Tag Archives: Teaching

Blogging for Writing Instruction is Nothing short of Amazing!

Having read the dreaded “I am going to tell you about” 5-paragraph essay until my eyes glaze over and I fall into a comatose state, I have spent years scouring the earth for engaging approaches to writing. My quest has taken me to the promising lands of writing clubs, writer’s notebooks, and writer’s workshops, Four-square, and Six Traits, mystery bags, photo prompts, guided imagery, peer review, passed around team writing, speed writing, personal journals, and Morning Pages. Some were more engaging than others, but nothing too impressive…until….blogging.

So, why is blogging so cool? Here we go!

  • An authentic audience.
  • Revising! Without begging…and sometimes even student initiated.
  • Reading of each other’s writing…ON THEIR OWN! And making positive comments!
  • Full control over what gets published…without tons of paper piles.
  • Interactions between my students and 5 other schools around the world in Australia, Ireland, Taiwan, Canada, New York, Iowa, and The Netherlands
  • Writing…more writing than I could imagine….in every curricular area….long and short, formal and scientific, researched and  opinion, argument, informational, narrative…every single day…WITHOUT COMPLAINTS!
  • Creativity to make it more fun by adding visual appeal with pictures, drawings and designs.
  • Collaboration in all kinds of ways, and in all kinds of projects.
  • Interactions and questions and investigation, not only on their own work, but on other students’ work.
  • Possibilities of meaningful homework (although I haven’t used that much)
  • Even a student initiated, organized, and implemented disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

And I saved the best for last. There is a student that is so quiet…so inside of himself…that I didn’t hear his voice for almost a week after school started. He says almost nothing to anyone all day. When I read his writing the first time, I cried. Even now, months later, to see how perceptive, intelligent, and introspective he is…and to see how the other kids respond to him in writing, and to see how caring he is to other students….well, it is absolutely amazing. This was an opportunity for all us to see him in a different light. His classmates treat him differently now. They actually see him. They include him and invite him…and in response, he has opened up more to them.

That miracle was worth the whole ride itself, but to see the overall transformation of a process that I used to dread and now look forward to with great anticipation….that is amazing.

I use kidblog.org. Here are some step-by-step directions to set up student blogs, as well as some projects to start you out. Blogging in the Classroom

Project-Based Learning Research Review

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Read More Here via @edutopia

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Via @edutopia: Read more

Professional Generosity at its Finest: The 2012 Global Education Conference

* All of the sessions are archived here, so be sure to check out what you missed!

It’s right around the corner! The 2012 Global Education Conference is free to anyone in any corner of the planet with access to a computer…from the most remote villages to the most populated cities, and everywhere in-between. It will run 24 hours a day, next week: Monday, November 12 through Friday, November 16, 2012.

This is professional generosity at its finest. Bringing educators and innovators from around the globe together to create a weeklong conference where anyone can go to share, learn and connect. There are so many different sessions available, so click on your time zone here and see what’s happening.

I have the opportunity to present again this year with some of the best global educators from around the world. If you get a chance, check the sessions out, they are listed below. The links will be posted for the meeting room prior to each session.

Using Digital and Global Citizenship to Create a Safe and Successful Global Project Recording of this session can be found here. It will open in another window.

Collaborative Projects and the Common Core State Standards Wednesday, Recording of Session can be found here. It will load in another window.

Using Data to Make Sense of the World: a collaborative project with eight schools worldwide Thursday, November 15, Recording of the session can be found here.

This conference is possible with the support of iEARN worldwide as the conference founding sponsor. iEARN will be running their annual international conference in conjunction with this event. This also couldn’t be accomplished without the support of hundreds of educators, moderators, tweeters, bloggers, editors, writers, global education enthusiasts, and many others…all in a magnificent display of professional generosity.

I discussed my strongly held belief in professional generosity in a prior post here and for iEARN-USA. I’m proud to work in a profession that lives that.

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Reading Gives you Super Powers

Our Global Education Conference Proposal

Using Data to Make Sense of the World

Link to Global Education Submission

Your Name and Title: Donna Roman, CUSD 304, Matt McGuire, Kingsclear Consolidated Schools, NB, Canada , George Petmezas, CUSD 304, Illinois USA, Ruth Hou, Wen Ya School, Taiwan

Countries from Which You Will Present: USA, Canada, Taiwan

Language in which you will present: English

Target Audience: Elementary Teachers, Administrators

Short Session Description:

An interdisciplinary project using monthly data collection by schools in eight various locations around the world; we discuss topics in relationship to the data to better understand our world.

Full Session Description:

Using location data, (temperature, daylight, precipitation), and topic discussions, (such as: landforms, plants, animals, food, celebrations, jobs and transportation), eight schools from around the world are collaboratively exploring:

1. What contributes to differences around the world and how?

2. How does our judgment of differences contribute to misunderstanding?

3. How can knowing the context of cultural difference help us understand each other better?

4. How does collecting and analyzing data help us understand this?

Website Associated with Your Sessionhttp://data2makesenseofworld.wikispaces.com/

I can’t do That! Sure you can…

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As we start the school year and online projects, I’m reminded that incorporating the richness of global collaboration into my curriculum has been a gradual process. The whole process seemed more daunting when I first started, but there are so many people and organizations willing to help make it a real possibility for you and your students. There is no end to the Professional Generosity, a phrase Lucy Gray describes in her TedxTalk, available within the global education community.

In my class last week, after our mixed-class small group meetings, Lisa Parisi instructed both of our classes on fact checking and how to cite sources for their collaborative Google docs. That may not seem unusual, but it was all done on Skype, and  Lisa’s class was in Long Island, New York and we were in Geneva, Illinois. We are working collaboratively on a geography unit called Natural Disasters and Us.  This is a complex project involving research, documenting, writing, communicating online and on Skype, and finally the creation of community prototypes that are designed to withstand specific natural disasters.

Lisa and I are able to spend time in each other’s classrooms to learn together as we co-teach. We can be mentors and advisers to one another. She has influenced my teaching greatly. All that, and I have never actually seen Lisa in person. A couple years ago, I could never have envisioned myself doing such a complicated interdisciplinary unit outside of my own four walls. This didn’t happen overnight. I was able to do this little by little with some amazing help.

My first exposure was a pilot global project, A week in the Life, a Flat Classroom Project, and at that point, I had to ask my then principal , Dr. Barrett, what a Web 2.0 tool was. The Flat Classroom teachers in that project patiently walked me step by step to not only a successful outcome, but a toolbox filled with web 2.0 savvy.  Next came my first iEARN project, the Holiday Card Exchange, involving another group of amazing teachers to learn from and with.  Many of us are still in contact doing projects together and sharing information.  iEARN’s motto is Learning with the world, not just about it… and that is true in every sense.

I cannot stress enough the value these interactions hold. The available growth as educators is nothing short of amazing. Opportunities to learn from teachers all around the world, with varying educational cultures and climates….and with different background knowledge… has added a dimension to my teaching that could be gained no other way.

If I can be the teacher in the first paragraph, so can you. All it takes is a gentle guiding hand to lead the way. You can find that in iEARN or the Flat Classroom, as well as many other wonderful organizations.

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Making Thinking Visible

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I heard about Making Thinking Visible, a researched based approach to teaching thinking that began at Harvard’s project Zero, at a webinar through the Future of Education with @stevehargadon. This is an incredible way to use fairly simple classroom teaching routines to help us become better teachers and to promote deeper thinking, and creative, independent, problem-solving in our K-12 students.

There are many resources out there to teach us how to use questioning as a strategy, but this approach is unique and worth exploring.

From the book:

  • we have two chief goals: (1) creating opportunities for thinking and (2) making students’ thinking visible.
  • (we) grouped routines around three categories: Introducing and Exploring, Synthesizing and Organizing, Digging Deeper
  • (the routines) take on more power when used to support students’ ongoing learning across a unit, that is, to build an arc of learning rather than to craft a single episode
  • (we) grouped routines from those that tend to be used early on in a unit, to those that come in the middle, to those that often serve a more culminating function.

Visible Thinking Website

Making Thinking Visible Book

As I always want to do when I find something incredible, I want to get a group of us together to work through this as a PLN. This looks like an excellent way to meld two things that are in our world right now: Common Core Standards and higher teaching standards.

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