BlogWalker

Muddling through the blogosphere

May 27, 2012
by blogwalker
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Teachers Teaching Teachers – Connected learning for educators

I have a folder in my file cabinet marked Teachers Teaching Teachers. In it are notes I’ve jotted down from various Teachers Teaching Teachers shows – snippets of inspiring quotes from teachers across the nation or sometimes the world, titles to insightful books and  articles, links to thought-provoking websites, and always, always ideas that prompt me to rethink how to empower students as writers and as (digital) citizens.

The notes are not well organized. Some are in notebooks; some on scraps of paper. I wish I had been a little more systematic about including the dates. But in my defense,  more often than not, I’m racing home from the flat lands of Sacramento (where I teach) to the Sierra foothills (where I live) to be online with the TTT group by 6:00 PST, so grabbing a notebook is often secondary to locating my headset or working through connectivity issues.

But so many gems! From the inception of the YouthVoices project (which has included amazing and timely additions, such as Voices from the Gulf project following the BP oil spill) to the recent show on the art and genre of string games, I learn something new from each episode – and log off with an even greater appreciation of this embracing, connected learning community for educators.

This Wednesday TTT celebrates its 300th show, an event made possible by the leadership and commitment of my friend/mentor/National Writing Project colleague Paul Allison. If you’ve not had the pleasure of joining a Teachers Teaching Teachers show, the video below will give you a glimpse into the many ways Paul promotes connected learning for both students and teachers.

Hope to see you in the TTT chat room for Wednesday evening’s 300th episode:-)

 

May 26, 2012
by blogwalker
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Connected Learning – A huge Web 2.0 benefit

Last week I worked with two groups of 8th grade students: one group at a middle school in my district; the other, at a small parochial school “across the tracks.” The project was to help students at both school sites take poetry they had created as part of the I’m American Too project and to catapult their voices beyond the walls of their classrooms and onto the Digital ID wiki, a collaborative project that strives to connect core curriculum with issues of (digital) citizenship.

Right off the bat, the common thread was two outstanding teachers, both teaching at sites that provide rich, nurturing learning environments. But since the two had never met, nor even heard of each other’s schools, I assumed there would be no student connections. I was wrong. While at Pinkerton (my district), when I mentioned I would also be working with 8th graders at St. Patrick’s Succeed Academy, several students immediately called out that they had friends there. And when, two days later, I walked into an 8th grade classroom St. Pat’s, a student enthusiastically waved his hand, wanting to know if I had worked with his friends over at Pinkerton and when could he see their work.

And once again, another common thread became very visible: when students know their projects will be seen by a real audience, including friends at other schools, they are eager to get to work! Pinkerton’s “found poetry” is now posted on the Stepping Up page of the Digital ID wiki. St. Pat’s “poetry in two voices” is there too, although not quite finished – an online work in progress.

It has been my experience that students thrive from connected learning opportunities. Fortunately, making meaningful connections just gets easier as new – and free – technologies become available.  I think the A Day in the Life of a Connected Educator: Using Social Media in 21st Century Classrooms infographic below, which came through my Twitter feed this morning, sums it up . The infographic is from Powerful Learning Practice, an online community focused on “turning educators into 21st Century educators.”

 

Infographic from http://plpnetwork.com/

Thank you, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, for the the great infographic – and a reminder in the next school year to spend more of the school day supporting teachers in creating connected learning environments.

 

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