Muddling through the blogosphere

March 9, 2010
by blogwalker

3 Area Schools Told: Reform or close

Are you kidding me… close Oak Ridge Elementary School?! In what is already less than a RPOAKRIDGESTUDENTS.embedded.prod_affiliate.4banner year for education in general, it was painful to start my morning with a local story, the Sac Bee‘s front page story: 3  area schools told: Reform or close.

Oak Ridge Elementary School is part of the Sacramento City Unified School District.  It also where my friend Alice Mercer teaches. Many readers of my blog also know Alice. And if you know Alice, you know that students who enter her computer lab have opportunities to  connect, create, collaborate, and share – and to experience what 21st century teaching, learning, and citizenship is all about. You also know, through conversations with Alice,  how hard the Oak Ridge team works to level the playing field for their students and to provide them with tools and programs that will take them beyond “basic.”

I’m not sure how to interpret Sac City Superintendent Jonathan Raymond’s response: “It’s not a list you want to have a school recognized on. We’re obviously disappointed about that. But looking at the numbers and the data, it’s not a surprise.

For the sake of the  students, parents, teachers, and administrators of Oak Ridge Elementary School, I hope having their school on “the list of the state’s lowest-performing schools” will not lead the site backwards into “the genteel unteaching of America’s poor.”

Hang in there, Oak Ridge Elementary!

October 12, 2008
by blogwalker

Shift Happens

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Edublogger community. As as veteran Edublogger (my first EB post was in March 2006), I’ve have been through a few upgrades and therefore know that when EB returns, it’s even better than before. I’m thinking back to June of 2007, when there was a two-weekwindow of down time during upgrades. I was attending a NECC Conference in Atlanta where a number of “big names,” such as Will Richardson, were attempting to introduce EB as part of the their blogging workshops. Because they’re used to working through technology issues, not having access to EB was not that big a deal.

But here’s what’s changed for me … Over the past two weeks, I’ve received many emails from teachers who’ve been in my EB workshops wondering what was going on. OK, this is a huge shift. Since most of my district, county, and A3WP workshops are free, I’m never really sure if my attendees truly want to learn about blogging, or if they are just looking for free units to apply to their salary schedule.

So about those emails….bring ‘um on !What the flood of questions means to me is that I now have a growing bank of teachers who are incorporating Web 2.0 technologies into their teachers’ toolkit. What felt like just a ripple a year ago is starting for feel a tsunami. Welcome back EB!

May 5, 2008
by blogwalker

Days 4 and 5 – Comment Challenge

As I continue on into Days 4 and 5 of the Comment Challenge, I realize what a valuable opportunity this project is for observing how a growing group of people, from around the globe and from all walks of life, come together to form acomment_challenge_logo_2.png community. And I now understand how coComment works. Unlike the more elegant co-mment that I mistakenly registered for yesterday, I am now able to add tags to my comments, just like I would to one of my posts. Well that’s pretty cool!

Day 4 Activity: Ask a question

On the project wiki, I clicked on a Day 4 link and wandered into the blog of a teacher of Portuguese (I think). The only post I could find in English was his/her take on the Day 4 activity. Since I could not really find anything about this blogger as a person (quite the opposite of yesterday’s venture into the Intrepid Teacher blog), my question to him/her was “As a teacher of Portuguese, what would you like to be asked about teaching in a digital age?” I would like to get a better sense of who this blogger really is.

Day 5 Activity: Comment on a post you disagree with:

In scrolling through Bloglines and Google Reader , I realize that I choose to subscribe to like-minded and inspiring bloggers. While pondering where I would locate non-like-minded bloggers, I noticed a front page story on today’s Sac Bee titled “Kids are reading, and not just Harry Potter,” written by Jay Mathews of the Washington Post. I couldn’t find the link at, so I’m copying basically the same story from today’s Modesto Bee – If the Sac Bee does not give online access to the comment feed for this story within the next 24 hours, I’ll hop into Modesto’s comment box and let readers know that not all educators value the Accelerated Reader approach to motivating young readers.

May 5, 2008
by blogwalker

Jump Starting the 31-Day Comment Challenge

comment_challenge_logo_2.pngSince today is already May 4, I’m doing a little crunching to catch up on the 31-day Comment Challenge, following the guidelines in the wiki.

Day One Activity: The kick-off is a commenting self-audit and a reading activity:

1. Answer the following questions:

  • How often do you comment on other blogs during a typical week?
    On an average week, probably 1-2 comments (but that’s not counting Twitter responses;-)
  • Do you track your blog comments? How? What do you do with your tracking?
     OK, the whole concept of co-mment is new to me. So up to now, no, I haven’t been tracking my blog comments. (Oh, my, so much to learn!)
  • Do you tend to comment at the same blogs or do you try to comment on at least one new blog per week?

2. I’ve read through Gina Trapani’s comment guide and realize I should be more aware of whether I’m actually contributing new information in my comments (ok, even if there are already 57 comments, for instance, I need to read through them before adding my 2 cents worth).

Day Two Activity: Comment on a new blog:

An hour later, I’m just now emerging from a scroll through the Comment Challenge Wiki list of participants. I was drawn in by the scope and depth of topics posted by the unemployed Intrepid Teacher, with his passion for teaching for social justice and his straight-from-the-soul writing style.

Day Three Activity: Sign up for a comment tracking service:

I am a total newbie to Co-mment, but I’m sure that if Sue Waters recommends it, it’s worth exploring.

Three activities into the Comment Challenge, I am envisioning what a powerful model this would be for students.

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