Friday, February 10, 2012

Following My Students

My students have blogs. They really enjoy them because they have a real, authentic audience (besides me of course!).  They are always excited when someone from far away comments on one of their posts.  This is the first year I have used blogs so heavily in Language Arts, but I have to say I am loving the result!  I've seen a lot of growth, which I believe is because they have an authentic purpose for writing.

Today, we read a comment from a pre-service teacher at the University of South Alabama.  She said she was assigned to watch our blog for her class!  I was so excited to see that others are watching what my kids are doing online!  Not too long ago, I sat in their shoes, up to my eye-balls in Master's classes.  I was so eager to have a chance to implement all that I was learning about technology, problem solving, and critical thinking with others.  Well, today I am so excited that (at least one person) is looking to me and my class as an example!  Emily had posted on my student's wall so I felt obliged to post on hers.  Here is what I posted on her blog:

Hi Emily,

You posted a comment on one of my student's blogs at We read it today and we are so excited that you and some of your classmates are following our kids. Thank you so much for taking the time to post!

I would like to comment about your #4 21 Century Learning. I have not seen the video you refer to, but I understand your conflict over how much time students should use the computer. In your comment, you state that kids still need time to interact face to face. I agree with you and can assure you that the students in my class cooperate, collaborate, create, and inspire each other while using the technology. It is so gratifying as a teacher to look on a class full of students who are all engaged, all learning, all problem solving and thinking critically about their work and helping each other. They are helpful and they share resources and links with each other. In addition to our blogs, we have a class Edmodo. The students are only allowed to access it from home, as its purpose is to connect what we do in class to our homes. Kids post articles, websites, and videos that I did not ask them to find, just because they love using the technology and want to know more. Now, I have to confess, not all my students access from home, but those who do are enriched for doing it.

One of our favorite things to do is read a novel and create Voki's based on the characters in the story. The kids complete a character analysis worksheet and then once they are done they use it to make a voki. But not all our projects are integrated with technology. Some are integrated with visual or performing arts, or whatever creative thing we come up with. It's about problem solving, thinking critically and creating that are important, not the technology behind it. Technology is merely the newest, coolest tool.

Good luck with your studies. I was doing something similar to you in my master's program last year. It's really cool that you are following my students!

Jennifer Diaz

PS. Here is the link to our classroom blog that highlights some of the projects we are doing.

Thank you Emily for making my day!  Good luck to you!

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