Our Tech Beginnings

Current Focus, 2013

 This blog will include reflections on teaching and lessons as well as connections and conversations with my Personal Learning Network as a model for my students. This year I am participating in #ETMOOT — a participatory, self-directed learning community.

I am learning, and this blog represents my learning. Please be patient with my work and that of my students. Each work represents the author’s ideas and does not represent our school district.

Our Tech Beginnings —- 2009

A review of our start with technology

Our class wiki (http://whatelse.pbwiki.com) is up and running. I created the project as part of PBWiki Summer Camp to promote the use of wikis in the classroom as a collaborative writing format. As a result, I am now a PB Wiki Educator 🙂 so if teachers or principals have questions/concerns/suggestions, please contact me. I’d be glad to hear your ideas or offer suggestions about wiki implementation.

PBWiki Certified Educator

In addition, lesson summaries for each class are updated daily. Students refer to these in class for links and directions; parents and students can view what was missed if absent. Links:

Spelling words could be tested and played with by logging in to my name, Sheri Edwards, at http://www.spellingcity.com/. Each Monday, the students created a class list by generating a list of words from base words I provided. Students use their list of prefixes and suffixes to generate the new words. We discuss spelling patterns and meanings. Example:

Base word: relate

Generated words: related, relating, unrelated, relation, relationship, relative, relatively

The base words and tricky words were placed each week on the Spelling City site. Students searched for my name, found the word list for study, and played games or took a test. Great online resource.

Past Projects:

One project for eighth grade, “Letters to the President” sponsored by Google Docs and the National Writing Project, can be viewed at: http://www.letters2president.org/. Students met the goal to investigate and discuss issues and concerns they would like the future president to address. Students collaborated in Google Docs and wrote letters in Google Docs which transferred to the above website of participants’ letters, a fantastic opportunity for students to express themselves responsibly and sincerely to possibly effect change in the future.

Next, grade eight teams worked on “Who Are We” projects incorporating the use of digital media/art that expresses the textual content. The link provides the direction page. Some pages are password protected.

Seventh grade studied Polar Problems, researched the effects of global warming on the Arctic and us. They wrote a short persuasive piece in online multi-media. This unit prepared us for our WASL persuasive writing test.


Concerns

As the year started and students filtered in, the eager faces mingled with those students who are less concerned with education and more concerned with being center stage with inappropriate language and actions. I thought about the implications the work of often contrary students could bring to the project; would they continue their negative, distorted views? In the next instant, though, I knew that it is precisely these students who need the opportunity to participate. Their immediate issues and concerns can be transcended as the the whole class deals with and discusses issues of the community. How else will all the students become engaged responsibly if we (I) don’t invite all students? Our purpose and my stated goal is to facilitate student civic responsibility; I believe the students, all of them, will want their voices heard, and they can only be heard if they learn the protocol for responsible sharing. I share these feelings and concerns I have so my students know how carefully and thoughtfully I plan for their successful education and hope for their future.

Results

The grade eight students responded with fantastic energy and focus to complete Web 2.0 projects. Most students researched well and used data to persuade the president to tune into their problems and suggestions for solutions. Some were not as well-researched, but voiced concerns and solutions. Only one student broke the contract for expected netiquette and lost two weeks of computer privileges; the student accepted responsibility and re-agreed to appropriate participation. The other students have maintained and applied our “be overly friendly and positive” expectations. We, the students and myself, are practicing our online civic responsibilities

Challenge

So, students, what do you think? Are you willing to join students across the nation in “writing the future” by learning how to address concerns to a public persona with thorough discussion, research, and writing?


Note: Our lesson summaries are now here: Planbook  LAGoals

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