In the digital age, kids need to have an understanding of what it means to be a responsible digital citizen. They need to learn the technical how-to’s, as well as a more global comprehension of how to navigate the online world. ” Tina Barseghian, Mindshift
Luckily for those with blogs, 4 out of the top 5 methods most requested can be taken care of in a flash. In short, parents like information to be on a website (which is really what a blog is) and they like email notification*.”
*Providing email notification is as easy as dragging and dropping a widget/gadget into your sidebar.
Love it when the research supports practices I have seen first-hand making engaging students in reading and writing – and at the same time bringing parents (and grandparents) on board:-)
How can blogging help extend elementary students’ summary writing skills? If you’d been with me Friday afternoon at David Reese Elementary School, where I had the privilege of joining 5th grade teacher Rudy Alfonso for his lesson on summary writing, I’m pretty sure you, too, would be inspired by the integral role his class blog plays in the writing process.
Rudy opened the lesson with an interactive review of the parts of a summary, which he’s made available on Slideshare:
Next the students read a piece from Time for Kids, She’s a Fashionista. Using a graphic organizer, the students unpacked the the story. From their graphic organizer, they moved on to writing their own summaries.
But wait…there’s more. And this is when and where blogs and commenting take a paper-and-pencil assignment and extend the audience beyond Rudy. With both papers in hand, the students then head over to the scanner and upload the graphic organizer. Next, they open the corresponding blog post, Summary Writing: She’s a Fashionista blog post, click on Comment, upload their graphic organizer, and enter their summary paragraph.
But wait…there’s more. The last step is to grab a voice recorder (Rudy uses an Olympus voice recorder) and record a reading of their paragraph (which Rudy uploads to their comment).
And the impact/outcome? I asked a number of Rudy’s students about the benefits of taking their writing and their voices out into the blogosphere. Jasmine shared “I’m becoming more confident about my writing and my reading skills.” Nicole added that “Being able to write in more ways than just paper and pencil is preparing me for the future.”
Rudy summed up the paper-to-blog process as significant because in the course of a month, he – and his students – can already hear their progress (great way to document reading fluency gains!) and classmates, family, friends, and the world can follow and comment on their progress.
Good things are happening in our public schools. And new technologies, such as blogging, under the guidance of caring, innovative teachers, are helping to level the playing field beyond the confines of the classroom, school site, and surrounding community.
Edublogs Awards – It’s that time of year again. I really appreciate this opportunity to recognize those who have contributed greatly to my PLN:
Best Individual Blog – Educating Alice – Monica Edinger’s posts will keep you on top of the latest in children’s literature – along with insights on how to team literature and technology.
Best Individual Tweeter – Larry Ferlazzo – I don’t always have time to read through the sheer volume of great resources Larry shares on his Websites of the Day site, but every time he posts a resource to Twitter, I know it will be well worth my time to open the link.
Best Group Blog – Voices on the Gulf – Once again, my friend, mentor, and NWP colleague Paul Allison makes “keeping it real” part of this timely online community of teachers, students, and community leaders who have joined Paul on a year-long investigation into the impact of our nation’s worst oil spill.
Best Class Blog – Ms. Cheung’s Connection – A 4th grade teacher in my district who always teaches from the heart (despite the pressures of a Title 1 site in its second year of Program Improvement), Teresa Cheung’s projects are always a source of inspiration.
Best Resource Sharing Blog – The Edublogger – You don’t even have to be a blogger to benefit from Sue Water’s shared conversations, great resources, and wonderful humor.
Best Teacher Blog – Kevin’s Meandering Mind – When teachers new to blogging ask me where they should start, I recommend following (NWP colleague) Kevin’ Hodgson’s continuing journey with 6th graders into the possibilities and limits of “teaching the new writing.”
Most Influential Blog Post – Miguel Guhlin’s recent post Nurture Human Talents. If you are looking for the research and the argument for all students’ right to become producers of information (not just drill ‘n kill consumers), you definitely need to read this piece.
Best Use of Audio – YA! Cast – Looking for a site to amaze teachers about the possibilities of Audacity and podcasting? Robert Rozema’s pre-service teachers can show you!
Best Use of Video – The Power of One – (NWP colleague) Lesley McKillop’s 4th graders take their voices beyond the classroom via video to change their community and to connect with online communities across the nation in creating and sharing information.
Best Use of a Social Network – Know ELLs – Feeling a little overwhelmed about how to best meet the needs of your English Language Learners? From the National Writing Project, such a brilliant group of teachers sharing their expertise and resources!
Best Use of a PLN – Edutopia: What Works in Education – With project-based learning experts such as Suzie Boss leading discussions and amazing workshops (including last summer’s session on studying and teaching the PB oil spill), I think there is something for everyone at this site!
Lifetime Achievement Award – George Lucas – In a year when teacher-bashing seems at an all-time high, I really appreciate all George Lucas has done to support teachers and celebrate public education.
My plan is to send out an email to every site representative in our Technology Advisory Committee with an invitation to nominate their principal for the EB subscription (I’ll provide the training and support). The form will be very simple, maybe something like
I nominate ______________ to become an Edublogs Supporter because I know he/she will __________________________________________________________.”
I’d like to include in the email links to 3-5 exemplary principals’ blogs from elementary, middle, and high school sites. Do you have any recommendations?
Of all the EB enhancements James Farmer has added over the past year, The Edublogger is my absolute favorite. Such great tips, so well explained, and so easy to turn around and apply to my own blog and blogging practices. Thank you, James, and Happy Birthday to The Edublogger (Sue Waters)!
Seems like with every contest The Edublogger promotes (i.e., 30-Day Challenge to Better Commenting), both the process and the product become road maps for 21st century teaching and learning. So in response to Sue’s call to join the celebration by writing a post on any of 12 topics, here’s my contribution:
#9 Favorite Blog Widget: ClustrMaps – Last year I was helping Jim Faires, a 6th grade teacher in my district, get his students up and running with YouthRadio, a collaborative project developed by Kevin Hodgson. Jim was introducing his students to podcasting. The question he posed to the class was “What if the whole world was your audience?!”
When the students completed their podcast, they watched as Jim uploaded it to the YouthRadio blog. It was then that one of the them spotted the ClustrMap. Jim opened the enlarged view. Try to imagine their amazement and exhuberance when they realized the blog had visitors from all parts of the world and every continent (ok, not Antarctica). Suddenly students were scurring for an atlas to accurately identify each state and country.
Not only was the ClustrMap a built-in geography lesson, but it also illustrated and answered Jim’s question: truly, the whole world had become their audience.