An important component of student blogging is allowing students the opportunity to comment and provide feedback for peers. This can seem intimidating at first. "What if they post inappropriate things?" "What if they are mean and criticize the other student's work?" or even "What if they just write 'good'?"
These are all valid concerns and reasons why using an established protocol is important.
This protocol was shared as a way to provide feedback for my current online graduate courses. The Ladder of Feedback Protocol was developed by Daniel Wilson and Heidi Goodrich Andrade at Harvard Project Zero. It incorporates a way to provide critique and feedback in a constructive way.
The protocol includes four different components: Clarify, Value, Offer concerns, and Suggest.
Clarify: In this portion the reader asks any questions about what may not have been clear or included.
Value: Provide compliments on specific ideas or components.
Offer concern: Offer critique with phrases like "Have you considered..." or "What I wonder about it..."
Suggest: Give suggestions for the concerns you've identified(Download the full document here http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic86452.files/LoF_detailed.doc)
In creating a student project, I was searching for a document that presented this information in a kid-friendly language. I thought I would give it a search, before creating my own from scratch.
I found this great post that included a link to a TpT document that was FREE to download!
Added bonus: This particular teacher has been teaching over seas for a few years! Another great PLN connection!
I will admit that when I heard that my assignment was a WebQuest - images of a low level scavenger hunt immediately appeared in my head. In fact, I wasn't excited about the project even after viewing some great examples.
My summer of grad school courses has been quite busy and tiring. This seemed like a task that I was not going to enjoy.
That all changed when I first discovered a photo of a family from 1920 that inspired my entire project. What if I had tell the history of the Great Depression through the story of this family? I then found my way to the Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection. I was drawn into the faces of the young children.
Learning social studies growing up was my least favorite subject. In fact, I may have even admitted to *hating* a history course or two. I didn't want to memorize any more names and dates that seemed insignificant.
I had a completely different experience when I started to teach social studies. I was captivated by stories.
What if I could use these images and stories to try and capture my students, too?
I created this WebQuest as a required grad school assignment. I won't be in the classroom to adjust and implement it next year, but I hope that it can be useful for someone else.
Again I find myself wondering, am I making the right choice leaving the classroom? Will I find a similar passion in working with teachers as I have with young, inquisitive minds? Will I see the same enthusiasm and pride in learning something new or taking on a challenge?
Most importantly, will the adults laugh at my jokes?
23 weeks = the length of time it took for me to actually create something I pinned.
I love Pinterest, but typically the ideas just get pinned onto a virtual board rather than my actual classroom. I am an idea person, so just seeing ideas is enough. I file them into my "to think about later" category in my brain. Sometimes I remember to refer to them. Sometimes.
This particular pin was something I saw and recalled frequently, looking for the perfect opportunity to incorporate. To me, technology is not about technology. It is about how to incorporate technology in a way that enhances learning. With the state testing requiring a fast pace, I did not find an opportunity to incorporate this particular idea until the end of the year.
This year I had the exciting opportunity to be selected as one of the first 25 members of the Fulton County Vanguard Group. This group seeks to increase innovative teaching and technology use in our classrooms through mentoring and coaching. While it was difficult to be able to complete a lot of coaching because of my full time classroom position, I feel that I was able to continue to serve as a role model for technology use at my school. It is this group and my Specialist program at Kennesaw State University, which led me to pursue and accept a full time technology position for next year. This video is just a short clip of all the wonderful things that we were able to accomplish at Dolvin!
Today was the start of a new technology movement at my school; students received BYOT permission slips for a 4th and 5th grade pilot.
BYOT - Bring Your Own Technology (sometimes BYOD - "device")
My students are so excited. They wanted to know when they could bring the device in, how many devices was the limit, and why did we wait so long to start?? (I assured them that the one device they were allowed to bring it would be plenty, and we should be grateful that the pilot didn't start next school year when we would all be gone!)
So why am I excited? "Aren't you afraid of privacy, students wasting time, posting inappropriate things, etc."
When we discuss student misuse of technology, I always wonder about when, if ever, the student was taught about responsible use. The reality of the world our students live in is that technology will continue to enhance the way we live, whether we want to embrace it or not.
I believe it is my role to prepare students to not only be educated and knowledgable but equipped to face the world beyond my classroom.
We are in our second round of school closings because of winter weather. Growing up in Finland, I cannot recall a day that school was cancelled because of weather, but in Atlanta the situation is completely different. I am thankful to be home safely this time around, as I had to stay with a coworker in the last snow storm.
My students were not thrilled to hear that I was sending them with assignments since we would be missing more instructional time.
So what did we do?
I used TodaysMeet to host a two hour live session with my students. I set the room up one minute prior to starting, so that I could control the length to be exactly 2 hours. Students had been assigned social studies reading and tasks, and this was their chance to ask questions.
We recently started our unit on electricity in 5th grade. To start the unit, we invited GA Power in to do a lesson. If you teach in Georgia and have not utilized this phenomenal FREE resource, you absolutely must!
The presenter did a great job of introducing the idea of an open and closed circuit. The students got to participate in an experiment to test out a human circuit.
When students held hands, we were able to make the magic wand buzz with lights and sound! The circuit did not work if students were covering their hands with sleeves. We brainstormed what might be the cause.
We tested out different materials and sorted them onto the red and green pieces of felt. Red was for insulators and green for conductors.
We continued our unit in science lab the following week. We first built a simple circuit using a batter, a light bulb, and some wires. We tested out different materials to see if the light would shine when the circuit was closed. We found that most materials were either an insulator or conductor. One item - a pencil- could be both.
As we waited for all the groups to finish, we discovered that we could build more complex circuits. We combined two basic circuit kits to create one larger one with two batteries and two lights.
What would happen if we only used one battery? Would all the lights shine?
Thank you to our wonderful parent volunteers that helped support our investigations!
I have considered the use of twitter in my classroom for some time now. This year I moved to teach 5th grade and the importance of teaching and modeling digital citizenship became even more evident. Students are already on social media websites. They are interacting with others and constantly sharing content - pictures, messages, videos, etc. I decided that this school year I would investigate the use of twitter again.
The year started and it seemed like just a few weeks later it was already time for winter break. I again committed myself to the exploration of twitter and collected suggestions for a twitter handle from my students. I decided that right before the holiday break was not the best time to begin to implement this new tool. I did set the account up, so we would be ready to begin in January.
Over the break, I procrastinated on all of the to-do list items which I had saved for the break. These items were on the list because I didn't want to do them earlier. I still did not want to attack the list of daunting tasks.
Instead I picked up my iPad and looked into Twitter again. As in the past, I found lots of wonderful educator resources and decided that I wanted to rebrand my own digital footprint. I created a new account which I am using to expand my professional network and engage in professional development. (@mareenakohtala)
My first tweet when live on December 29th. I had 0 followers. I searched for users in educational fields and built my list to follow. The purpose was developing myself, so what did it matter if no one followed me?
Then on December 30th, I posted a link to my blog posting on coding. This is when everything changed for me.
After the post, I checked out some tweets under the #HourOfCode. Those of you famliar Twitter will understand why hours later I found myself far from the coding feed I had started on.
and then I found the #edtechchat three hours after the live chat was over.
If you have an interest in technology incorporation, this Monday evening chat is an absolute must! The chat is 8-9 P.M. Eastern time. I created a three page word document of screen shots, web links, lists, and users to follow up on from my first chat.
I found a post about a live broadcoast of a concert from school. I had considered the ability to do this just this fall when we held an informational session for parents, when I was unable to attend the chorus concert because of my book club cookie exchange, and when I was considering options for sharing information via video to other teachers after school hours. The answer to what I had wanted to learn - here on Twitter! Not only that, but a connection to someone that I could reach out to if I had questions. (Thanks Chip Williams!)
As if these experiences didn't confirm my love of Twitter already,
the moment I realized I had just hit the nail on the head came January 5th.
I posted a link to a blog post I wrote. I quickly saw a rise in hits on my website. Someone is actually reading what I wrote?
Then came retweets and favorites by other educational users. A comment on my activity came in from Canada, copying another 5th grade teacher that had retweeted my post.
I felt like I had contributed something of value for other educators. Perhaps my writing isn't worthy (yet) of book publishing, and maybe I haven't hit thousands of followers, but someone else read what I wrote and liked it.
I was transported back to my elementary self, beaming after receiving positive feedback from my teacher. Why did I feel this way? My words meant something. What I made was valuable.
I want every one of my students to share this same feeling.
Today we posted our first tweet of our New Year's Resolutions. After some class discussions and expectation set up, we are going to go live with student contributions in the next few weeks. I also added on the ability of students blogging through my teacher website (thanks to Paul Solarz - psolarz.weebly.com). My students will be given the ability to create posts sharing their learning and projects. Periodically, we will use our twitter account to share some of the posts to give my students an audience.
I cannot wait for the reactions as my students share with their new audience. I will be sure to share those via twitter!
Based in Doha currently, I am a technology-advocating learning junkie.