Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Blogging through 2006-07: Part 3

This is part of a series, so far consisting of:
Blogging through 2006-07: Intro
Blogging through 2006-07: Part 1
Blogging through 2006-07: Part 2
Links to posts from this blog are in green, links to posts from my classroom blog are in red.

  • February, 2007: Started off the month posting Heroes and Hopes, an attempt to have the kids blog their writing for a school wide prompt. As the month started I began experimenting with letting my reading group read from blogs during silent reading: Is this SSR, 2.0? Actually had a couple of podcasts grow out of the experience. I left blog reading open as an option through the rest of the school year. A couple of fairly successful assigned writing prompts were about Valentine's Day and starting out with multiplication. See student blogs for February (scroll way down) for examples. A couple of kids got comments from other students who had got hold of some nifty animated text generators, which were quite the rage for a while: student blog example.

  • March, 2007: Documenting chaos is the first mention I can find of the disastrous mucking up of the student computers in my classroom. I was, and still am, outraged at the confusion, extra work, and hours and hours of lost learning time caused by this - which had started way back in September. In Back on the blog! I mentioned the kids blogging about their favorite blogs to read. This one was just almost too much - not only did they have to be reading several blogs outside of our class, but I had the bright idea to try and teach them some raw html at the same time, so they could hyperlink to those blogs when they wrote about them: Beyond comments.

  • April, 2007: My blog was pretty quiet this month, except for a couple of Earth Day Groceries Project posts. Meanwhile, the kids did well writing on their Spring Break plans and Earthday, now on to the WASL! Their WASL (our state's high stakes test) blog posts were composed over a five day period, journal-style, then uploaded to their blogs at the end of the week. Still not sure about whether this was useful or worthwhile.

4 comments:

Janice Stearns said...

Mark,
Thank you for this outstanding resource. Your reflection and linking to evidence of student learning through the process of blogging is a great model to offer other teachers. It is certain that teachers need to be involved with blogs to understand their true potential for learning, but your thoughtful process of pulling your experiences and learning together in one place will help them learn about that potential, not only for themselves, but for their students. Awesome.

Tim G said...

Mark,

I'm a second year (second career) third-grade teacher that's looking to make some decent headway into classroom 2.0 this year (mainly through blogs, wikis, and digital storytelling).

I was reading through your "Is This SSR, 2.0?" post and it brought a nagging concern I've had back to mind: how do the students respond to moving back and forth between online material that is typically fragmented (or at least brief) and traditional "turn the page" children's literature? In a situation like you've described in your "SSR" post, does "sustained" have a chronological or thematic connotation? Again, I'm definitely an advocate of classroom 2.0 (though with only 5 computers), but that's the type of question that I've got to be able to answer in my suburban school district.

I really do appreciate your blog--I've read through a lot of it and gleaned more than a few ideas from it--thanks!

Tim

Mark Ahlness said...

Janice, when I started this series, I was hoping it would be helpful to others, but as I got into it, I found myself reliving parts of the year (good and bad) - and it started to feel like this was an exercise in self growth. So it's good to know it may be useful to others as well - thanks.

Tim, on SSR reading from blogs - I hesitated only briefly, at the very beginning, with some of the same, understandable questions you are asking. I am more convinced now than ever that the choice I gave my kids was absolutely the right thing - not just in improving their reading skills, but in enriching their experience, and providing them school time to get better at reading style (and content) more appropriate to their current and future situations. BTW, they have no problems switching back and forth from digital to paper. Thanks for your comment, and good luck next school year!

Tim G said...

Mark,

Thanks for the reassurance. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the new school year goes.

Tim