Friday, November 30, 2012

Hayley's Book

Hayley wrote a book, then she read the book to one of the staff at school and asked her to record it and put it on Youtube. Hayley already understands that an audience is very necessary to motivation. 

What makes it necessary for us to feel the need to share with others what we create? I realize not everyone feels this way, but there are a lot of people that do. What are you doing to fulfill this need for your students? For other teachers' students? 

Hayley is giving us a wake up call. If we don't meet her needs to share, she will find another way to do it and there is no guarantee the path she would choose would be in her best interest. If you don't believe me, take a trip through Youtube and see what kids are uploading on their own.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Maybe Your Progressive Teaching Ideas Are Not What's Best for All Your Students

As a teacher that experiments often in the classroom with different teaching methods and exposes my class to different learning methods I see that how students respond differently to them. One of the reasons I change what I do with my teaching and what I share with my students is to allow them to identify what works best for them so they can make informed choices about how they learn best and what they need to do to be successful.

Lately I have become more much sensitive to condemnations of traditional teaching methods. There is a place for these methods in the classroom. They do work well for some students. Many of us are successful products of the old teaching methods. (Yes I know many are not.)

I am not advocating that we never try progressive methods. I am simply saying that all students need the opportunity to learn in their best way. If you summarily reject the past to be progressive, you may be harming some of your kids. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Edublog Award 2012 Nominations

I have been nominating people for the Edublog Awards for years. It has been a great way for me to show my appreciation for all the hard work they do. Each year it seems to get a little harder to identify 'the best' of the sites that I frequent.

  • Best Group Blog: Education Rethink John Spencer and Chad Segersten are always posting diverse, thought provoking ideas. A must read for any person interested in education.
  • Influential Post: Sometimes posts are influential because they have a huge reach, sometimes they are influential because they have a huge impact regardless of the reach. Being a Social Outcast by Solal Bauer reminds me of the power of blogging for our students. If you want to read a post that demonstrates the importance of sharing and conversing, start here.
  • Individual Tweeter: Jabiz Raisdana aka @IntrepidTeacher Twitter is more than a place to share education links and practices. It is a place to share ourselves and I know of no one that exemplifies that better than Jabiz.
  • Teacher Blog: Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension by Pernille Ripp is everything you ask for in a teacher blog. Pernille is honest, thoughtful, and reflective. This is a model teacher blog that centers on the classroom. Why aren't more teachers doing this?
  • Free Web Tool: Kidblog is the best free web tool because it makes it very easy to give students a voice on the internet. If we are all about kids, our tools should reflect that too.
  • Best Open PD: EdCamps They reinforce the value of face to face collaboration and sharing without ignoring the need to collaborate and share online.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Very Successful Writing Activity

To start with, I didn't come up with the idea for this writing activity and I regretfully admit I don't remember who on Twitter told me about it. I really hope they read this and leave me a comment so I can fix that.

Today my class tried out a new writing activity. It might as well be called speed writing because I can't think of another name. We started with a topic and I gave them three minutes to write. when the time was up I added another story piece. After three minutes I added another. Here are the prompts and extra pieces:

  • Today my class took a surprise trip to the zoo.
  • then Mr. C fell into the gorilla pit!
  • Mr. C started poking an alligator with a stick
  • then Francisco (one of my students) came back with no shirt on
  • When we were ready to leave, we discovered Jason (another one of my students) was missing.

At first the writing prompt didn't inspire many of the students, but when I added myself falling into the gorilla pit the writing took off. I spent twenty minutes watching my students write furiously and listening to them giggle as they wrote. When we were finished the students asked to do it again. In fact they asked to do it again the next time they came back to the home room! 

Here are the two stories we managed to get published on our new writing blog. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

LiveScribe Post On My Donors Choose Project

Part I

Part II

This is my first post using the LiveScribe Pen. What do you think? I would love some constructive feedback. Was it worth the extra time to listen to the post? Did the pictures help or distract?