#edblogaday 1 Lots of Cs



Why is blogging important to teaching and learning?


Teaching is all about learning, and discovering what works to inspire learning is a thoughtful, reflective process. What works? What doesn’t? Will it work next time? Will this lesson work for each learner? Blogging helps teachers consider the how and what and why of their craft to improve for the next day and the next learner. Blogging — writing — helps us think through our process as it affects our learners. Blogging about teaching and learning allows me to critically think about my plans, processes, lessons, successes, and failures to improve my craft to improve the learning in my classroom. Example: Considering Feedback


Blogging about teaching and learning communicates to others what could be if adapted in their classroom; we communicate our ideas so others may learn. And we read others’ posts to learn and share how we adapted others’ ideas. We communicate our stories so others may discover the real world of teaching and learning. Example: Communicate an idea: Drama


As educators consider, communicate, and reciprocate their ideas, they create strategies and lessons which others can adapt. The act of writing is an act of creating: it sets in words for others to consider the possibilities and opportunities for everyone’s growth. When I read someone else’s idea, I consider my own place and adapt and remix the ideas to fit my world. I reflect and credit others who then may try my idea or the original, and remix to fit their world. It’s a reciprocal, creative remixing to improve the experience of learners. Example: Create and Remix: Notetaking


Educators blog to connect on different levels: connecting educators in similar disciplines, connecting families to schools, connecting classrooms for collaboration or conversation. Blogging for teaching and learning creates a connected web of resources, a virtual online library of ideas for educators, disciplines, families, and students. Example: Connected Classrooms = Connected Writers

Blogging about teaching and learning connects us to learn life together.

Image Credit: Sheri Edwards 

WC: 342

Please join the 140WC challenge

Cross-posted at AskWhatElse



#DigiLit Sunday Assessing Blogs

How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question.


DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, September 14, 2014.

This week’s DigiLit Sunday is a follow-up to Margaret’s question last week: How do I turn this activity into data? 

How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question, and that determines the data.

For some, the purpose may be writing fluency. Then assessment would be to provide feedback on the increased number and length of posts.  [ CCSS: 10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. ]

As students develop fluency, suggest organization of paragraphs — not the five-sentence paragraph, but the idea of topic and support. [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]

Next, add in conventions — sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

If fluency and foundational skills are not the focus, then consider:

  • design — the theme, layout, widgets, links, focus, invitation to participate, categories, tags [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.] 
  • content — topic, support details, vocabulary, questions, style [ CCSS: 1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. 2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. ]
  • conventions

Perhaps the focus is writing:

  • organization
  • ideas
    •  [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]
  • voice
  • word choice
  • sentence fluency
  • conventions
    • [CCSS: 5  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. ]

Perhaps the focus is collaboration:

  • research
  • connect
  • share
  • collaborate
    • [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others  7  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. 8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. ]
    • [CCSS Speaking and Listening 

Comprehension and Collaboration 1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. 2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. 3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.]

For a thorough review of blogging with students, see Silvia Tolisano’s work at Langwitches:

I especially like this rubric she created [click to enlarge]:

Silvia Tolisano’s Rubric

My hope is my “assessment” is a conversation with students and students with each other, so that the learning is a growth goal of which reflection inspires improvement. Therefore, an ongoing component of blogging would be a reflection by the student of the growth their blog demonstrates. If I must give score from a rubric, the important part is still the conversation, goal-setting, and reflection!

What are your thoughts about assessing blogs and gathering data?

#clmooc #clpoettag Poetry Tag Part 2



Poetry Tag Part 2

Poetry Tag June 30 +

For #clmooc Week 3, we played and created and hacked games. As a Language Arts teacher, I wanted a game that could fit our curriculum and spice it up with technology [or not]. I wanted a game for students to see themselves as wordsmiths — to play with words and sense and see the wonder in the ordinary.

So I introduced Poetry Tag Part 1. Several people took up the tag, and the game began. In the image above, you see some of our Notegraphy poems, and the Google Plus, Storybuilder, and Notegraphy poems can all be found Storified: Poetry Tag.

 Poetry Tag Part 1 provides the background and rules, but basically the idea is to document the snippets of life in our everyday moments so they are recorded for future writing drafts. In the tag game, if you see the #clpoettag, add a new poem of your own sometime that day. If possible, spin off the ideas and words of that poem, even hack some lines — you’ll see this in the samples in the Storified: Poetry Tag and Notegraphy poems.

Michelle Stein’s poem shows how we are creating a movement, and this expressed our engagement. Kevin Hodgson created a story from our poems with Storybuilder and on Wednesday, so did I: Movement: Shift. As you can see, we have created, shared, remixed, and hacked through several apps our play with words that demonstrates a shift in writing paradigms, as Mallory McNeal’s poem expresses.

Weshifttheparadigm... (1)

Now what?

Poetry Tag Part 2: The Classroom

As stated, the rules are simple: the idea is to document the snippets of life in our everyday moments so they are recorded for future writing drafts. In the tag game, if you see the #clpoettag, add a new poem of your own sometime that day. If possible, spin off the ideas and words of that poem, even hack some lines to use in your poem or create a story. Just recognize  the author.

How do we do this?

Use any app [ Notegraphy, Google Apps, Keynote, Twitter, Visual Poetry, Tackks.com/education, Kidbog, Edublogs, etc. ] to create your poem. The poem may include images.

Share it out with #clpoettag which means Connected Learning Poet Tag. Share it in the community used by your classroom. That could be your Kidblogs, Edublogs, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, etc. with a link to your poem.

Here’s some options creating and posting and tagging:

  • Creating: We used Notegraphy quite a bit. That’s nice because the website will gather those tags together for sharing and discussing.
  • Posting: Post in Notegraphy, Instagram, Kidbogs, Edublogs, Google Apps, or create a tackks.com/education stream [works in Edmodo] whereby anyone can post.
  • Tagging Sue Waters suggested using classroom Twitter accounts to share out the poems.
  • Blog Tag: Write and post a poem on your blog, then tag someone with a comment on their blog to create a poem hacking yours and adding to it. That person wold comment back with a link to their poem.

Want to engage students in word play? in a game of wordplay? to become wordsmiths?  As Donald Murray says, “Writing is hard fun.” And this would be fun.

What do you suggest?  What hacks to the rules or process would you suggest?  Thank you !

#clmooc Blog Conversations

Bangkok Street Portraits 8 - Mindful

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Collin Key via Compfight


What is a conversation?

A conversation, the give and take of ideas among people. We converse in the hallway, at dinner, or any time we meet. We listen to the stories of our friends, and we share our own. We ask questions, and answer those of others. We laugh. We cry. We agree. We disagree. We consider what our friends say. We may even change our own ideas. But the important thing is, we share, consider, and continue the dialogue. That’s a conversation. Isn’t it?

What is a blog conversation?

As you have been practicing, good bloggers spend time reading and commenting on others’ blogs. We look for posts of interest to us and leave a comment expressing our ideas and appreciation for the topic information. Commenting is a form of conversation with the author of the blog.

As bloggers, we can do more to extend the conversation. We can add value to others’ ideas by extending the conversation into our own blogs.

When we read others’ blog posts. We enjoy, learn, or disagree with them. In our minds, we have a response. That’s what we want to capture, that spark of connection when we read the posts.

Read to find that spark, that connection — the place in the blog post you think, “Ah.” or “What?” or “Yeah.”

At that point, that’s your cue to add to the conversation. It’s your gift back from the value given in the post. Copy that part of the idea.

Then, with the best digital citizenship in mind, we write a post about that idea, and your gift back: do you agree? disagree? learn something? have a different or new idea?

Go for it: Share their idea and your response — being overly positive as we always do so the author feels accepted and not disrespected.

Link back to the original blog.

Then comment on the blog with a link to your response post.

You’ve just started a blog conversation!

 So, How do I start a blog conversation?

  1. Find a post with a spark — an idea that you connect with other ideas
  2. Copy that part of the post
  3. Start your post with that quote and the author’s name.
  4. Link the author’s name to their blog (put the URL of that POST as a link from the name)
  5. Thank the author for their idea
  6. Add your ideas: a new idea, a different idea, an agreement and why, a respectful disagreement [I wonder if…], a question and your answer
  7. Publish your post
  8. Go back to the original post and comment with a link to your post
  9. Smile: You’re a blogger!

 Blogging is a Conversation

If you blog, you’re a writer, an author, but take it further, be a the blogger that adds value to your connections. Be a connected learner.

This blog post is an extension of a conversation learned in a WizIQ webinar I took with  Stephen Downes, which I wrote about here, to share my learning and my response to that webinar learning. I learned that the connections are what is important:

  • In order for what we are saying to make any sense, it needs to be a response to something.
  • Find places where you can add value rather than pursue a particular goal or objective
  • In almost all fields, connecting with others IS the work.
  • Connecting is all about adding value and flow (input, output, feedback, plasticity)

That post of mine and this post for you are part of the flow, the extension of the conversation from the gift of learning from  Stephen Downes. I decided to make changes in my blogging practice and to share that with you:

  1. Read and comment on blogs; blog a response (this is one of my responses).
  2. For my students, we will now read others’ blogs first, blog our response of those that touch our hearts and minds, and comment back with a link to our posts.

I appreciate and thank Stephen for extending my ideas about blogging. And thanks to The Edublogs Team for their blogging challenges for Connected Educator Month.

Do you see how I have:

  • Included a link to  Stephen Downes?
  • Include the learning [bullets above] from  Stephen Downes?
  • Linked his name back to his blog and also to the WizIQ webinar information?
  • Added my ideas [directions to you; two changes I will make]?
  • Thanked the author [Stephen]?
  • Lastly, I wrote back on the webinar site [not available publicly] to share my blogpost, which is my “comment back.”
  • And, for writing class, did I:
    • Write clearly
    • Write with evidence
    • Write positively
    • Write in paragraphs
    • Write with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization?

Ready? Have a go —

Find an inspiring post and write your own extension to the conversation, adding value to the ideas of the original author!  And ask yourself:

  • Are  you connected?
  • Are you adding value?
  • Are you responding to the gifts from others?
  • Are you extending the conversation?
  • And , for writing class, are you:
    • writing clearly with evidence?
    • writing positively [respectfully]
    • writing in paragraphs with correct conventions [grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization]?

Have a go,

…and come back here to comment on the results…

Cross-posted from Eagles Write

Liebster: Discover New Blogs



What an honor! Liebster (sweetheart / beloved — we love blogging) Blog Award! Thank you Laura Coughlin at Love::Teaching for sharing this fun award. I see this as an award that recognizes the uniqueness of “smaller” bloggers — those with less than 200 followers; it asks us to find these bloggers and reach out to them. Thank you, Laura! It’s an honor and a pleasure to join the quest.

Liebster Nomination Rules
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with less than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by the nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about you.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees to inform them of their nomination.

My Nominees

1. Tracy at wwwantanabe
2. Lorraine at Making Shift Happen
3. Laura at Shiny Happy Teachers
4. Susan at BloggerClass
5. Karen at karenatsharon
6. Jas at Learning, Teaching and my Technology Journey
7. Jenny at Thinking Outside the Blog


My Answers to Questions from Laura, my nominator:

1. Why do you blog?

I blog as a reflection on what I do in my classroom. I blog to share ideas with others, to ask others for input, and to thank those who have helped me.  I blog to be present in today, which can be referred to tomorrow. I blog to show my growth as a learner. And I blog as model for my students. It’s not easy to put oneself out into the world, but it is certainly enlightening to connect and learn with others; it broadens my perspective and guides me to be better each day.

2. What’s the most important thing a teacher can do for his or her students?

The most important thing I can do as a teacher is to model learning through curiosity and wonder. It is that spark of curiosity that leads us to ask, “I wonder…” or “What else?” As I “reflect curiosity and wonder,” I model how to find answers, get stuck, find a way through, and celebrate a discovery, an idea, a skill. I show how I can change my thinking, and not be set with one right answer. I show my struggle with accepting that things could be different than I thought, and the struggle with finding the way through all the information and all the ways of knowing, and the struggle with all the practice to become good at something. And I celebrate the learning. We do these every day. Learning is living.  Without these, there is no learning.

3. What’s the most important thing a teacher can do for his or her colleagues?

The most important thing a teacher can do for colleagues is to listen. Listen to the ideas. Listen to the struggle. Listen to the celebration. By being there, listening, I acknowledge they matter, and that is the most important thing in today’s anti-education world. And by listening, I learn from them. I learn an idea, a struggle, an issue, a joy. If asked, I can offer another idea, view, strategy. But the most important thing is to be there, listening.

4. If you could change one physical thing about your classroom, what would it be?

If I could change one physical thing about my classroom, I’d add friendly light — get rid of the institutional lighting, and fill the room with natural light and lamps. I’ve got cushy chairs for reading and small groups, and books everywhere. I’ve got one lamp; I’ll add a few more.  Yard sales, here I come.

5. Describe one of your most memorable classroom experiences.

A most memorable classroom experience is that of committee work. Now I don’t remember the topic, but as a very shy person and child, I was terrified at being assigned committee leader. I was to organize and lead the work on our topic, gathering members together somewhere after school. I lived in a small, old farmhouse in the city at the edge of wealth; a somewhat troubling and intimidating feeling for a fifth grade kid. Fortunately, one member offered her home as meeting place, and off we went. I learned that one person could sense hesitation or issues in another. But to be the leader and organizer, worried about my “place,” was something I would remember. And I learned the courage to do what needed to be done so we would finish our task. I learned courage, acceptance, and to sense a possible fear or hesitation in others. No facts; just relationships and courage.

6. Does your classroom have a “color scheme”? If yes, what is it?

My color scheme is lemon sage. We were able to change colors during a painting year, and that color is so soft and friendly, matching the pages of old, familiar books bound in leather.

7. How many students/teachers do you have at your school?

Our small school is home to ten teachers and one hundred fifty plus students.

8. What is your favorite classroom use of technology?

My favorite classroom use of technology is Google Apps for Education. To be able to share, collaborate, provide feedback, create presentations and videos, to share with others around the world — that is powerful!

9. Who/what is your teaching inspiration?

John Dewey is my inspiration from the past, along with William Glasser,  Haim Ginott, Jeanette Veatch, James Moffett, Donald Graves, Donald Murray (Writing is hard fun), Lucy Caulkins, Peter Elbow, Richard Allington, Ralph Fletcher, Judith Langer, and Nancie Atwell.

Daily, my teaching inspiration is my Personal Learning Neighborhood (PLN), especially the #openspokes fellowship, #geniushour crew (Denise, Hugh, Joy, and Gallit), Scott Boylen, Tracy Watanabe, Theresa Allen, and Paula Naugle.

This summer I am delightfully inspired by the entire membership of the #clmooc and, again, #openspokes (please join this community of reflective vloggers started by the awesome reflective learner, Ben Wilkoff)!

I am always inspired by Alec and George Couros, Will Chamberlain, John Spencer, Scott McCloud, Paul Allison, and Will Richardson. And I must thank Steve Hargadon’s Classroom 2.0 and 20 Live and crew, Jim Burke’s English Companion Ning, Edutopia,  NaNoWriMo, and TeachersFirst.

And technologically, I am inspired by Apple (Technology should never get in the way of humanity), Google ( Focus on the use and all else will follow; Democracy on the web works.), and Mozilla (The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible).

But, mostly, I’m inspired by my husband, Scott, who is constantly reading and learning, and my family, who reflect back to me the wonder of the world.

All that I know comes from so many with me and before me! I think these and more!

10. What is 1 teaching goal you have for this school year?

One teaching goal I have for this school year is to survey my students frequently for feedback to know that I am providing them an engaging experience.

11. What is the biggest teaching mistake you ever made?

When I read this question, I immediately thought of an incident. It was my fourth year of teaching, the first time in middle school after three years of teaching first grade. Something happened. I heard the noise. I don’t remember what the noise or issue was, but I do remember this: I walked right over to a student and assumed he was the cause. He looked me right in the eye and took a step forward. This student had never “looked me in the eye” (it was not a cultural norm) before. I knew I was wrong. I stepped back, and so did he. I learned to take my time when something happens, and to trust that the students will do what is right. I remember we talked a bit and I apologized. Patience. Trust. Key elements, especially with adolescents.

 Random Facts About Me

  1. Our family includes 10 curious, intelligent, kind grandchildren.
  2. I joined Twitter in 2007 to monitor my granddaughter (age 12) who had joined Twitter.
  3. We have family stories about fairies, dragons, and bat caves.
  4. Spring is my favorite season, with its budding hope of renewal.
  5. I take photos of everything. iPhone’s let us “stop and smell the roses.”
  6. I would rather dance than walk.
  7. I’ve written two novels for NaNoWriMo 🙂
  8. My meditation is watching the sunlight dance upon the water.
  9. A Christmas tree with small colored lights is our calming evening light year ’round.
  10. I’m an Apple Mac geek who loves Google Apps.
  11. I have been honored to teach in the same marvelous school and community for twenty-seven years.
  12. (extra, because I asked my nominees to do it: Six Word Teaching Philosophy: Connect kindly and learn life together. Of course, I always say, “Go boldly; Scatter Seeds of Kindness.”

Questions for the bloggers I nominated:
1. Why do you blog?
2. What’s the most important thing a teacher can do for his or her students?
3. What’s the most important thing a teacher can do for his or her colleagues?
4. If you could change one physical thing about your classroom, what would it be?
5. Describe one of your most memorable classroom experiences.
6. What memorable experience do you hope your students have?
7. How many students/teachers do you have at your school?
8. What is your favorite classroom use of technology?
9. Who/what is your teaching inspiration?
10. What is 1 teaching goal you have for this school year?
11. In six words, what is your teaching philosophy?



Connected Educator Blogging Challenge

Are you hesitant to join in the global conversations around the world? Are you overwhelmed by the amount of information flowing towards you?

One way to join the conversation and sort out the information is to start a blog to reflect on and share the ideas to which you connect. You just might help someone else be less overwhelmed with what you add to the blogging community. And fortunately for you Sue Waters at Edublogs has a step by step challenge started. You can learn on your own following her easy-to-follow directions. From creating a blog, to setting up pages, posting, and commenting, she provides clear, written, and visual directions for you. It’s Connected Educator’s Month, and Edublogs always participates in events that promote connection and innovation.

So get your fingers stretched and ready to type. It’s easy. One of the most important activity challenges is setting up an “About Page.” I know; you are overwhelmed; you’re not sure you want your name out there. But remember, when we research topics, the first thing we do is check the authenticity of the author. We want to know who’s writing. And if you want to stretch your network, readers need to know who you are so they can contact you to collaborate on projects.

It’s time to start creating your digital footprint. As a teacher, it’s important to be a role model for your students. In this very public, online world, we teachers have a responsibility to model and teach digital writing and citizenship. Your About Page lets readers who find your blog and your parents and community know who you are.You model the transparency and civility for this digital world.

So I encourage you to start blogging by following the wonderful ways to engage and create in the Edublogs Teacher Challenge. And please, use your real name and tell about yourself on an “About Page.”

Remember, wherever you write on the Internet, it is your footprint:

A blog post and comment is your footprint…

a path back to you…

prepare your path wisely.