In the eight years that I’ve been offering blogging workshops, I love watching teachers leave excited to start blogging with their students and with a vision of how blogging might transform teaching and learning. A great way to keep the excitement going is to connect them, directly or indirectly, with other classrooms – beyond their school sites and communities. The Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge is exactly that kind of opportunity – and it’s free!
Twice a school year (October and March), Edublogs sponsors the Student Blogging Challenge. The Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for students to practice and improve their digital writing skills – and for teachers to promote and support learning beyond the school day.
The March 2014 Challenge runs for 10 weeks, with weekly tasks designed to scaffold students’ online communication skills. The tasks range from digital citizenship to making global and local connections. Participating classrooms can complete all or as many tasks as they wish, and in any order.
Thank you, Sue Wyatt, Sue Waters, and Ronnie Burt, for continuing to support and host the Student Blogging Challenge. A huge time commitment on your part – but such a worthwhile project!
A week later, I’m still thinking about the Roseville GAFE Summit. What an amazing gathering of innovative educators! Here are some of my takeaways:
Based on the Roseville Summit, I’m pretty sure I’m on my way to becoming a Google Summit groupie.
February 5 marks the Alliance For Excellent Education’s 3rd annual national Digital Learning Day (DLD). I love the many ways the Digital Learning Day website and program encourages and showcases best practices in supporting students as digital learners and global citizens. The video below highlights the importance of digital learning from a student perspective, with a strong message that digital learning is no longer optional or simply an add-on:
If you are wondering how classrooms, school sites, and districts are participating in DLD, a great starting point is the Digital Learning Day Celebration Map, which includes a search bar and the registration form. As of today, Alabama, New Jersey, and California educators are the top contributors.
Of the many ways you and your students can participate in DLD, here are a few of my favorites:
Another option we are offering through our Digital ID partnership with the California Writing Project is an #Upstanders Tweetout.
Wherever you are and however you involve your students in any of the above or other DLD activities, please be sure to visit the DLD Map Celebration and enter your information. I look forward to learning from and being inspired by a national network of DLD contributors!
Saturday marked the first time an EdCamp has taken place in Sacramento. It was also my first time to attend one – and now I’m eager for more EdCamp experiences. If you’ve every attended an Unconference (e.g., Steve Hargadon style), then you know the format: attendees gather at the beginning, suggest sessions – which are shared conversations, not formal presentations, and then delve into day, with the understanding that if a session doesn’t fit your needs, you’re encouraged to switch to another (“law of two feet”).
Oh, and EdCamps are FREE.
As simple as it seems to host one (e.g.,no need to send out call for proposals in advance or print programs), I’m pretty sure the EdCam Sac organizers Colin O’Connor, Peter Strawn, Trisha Sanchez, Cynthia Cost, and Danielle Lemke did some heavy lifting beforehand to make sure the day ran smoothly. Wireless worked, sites were not blocked, coffee and donuts were abundant. Bravo, Team EdCampSac!
I loved the opportunity to connect – and reconnect – with teachers within and outside of my district.
Kristen Swanson, a co-founder of the original EdCamp – and also an attendee at #edcampsac, offers a more in-depth look at the rationale and power of EdCamps in her recent Edutopia article Why EdCamp. Judging from the group discussion at the close of yesterday’s #edcampsac, I think all who attended would agree that with Kristen’s summary:
The Edcamp model provides educators with a sustainable model for learning, growing, connecting and sharing. Everyone’s expertise is honored, and specific, concrete strategies are exchanged. When professional development is created “for teachers by teachers,” everyone wins.”
Thank you, Edublogs, for sponsoring the annual Edublog Awards event. Every year, I look forward to discovering new ideas and resources, learning from innovative educators, and the opportunity to give a shout out to those who have inspired me in the past year.
My 2013 Edublog Awards Nominations:
Note to self: Next year do NOT wait till the last day to post nominations!
If you (like me) believe that implementation of effective digital citizenship plans at school sites should include opportunities for students to put digital citizenship lessons into practice, then I bet you will share my interest in a recent lawsuit filed by the Beastie Boys against the California company GoldieBlox over the now viral Rube Goldberg style “Princess Machine” video.
I really like Eriq Gardner’s post Beastie Boys, ‘Girls’ Viral Video in Copyright Infringement Fight because he includes the four factors a judge would use in evaluating a case for fair use:
Is that “fair use”? To answer the question, a judge will be looking at the four factors of fair use: the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion taken and the effect of the use upon the potential market.”
I would love to hear from teachers who plan to share the article and case with their students as a shared read, or, better yet, as an invitation to discuss, debate and follow the case. To add to the messiness of the case, I recommend adding Sylvia Martinez’s post Need an Inspirational Video? How about one of kids making not selling? for raising some thought-provoking questions about the video.
As school sites in my district head into the second year of implementing digital citizenship curriculum (to meet CIPA e-rate requirements and, more importantly, to ensure that students are “community ready” as well as “college and career ready”), many teachers have shared with me that while they are comfortable initiating conversations and lessons on cyberbullying, digital footprints, and online privacy, they do not feel prepared to move beyond teaching about plagiarism to addressing copyright and fair use. I think the GoldiBlox vs. Beastie Boys case may change their reluctance as they – and their students – follow the case and come to understand that fair use is an argument – on a case-by-case basis.
Thank you to the ever-inspiring Jim Bentley for tweeting me the link to the GoldBlox article. I bet Jim’s 5th grade filmmakers will also be following the case!
I kicked off the 3-day weekend (Thank you, Veterans!) with a cup of coffee and the September 30 edition of Time Magazine. It was the cover story on Google that prompted me to purchase a copy, but while flipping backwards through the pages, I found Amanda Ripley’s article The New Smart Set – What happens when millions of kids are asked to master fewer things more deeply?
Between background on how the Common Core Standards were created (Sorry, Tea Party goers, but “the federal government had nothing to do with their creation; sorry, “leftist critics,” but the CCSS were “developed by teachers and researchers at the behest of a bipartisan group of governors and state education leaders,” not by “corporate reforms.”) and Kentucky’s pioneering process and results, I highly recommend this article for educators, parents, and politicians.
From my 20+ years as an educator, I’m a firm believer that any new program needs 3 years of implementation before its value can truly be assessed and judged. Such is the case with Kentucky’s roll out of the Common Core. Year 1 (2010) was met with a normal amount of concern, fear, and frustration over standards that were intended to take students deeper into English Language Arts and Math than previous state standards. As they headed into the first round of testing synced to the Common Core, state officials communicated to parents, teachers, and students that “if you raise the bar, fewer will reach it – at least for a while.” Teachers had flyers to share with parents and PTAs provided briefings. Clearly, the communication piece was seen as central to the shift to Common Core.
And the results … drum roll please … In Year 2, the second year of testing, “Student scores rose 2 percentage points, with the portion of college and career-ready students up 20 percent to 54 percent since 2010. The graduation rate has increased to 86 percent from 80 percent in 2010 since the adoption of the standards” (from the Council of Chief State School Officials). The overall rise in test scores from Year 1 to Year 2 might seem small, but thanks to a little mentoring from University of California at Davis professor and researcher Carl Whithaus, I know that a 2% statewide gain is significant.
As my school district heads into CCSS field testing, with a bit of apprehension over the technology integration (both for the infrastructure and the devices students will use for the testing), I know I will continue to check back to Kentucky’s Department of Education site to keep up with their Friday Fast Five.
Thank you, Kentucky, for being the first to dive into the Common Core challenge and for sharing your lessons learned.
I am a connected educator. Through dynamic networks such as Twitter, the National Writing Project, MERIT, and Google Certified Teachers, I can start every day with amazing new resources and thought-provoking, shared conversations on educational topics – such as the Common Core State Standards. Below are a few of my favorite CCSS-related links that have come my way over the past year:
It’s hard to imagine fully embracing/questioning/teaching the Common Core without my daily dose of connected educators’ mentoring and inspiration via a variety of social networks. My goal for the new school year is to share a monthly post with more CCSS resources. Please jump into the conversation if you have favorite CCSS resources and/or strategies to share.
Last week started with my fingers crossed that Malala Yousafzai would win the Nobel Peace Prize. Even though she did not, her story and her words have had a huge impact, almost rendering Jon Stewart speechless:
Malala is a tough act to follow when gathering stories of those individuals who have chosen to cross the line from bystander to upstander and, in the process, change the history of the world, or at least a corner or two of the world. But John Riordon’s untold story – until last night’s 60 Minutes feature on Daring Rescue Days before the Fall of Saigon – definitely qualifies as an upstander’s story.
As we head towards National Digital Citizenship Week, if you and/or your students have stories to share about upstanders, from the past or present, I hope you will join the on-going conversation on the Upstanders, Not Bystanders VoiceThread. The VoiceThread includes separate slides for elementary, middle, and high school students, plus adults (1st slide), but everyone is welcome to respond to others’ comments across grade levels and generations. The current stories (“thread”) range from heroes on the playground to historic and global upstanders – with room for more!
A huge shoutout to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Education Technology for once again (2nd year) sponsoring October’s Connected Educator Month (CEM) and to Mike Ribble, Jason Ohler, Common Sense Media, and Cable in the Classroom for their combined efforts to declare the week of October 19 -26 as National Digital Citizenship Week. So many great opportunities to promote digital/global citizenship skills!
And if last week is any indication, CEM will be memorable from start to finish. On October 1, I had the privilege of co-facilitating a booth for my district at the state capitol for the anti-bullying rally Stand Up! Speak Out! What a privilege to have the opportunity to boast about the #UnfollowBullying student-created, student-led campaign, which, like CEM, is heading into its second year with students leading the charge.
On Saturday, I headed to UC Davis to join in the California Writing Project’s 40th year celebration. The collective energy, creativity, and passion for sharing past practices in promoting students as (digital, multimedia) writers and showcasing their achievements was infectious. I left with wonderful ideas for powering up the CCSS through primary source documents (e.g., tons of digitized documents from the Library of Congress collections) , great tools for engaging and supporting ELs (e.g., Tellegami with primary students, and even Voki), and great questions to take back to my district regarding the upcoming SBAC tests (California’s choice for CCSS testing). Peter’s Kittle’s Storify account will provide you with some insights into the day’s events – which started with a pitch to participants to tweet the event via Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s #Hashtag video.
Week one of Connected Educator’s Month was a blast. Hmm…I’m thinking every month should be about connecting educators and their students.