Saturday, September 25, 2004

Red sky

Red sky
Originally uploaded by DocBoobenstein.
cool sunset!

Venetian reception1

Venetian reception1
Originally uploaded by mharrsch.
Las Vegas... I wish I was there...


Originally uploaded by carolina123.
Here is our happy class.


Originally uploaded by carolina123.
The morning video conference.


Originally uploaded by carolina123.
in class

updated lesson idea

Title: Writing Friendly Letters Using Weblogs

Author: Carolina Counts, teacher Mueller Charter School

Summary: Together with my 2nd grade students we will be writing a friendly letter to another class from around the world and posting to a weblog. We will be using the internet for this project, specifically a weblogging site. This will be our online journal (like a pen pal) about us and learning about another culture from around the world.

Context: To be implemented in a 2nd grade classroom with 6 to 7 year-old children.

Duration: This is an ongoing project that will hopefully last the entire school year. I hope to post and receive a response at least once a week.

Goals: To use weblogging as an instructional tool to teach writing using friendly letters. I hope students will learn some similarities and differences between the 2nd grade classes from around the world. Later in the year we will be sharing our ideas on our favorite books and discussing what we are learning in Science and Social Studies.
Standards Addressed - 2.2 Write a friendly letter complete with the date, salutation, body, closing, and signature.

Participants: Another 2nd grade class from somewhere around the world will also be involved

Process: First, the teacher will need to find a participating 2nd grade class from somewhere around the world. I suggest using ePals or similar website. After finding a class to participate discuss with the class the parts of a friendly letter. Next, in table groups invite students to come up with one question and one sentence to include in the letter. The student will brainstorm ideas together. Then the teacher will type it into the computer as the students are observing on the big screen TV. Finally, as a class check the letter for correct punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Resources: ePals and blogger

• You can only use students first names (which will be alias names).
• No pictures of students with names.
• Discussion must stay on assigned topic.
• Teacher must ok all posts.
• All language must be appropriate for school (no bad words or put downs)
• Respect others opinions.
• If the rules are not followed you will not be able to post.

Products: What I hope to have is an online journal of reflections, questions, and comments from two 2nd grade classrooms that are located in different parts of the world.

Evaluation: I will know this was effective by going back and reflecting on the student’s letter writing. I could evaluate it at the end of the year by having students write a friendly letter to me about what their favorite part of the writing to the other class was.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Fiedler article

Thoughts on the Fiedler article
“We have developed and fine-tuned an art of teaching but we have failed to develop an equally strong art of learning.” This quote from the Fiedler article is oh so true. The focus at my school and many others (I’m sure) is all about training the teachers. We have had so many trainings and in-services over the last few years it makes my head spin. Now all this talk from the “No Child Left Behind Act” about “Highly Qualified Teachers” teachers are being trained and educated about everything when the focus should really be about the learning going on everyday in the classroom. We do need to focus more on the process of learning and the students need to get more involved motivated to learn.


Ganley article

In reading Barbara Ganley’s article about her experiences with technology she discusses her experiences with blogging. Her description of her classroom where students don’t even know each other’s names is quite sad, but it’s true. Many high school and college courses have turned into that. Students go to class and focus on the teacher and never became a “community” of learners. She decided to change that through the use of blogging. She gradually evolved from using weblogs as cores management, to student weblogs, to a course weblog and now to a Motherblog- where all students contribute.

Since I recently learned about weblogging, I also hope to gradually evolve my blogging skills into something that is useful for my students. I plan to introduce blogging as a whole class and eventually have individual student blogs. At my school we loop with our classes through two years (2nd &3rd), so I’m hoping by 3rd grade students will be able to start blogging on their own.

Lesson idea

Since I believe that weblogging will be too difficult for the beginning of 2nd grade I'm thinking of doing a class weblog. If I introduce it now as a whole class weblog (like a shared writing activity) possibly by the end of the year students can do their own blog or maybe they can do it in groups. I'm thinking of doing a friendly letter lesson which is directly related to the 2nd grade standards. I plan to find another class to write to possibly at my school or another school. As a class we can post letters back and forth to each other. Since our classrooms are equipped with bigscreen TV's this is something we can do together as a class.

Downes Article

Downes- Educational Blogging

In summary a blog is an online journal that can be easily updated. The current ways teachers are using weblogs are:

* Teachers use blogs to replace the standard class Web page
* Instructors begin to link to Internet items that relate to their course
* To organize in-class discussions and to develop our community of learners
* Some instructors are using blogs to organize class seminars and to provide summaries of
* Students may be asked to write their own blogs as part of their course grade

I think these are all very effective ways to use blogging in education. I think it is definitely geared more towards college and high school than the elementary grades.
While thinking of how to use this in the classroom I can’t help but to think about the restrictions on education. The article briefly mentions this. I’m worried about the student privacy issue.

I do agree that the ease of use for weblogs in very appealing. Just last week, at my school, we were having a discussion about possibly creating an e-mail group for parents. We were interested in sending out newsletters and important information to parents through e-mail. As soon as I learned about this weblog idea I mentioned it to my principal as an idea to update parents about events. This would help us with not having to change the website all the time. We have a nice school web page, but every time we want to change it we have to contact the web designer to do it for us. Our page is Mueller Charter School

Saturday, September 18, 2004

I found a 2nd grade class blog

Well I couldn't really find too much for my 2nd graders to look at, but I did find an existing weblog from a 2nd grade class in Chicago. They used their blog to share information and ask questions about animals, Native Americans, and Famous people. They also posted many poems and stories on their blog. It's very cool... check it out!

Learning about blogging...

I'm spending a beautiful Saturday morning in class leaning about blogging. What fun, what fun... actually it is fun. Now I'm already thinking of ways to incorporate it into my classroom. Well since my students are only in 2nd grade this may be a little difficult.

Why am I in school thinking about work on a Saturday? I don't know, but as long as I enjoy it that's all that matters. Can you tell I'm trying to convince myself I enjoy it? Well really I'm a work-a-holic and I get bored if I'm not extremely busy all the time. So I teach full time while taking 9 units this semester towards my Master's in ED TEC.

I wish I were watching CNN right now