Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Blogging through 2006-07: Part 2

This is part of a series:
Blogging through 2006-07: Intro
Blogging through 2006-07: Part 1
Links to posts from this blog are in green, links to posts from my classroom blog are in red.

  • November, 2006: With not much experience behind them, I asked the kids to write a bit about their feelings on Report Cards! Borrowing heavily from Jeff Utecht, I put on a Classroom LAN Party to share info with my colleagues in Seattle about the K12 Online Conference. A couple of days before Thanksgiving I asked my kids to write a story after this prompt: "Pretend you are a Turkey. How will you escape being served for Thanksgiving Dinner?" (Turkey stories). This one had always been fun, even before blogging. In a fit of silliness I sat down with my wife one evening and wrote Galaxy - which I will definitely try a variation on with my kids next year.

  • December, 2006: The month started with a Family Internet Night which was pretty well attended. With a week before Christmas Vacation, I posted Holiday Writers describing some very nice writing about the upcoming holidays. The writing ranged from memories, to wish lists for Santa, to fantasy stories, to reflections on the meaning of the holiday. The hardest work in an assignment like this was to define the assignment - with enough guidance, and yet enough latitude to encourage creativity. I assigned several writing pieces this way during the year - this one turned out to be one of the best. A couple of examples from the kids: A Weird Christmas and Christmas Fun!!! There were a few times during the school year when I really lost my "voice" on my personal blog. December was one of those times.

  • January, 2007: I started the new year with a definite stretch, Five Things - in which I "tagged" all my kids to write down five things people probably did not know about them - this all coming from a meme sweeping the edtech bolgosphere, where I was tagged by Doug Noon. About half a dozen kids chose this prompt to write about when I gave them a choice of topics. They did well, but it was a challenge - remember they were 8 and 9 years old. I posted proudly about my students who blogged from home over vacation at The Kids Are Alright. In Am I Nuts? I welcomed back some of my third graders from last year, and created a "Room 12 Alumni" group on our blog. I had by this time given up on the fourth grade teachers in my school setting up a blog for my third graders from last year. I wrote a bit more about this in Bloggers becoming gardeners. By the end of the month, a couple of my kids had figured out how to customize their blogs a little - and ended up showing me and the rest of the class how to do it: Colorful Writers!

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