It was great. We rented the entire theatre. The students received a popcorn, a drink, and a movie ticket for $5.00.  What a wonderful Christmas treat!

We were bussed to Fremont Paramount Cinemas. 

Students did not miss any instruction time. The students would have been in the auditorium playing Minute-To-Win-It, but instead were treated to this curriculum-related treat. 

Students were able to identify plot, archetype, elements of a heroic tale, suspense devices and more in this fun, modern take on classical myths. 

A great day!

 

School Bucks Auction

Students have been earning their School Bucks for months now for grades, behavior, and outstanding work. Today is the day they get to bid on items before Christmas Break!

School Bucks is an interdisciplinary thematic unit where core subject areas collaborate on a single unit to teach common core standards and reward students in a fun way for their work.  The students earn “school bucks” which is fake money that have value only at the culminating activity, the School Bucks Auction. The students earn “school bucks” for improvement, good grades, behavior, and taking on extra work. 

This year’s auction was held at the Oak Harbor VFW hall just days before our Christmas Break. Students bid on items donated by local businesses, teachers, and parents. The prizes were absolutely amazing.  Food, clothing, electronics, and more were donated for the students to earn. 

Students had to keep a register of their money, meet specific objectives to attend the auction, and will write thank you letters to the people who donated items. 

Local auctioneer Chad Brough donated his time for the event and students witnessed the talents and skills of a real life auctioneer. It was incredible. 

We are very proud of this unit. The students did a fantastic job. 

Would You Move to Mars? Scope Magazine: Close Read and ACE Questions.

Today students completed a survey question for attendance: “Is your room clean?”

Our vocab words for the week are: connotative language, rhetoric, analogy, stanza, point of view, synthesize.

Students worked on their vocal in class finding synonyms, antonyms and beginning their homework, which was to write a meangingful sentence for each word using two (2) building better sentence technique. 

With partners, students worked on an objective summary of the scope magazine article “The Evil Swirling Darkness”.  We are looking for good sentences. 

All students copied their assignments off the board and into their planners. 

Students were paid School Bucks for their Moby Max work. 

We read the article “Would You Move to Mars?” page 29 of scope magazine. 

(I was thinking about a written response to the news in Paris, but decided against it.  Still this is a topic I am sure is on the mind of many students.)

Where the Red Fern Grows

We are reading the novel Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. 

We are applying our study of figurative language and literary terms to the novel. 

You can join our iTunes U Course in progress on the novel here: https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/enroll/CSJ-SJS-CMA

Students are doing some great creative writing on a wanted poster using vivid words and transitions. Very excited to assemble and share these in an iBook and in our hallways. 

 

“The Golden Lie” and is “Technology Killing Our Friendships?”

Today we worked on our interactive literature notes and reviewed for the big quiz this week. 

We finished the Scholastic article “The Golden Lie” and we talked about some of the literary elements in the story. We will be focusing on theme tomorrow. 

Tonight students will work on another Scholastic Article and studying lit terms. The article is about social media. Does it help friendships or hurt them?  We will be writing on this Thursday.

Genius Hour is happening!  Ask your child about what’s happening in class.

Great start to the week.

Back To School: First Week a Success

Great job to parents and students on a great first week of school.

Thank you for all of the supplies.  We will put the facial tissue, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes to good use.  Awesome.

The first week we read the short story, “Seventh Grade” by Gary Soto, had a lot of fun on Kahoot taking a survey and a trivia game on literature. We worked on our plot notes, and spent some time on the MacBooks.  

Students wrote me a letter about themselves.  I also had the parents write me a letter about their child. Students also wrote a paragraph about a time they made a good or bad impression that went along with our short story. 

We spent a lot of time on our reading notes and getting the year started.

Again, a great first week.