Tuesday, February 19, 2008

921-Session 4-Integrating Edublogs into the Classroom

Session 4 & Deliverable #2

To gear you up, and psyche you up, for this session I'd like you to watch this. You have to click on it twice. "Did You Know? 2.0" :

If you do not have a high speed Internet connection (definitely the minority of you) then the video (around 8 minutes in length) is available in other formats at: http://scottmcleod.typepad.com/dangerouslyirrelevant/2007/01/gone_fischin.html

As you begin to work on, and think about, your project for Deliverable #2, (details in the syllabus and please post in both the blog and the wiki) consider using these resources to guide your integration with the students:

Rubric for student comments:

And don't forget to visit your peers' blogs. Pamela's elementary school now has 11 bloggers, including the Principal!!! Wow! Her school only started on the blogging bandwagon last summer when one of her co-workers took my 920 class. Great job Narragansett Elementary School!

And also check out Jennifer Geller's posting. It traveled so far around the blogosphere that the author of our main text, Will Richardson, even responded by leaving a comment on her blog. These examples are just tip of the iceberg. Explore and check things out for yourself.

And if you haven't already, check out the Answers.com tool I've added to our blog. Just double click on any word and check it out. There's even an audio option.

Happy blogging,



MDavis said...

For this week's reading, I am continually amazed at the strength in constructive behaviors employed with the Web 2.0 technologies. I particularly was draw to Chris Smith's discussion of podcasting from several years back, as it never dawned on me as a tool for educational support. I am already considering offering it to my students as one of several tools on menu of items for a presentation piece on our next project. I can see the potential for all students to take an interest in these "radio shows" that would connect them to the content in a fun and accessIible way.

I began working with one of my English teachers on a project that would include six suggested readings from contemporary teenage fiction. We really wanted to allow for independent reading leveled books while discussing a theme of decision making in difficult situations. The books, which include adult situations and themes are very prevalent to the students, but might be intimidating or upsetting to their parents. In order to lay the groundwork for the project, I did a pre-reading activity using a short story titled, "Checkouts." The story follows a young girl who moved to a new town she hates, but accidently meets a checkout boy at the grocery story who she falls in love. Through strange circumstances, they miss one another on several occastions and the story ends with them finally catching up but with new beaus already in tow. The story was easy to follow and connects with simple themes. The moments of inquiry that would help us to evaluate how well the students made predictions and developed abstract ideas was important. As a result, we thought that it might be fun to test my online classroom with a simple pair of blogs for two class periods.

The two blogs, one dealing with character feelings and other with actions, were short and direct. We simply wanted to see how comfortable students where with sharing their notes on the reading through a technique we practiced and then see if we could connect their ideas to a prediction. Unfortunately, we didn't have an available time to test the latter part, but the blogging was a great way to see how comfortable and eager students were to participate. As an additional task, I backtracked to our previous sessions and asked students to respond to a simply poll of how they use technology and a survey of how they enjoyed our day in the online learning environment.

I learned that about half of the students were using blogs such as MySpace and Facebook actively, and that the majority of students had never edited a wiki or podcasted before. Interestingly though, almost all were instant and text messaging daily and only considered using the computer for schoolwork (and using cell phones for the majority of their oral and written conversations). At the end of the day, more than half liked the idea of using the online discussions over in-class talks and even one noted how nice it was to be able to access his chat from at home for further review. I even saw that a number of the kids went on later in the evening, and when questions, they noted that "[they] wanted to see how everyone was responding to their posts." Social interactions, definitely, but I would like to argue that they also took part in concern for their academics if they chose to review their notes in their free time... a rare action from my students.

I wanted you all to have the chance to see what I was able to do in that one day and give you a preview of where I am going. You can log on to my website: http://www.davisclassroom.com and use the following username/password: edc921/fontaine Just click on "Lang and Lit 112..." to access the course site. You can click on the links in the middle or the Blog Tags at the right to see this class and the second period's blogs as well. I admit these are very basic, but they let me test their potential and the new classroom site. I hope to have many more in the future, including ones from our faculty and members of the community.

I do wonder though, about how receptive other adults in my community (parents in particular) and faculty would be to podcasting and blogging. Could we conduct ourselves in a productive manner for communicating where collaboration and criticism would be accepted in a respectful manner? I even wonder if the students are able to do this, but I think that parents see these technologies as less valuable then calling into the school or writing a letter to the newspaper. It should be very interesting to see if I can encourage a few parents to get involved in a positive and enjoyable manner.

Donna McMullin said...

Donna McMullin
Deliverable # 2 – The Teachers Book Club Blog - http://teachersread.blogspot.com/

Since I am a media specialist who collaborates with classroom teachers, I do not have my own class to respond to my blog, nor do we have district permission yet to actually blog with students, so my blog was created for our teachers' reading club.

The blog is an “invitation only” blog so that my teachers would feel more comfortable with the blogging experience. Our next book club meeting is March 22, so I planned to introduce it to the entire group visually and distribute instructions for access, but I have sent out invitations to the “early innovators” in the group to see if they were willing to test run the idea. The feedback has been all positive so far.

I was not sure if viewing/commenting on each others blogs was part of the deliverable, so I invited you all as well as the book club members. Feel free to email me if you have any suggestions – dmcmulli@frsd.k12.nj.us.

I am really glad that I started my first interactive blog with my colleagues and not with students (and parents) so I had a chance to iron out the wrinkles. I am planning a student Poetry Blog with one of my seventh grade teachers who is also interested in blogging. But, before this will be possible, I need to anticipate every problem/situation and be prepared to discuss this with my principal and tech supervisor. This deliverable was a great practice run.

Through the process of creating Deliverable # 2, The Teachers Book Club Blog, I learned:

1) Contact will need to be established through parent email as I will have to “invite” all 125 seventh graders to join the blog. Interesting prospect 

2) Students won’t need a Google account if you take advantage of the two-week guest period.
“As a guest, they will be able to continue viewing your blog by clicking the link from the invitation email, but this will expire after two weeks. After that, they will need a new invitation.” Blogger Help
This should be ample time for students to read and comment on the poetry of their classmates should parents not want to register for a Google account.

3) Not every invitation worked. Some had to be resent. This sould be added to parent letter with easy tips for troubleshooting.

4) As additional security measures, I will not add the email link to the posts, and will set the permissions for participation to invited members only. However, I’m still not sure of the difference between “Registered users” and “members of this blog.”

4) I will use labels to sort the various categories of poetry. I was hoping for a mechanism to allow me to link between blogs, but the use of labels will work fine.

5) I will have the students “post” their poem while in the library under my login so the student comments will be directly under each respective poem. I think it will look better to have the poems on the blog as “posts” and not as “comments.

6) I did not like the concept of the “Next Blog” accessible to my students. While the blogs on Blogger are by no means “obscene”, the content of some may be offensive to the sensitivity of some parents. I found the html code to remove the NavBar and that works really well. I left the NavBar on my Teachers’ Book Club Blog, but you can see a working blog without the NavBar on the site of the code’s originator, Janet Pederson - http://csslibraryblog.blogspot.com/

You do need to edit from the Dashboard on the Google Account Login page.

7) To make this work, I will also have to draft a Blogger’s Agreement Contract for students, an introduction to the project letter for parents, and an illustrated set of directions for students/parents for accessing blog and adding comments. I will also have to plan an outline for a student discussion on etiquette of blog commenting, and create a blog commenting rubric, as well as project directions for students. My district also requires a release to post student work too.

The article called Blogs by Erica Brownstein and Robert Klein in the National Science Teacher Association’s Journal of College Science Teaching has a good article on blogging in the classroom - http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/college_science.php?news_story_ID=51966&print=yes

Although written for a college environment, the section “Figure 4. Rules for an effective blog in a science classroom” can be applicable to any subject area, and modified for any grade level. The eight rules include:

Rule 1: Decide the purpose of the blog. Be specific.
Rule 2: Decide who will be the main author of the blog
Rule 3: Give structure to the blog
Rule 4: Determine institutional guidelines
Rule 5: Decide if the blog will be public or by invitation only
Rule 6: Teach students blog etiquette
Rule 7: Adapt as needed
Rule 8: Have fun

Anonymous said...

Deliverable #2

Blogging: a tool to help students learn the process of research.

Venue: Library Media Center in an elementary school. Upper elementary students are doing a research project for Social Studies. Traditionally, the LMC is used to find online and print resources.

Students will use school library electronic catalog, and the Web to search for information on a topic.
Students will describe their research experiences using the library blog.

In the classroom, the teacher introduces the students to the research project. The librarian shows (or reviews) how to search the online catalog (OPAC) for books. She also teaches (or reviews) the criteria student should be using to evaluate a webpage.

During library period, the librarian introduces students to the library blog located on the library web page. They discuss and are given classroom blog agreement http://www.teachersfirst.com/content/blog/Sample.doc (thank you Donna for this link). As they begin to research, students are required to answer and discuss questions on the blog posed by the librarian regarding their research process. Students are encouraged to read their classmates’ comments and respond. The librarian responds to each of the student’s comments. Responses from students can help the librarian understand how students are approaching the research process. By responded to each comment, she is able to provide individual assistance that might be difficult to provide when the whole class is in the library actively researching. She can also re-teach and clarify aspects of the process as necessary

Examples of questions posed on the blog:

Using OPAC: “Now that you found a book in our library catalog, what search terms did you use? Did you search by keyword or by subject heading? Don’t forget to tell me your topic”
“Once you found books that might help you, did you know where to look in the library? If you didn’t know where to look, who did you ask for help?”
“Once you found a book in the library, where did you look to find the specific information that you needed?
Do you like using OPAC? What do you like about it? If you don’t like it, why not?

Searching the Web: “what search engine did you use to research your topic?” What keywords did you use? List them.
“Once you found a website, did you use our checklist to verify that this is a reliable website?
Tell us more about how you evaluated your website. Who or what organization wrote it? When was it last updated?
“Did you find a website that was really terrible? If yes, tell us why you thought it was terrible?

Some difficulties one might encounter:
1. Students might forget their process (i.e. what keywords they used to
find books they needed). A possible solution: allow students 10 minutes at the end of the library period to respond. This assumes there are enough computers in the library and enough time.

2. Lack of teacher support. Using blogs in this manner requires the support of the classroom teacher. Before attempting to use a library blog in a classroom unit, a librarian may begin “smaller” by creating a library blog as a daily agenda or blog as a means of promoting new books and book reviews.

Anonymous said...

oops forgot my to "sign" my name to the entry above.
Mary O'Neill

Amy Messerlian said...

I introduced my students to the classroom website which holds our blog early Monday morning. They were very receptive and attentive and interested in the process. I modeled for them how to access the blog by using the TV in my room that hooks up to my computer. They first watched me log in and navigate through the page. I explained the rules of using the blog, how to use it, why we are using it, and all that other good stuff. Right away they were offering up suggestions for ways it could be used!

After the introduction I had them each sign on to a computer and complete their first assignment using the blog which was having them make a prediction on what they thought was going to happen in the next chapter of the book we are currently reading. This is something I normally have them do on lined paper and then turn in to me after a few share out their predictions. Right away they jumped up, logged in, and were off to work! They navigated through the blog quite easily.

I accepted each of their postings right away and had them refresh their computers so they could see what everyone else had predicted. One student even showed everyone how to quote what someone else had said so they make a comment to that particular student. They quickly realized they were able to add threads (of course they were aware it pended approval from me before being posted) to the different blogging categories.

Today I added a new category to the blog and during the students resource time I asked them to go on and respond to the new thread. It wasn’t visible to them so I had to go in as an administrator and play around with it for a minute before realizing I hadn’t given anonymous viewers the accessibility to the new category. I quickly made the change so that it would be visible to anyone who visited the site. One student helped others create a log in so that they would not be an anonymous guest.

The students are teaching one another (not to mention me) new things, requesting for certain things to be part of the blog, and actively engaging in reading/writing during resource time. This is impressive to me because if my students earn free time (which they can do and then turn in during a resource period) they usually like to play games or do something else of their choosing. Now (although it has only been a few days) they want to access the blog and post comments or replies during their free time. Normally when I suggest reading/writing during that time they turn their noses up but now they are doing it without even being aware of it.

I set up this blog just about three weeks ago and was impressed with what I did then. Since then I have learned so much (including even today) from just navigating through the blog and playing with different editing settings. I feel that my blog is improving day by day and that is a rewarding feeling (I am sure you are all feeling the same way)!

In history I am currently having my students produce a brochure on a global issue using Microsoft Publisher. I need to look into how to post those on the blog (I am hoping that is a possibility) as I would like them to be able to share their hard work and creative talents.

In addition to improving my blog (which is my main focus at this point) I would also like to improve my website. I would like to add student birthdays to a class calendar as well as upcoming events, I would like to post my classroom rules/procedures, I would like to include student achievements, etc. etc. etc. When I send home my next parent letter I plan to explain in detail the new learning addition in my classroom and offer them the opportunity to get involved. I wonder how many of the parents will take advantage of seeing what we are blogging about and am curious if any will be daring enough to post comments. I sure hope they do.

So far it has been a fun educational experience for both my students and I and I hope the fun continues. I know I still have a lot to learn and wish I were a bit more creative when it comes to different assignments to stretch my students minds but right now I am happy with where I am at in my blogging endeavors!

teklove33 said...

I have had a lot of fun with my EduBlog so far. I posted it last weekend and have had three of my four fifth-grade classes post.

By the time the third class posted, I had learned a lot-- we began by brainstorming a DO THIS/ DON'T DO THIS list on the projector. We discussed but did not WRITE guidelines for the first two classes. The writtne list was helpful, but of course some students still did not follow all the guidelines. Moderating the posts is a great way to deal with these issues. I've found it helpful with teachers who are trying to post as well.

The students really enjoyed the Cat in the Hat post. I work at two schools and both are celebrating The Cat in the Hat's birthday so it was a timely theme. And of course teachers enjoy replying to this question (What is your avorite Dr. Seuss book?) too!

I think the students will really enjoy viewing their post and they'll LOVE seeing posts from their teachers and principals.

Now for the technical aspects: My blog worked perfectly last week, but Monday AM the firewall blocked it out. I was finally able to get it all back online by 2PM this afternoon, after several emails and a call to the network administrator. Apparently the firewall work-arounds are different for Safari and Explorer.

Unfortunately, all the links were not working for the classes who posted last week. Today's class could SEE their comments but weren't able to add any new ones. I was so excited that they wanted to, though!

I'm excited to continue this page. I have one teacher who would like to have her class respond to a book the class is currently reading together, and I'm confident I can inspire more teachers to give it a try. What a fun, exciting way for elementary students to write!


ClareO said...

I finally think I am ready to get my students blogging. I have really thought about the logistics of incorporating this into my routine and have spoken to the media specialist in my building for some help and support. Thank goodness for helpful media specialists! So here is my plan and hopefully will be underway on Monday morning.
1. I will introduce my students to my blog as a whole class. We will talk about how we will use it to share ideas and comments about poetry. I will show them how to log on and get them ready to go. I will demonstrate how to comment and we will do some of the first comments together (me typing on the big screen and them watching-remember they are only 8 and 9 years old!)

2. I will put up my first post directed to them. This time just a question about their favorite poem or poet. I will share one of mine with them and ask them thier opinions on it. As I said just a slow start.

3. Students will be allowed to use the computers in my room as well as go down to the media center where they can log on and respond to my questions. I will also send home the instructions on how to use this so they can log on at home if they wish. I would love for parents to get involved as well.

4. As we move along in our poetry unit I will post weekly questions and ask them to visit some poetry sites. I would like them to share some of their own poetry on the blog for us all to read and comment on. We will only be giving positive comments and feed back, I don't want this to turn into a way to make unkind comments with no consequences.

5. Once I have learned more about podcasts I would like my students to record their poetry and post the recordings on the blog for all to hear. This will be integrated in my classroom as a fluency literacy center. I already use literacy centers weekly, so this will fit in nicely with what I always do anyway.

6. I will bring this poetry portion of my blog to an end at the end of April with another run at the big screen monitor in class. We will spend some time reading and listening to the poems that have been posted during the month and reviewing our blogging experience. I will listen to their comments to help me decide if we move on with this for another month (different focus of course) or if blogging just didn't work for our class.

Wish me luck-ready or not here I go!!

Ocean Tides said...

My lesson plan has received administrative approval and tech support so I have already started. It will focus on faculty and peer project reviewing and communication between our two campuses. Ocean Tides has two locations: one in Providence and one in Narragansett. The students in Narragansett are all in residence. The student population in Providence is mixed, meaning some are in residence, some have completed the program and remain enrolled in school and some students are outside referrals. Our school is a mixture of students from many different school districts and while Ocean Tides is one school-two campuses it does not allow much opportunity for student communication or peer project evaluation.

The goal of the lesson and the blog will be to provide faculty and students an introduction to the uses and benefits of blogs. The second goal is for the blog to provide an area for students to evaluate and comment upon their peers’ projects. To accomplish this goal I will upload some Black History Month PowerPoint’s (Language Arts Project February), the winning projects from both campuses Science Fairs (Science project judged at end of March) and a forum to voice opinions on the work of students. Students who enjoy the blogging experience may also wish to post their poems in April or some reading week projects. I also would like to incorporate some of the book review/discussion ideas some of the other teachers have mentioned here in the above posts. Each student has a PLP goal here of at least one book read and reported on per quarter. Hopefully the students will learn to comment appropriately and thoughtfully on the work of their peers. Also it will give teachers who teach the same subject at different campuses a chance to see what is happening in both classrooms.

Strict email access restrictions limit our students who are in the program from commenting without supervision. I have therefore adjusted the blog settings so that while anyone can view and post on the blog, all comments are reviewed by the administrator before they are allowed to be posted. I am still trying to tweak the blog a bit. I’d like to add a calendar and post assignment due dates and I’d like to get rid off the next blog tag on the nav bar. I’ll figure out how to do this soon I hope.

ClareO said...

I jumped in with my students today and I am very excited about how it all went. I demonstrated everything on a large screen monitor and went through the whole process with them. We even posted a comment or two together so they could see how it all works. I have sent home a notice with my blog address on it and I will be excited to see how many of them try it tonight. They seem to be very anxious to try it out. I have put a ton of poetry books around the room and have encouraged them to bring in some to share. I really think we are off to a good start. All of their posts come to my email first for approval, so I know nothing inappropriate will be put on the blog. It was (I think) a good lesson and a jump off the techie cliff with a bunch of little lemmings following close behind. Look out below!

D. Cunha said...

Diane Cunha
The Odyssey of the Edublog.
I feel like Odysseus, traveling from place to place and never getting home.
Well I’ve certainly looked and read about a lot of edublogs, so let’s see if I can recall where I’ve been. I went to Blogmeister.com because I was interested in doing something with writing and when I emailed about registration he told me to also look at epal and gaggle.net because they offer a similar service. Gaggle.net offers secure email address to schools along with blogs and so I will look further into it. I just received my user name and password today, and now I need to read up on how to use it. I really know nothing.
Our IT teacher was looking at using mambo to “organize” teacher/class web sites from the school web site. I really don’t know if I’m making sense, but if anyone wants to straighten me out…feel free.
The following was copied from gaggle.net:
“Gaggle Blogs are a way that students and educators can interface with the rest of the world. Gaggle Blogs are filtered for inappropriate words and phrases. All images are scanned for pornographic content and all URL links are checked for pornographic content. If any rules are violated, the offending blog entry for will be blocked and sent to the authors administrator email address pending approval.”
Five of my 17 students do not have email addresses, so I’m hoping to set up “safe” accounts for the class and talk to parents on conference day, 3/24.
After saying all of that, I thought I really needed to “do some edublogging” quickly, so I’m using the poetry from the library & teachers’ book club ideas from our classmates (thanks) and will just show my class what I’m trying to do and enlist their help. Instead of poetry, they’ll try commenting under different genre posts recommending books they’ve enjoyed. I used blogger. On the sidebar I’ve added news links, poetry links (thanks again) and one literature link, “Voices in the Dark” which has audio books etc. Does that count as podcasting? I appreciate people saying how much they’ve learned by just starting and learning as you go.
I think it was Amy who wrote saying she is having so many ideas about improving her blog and web site and the same is true for me. I want, I want I want to do so much that I feel at times frustrated and overwhelmed. It all takes me so long to look and read so much that is new. There’s so much of it and it really boggles my mind. And yet it is all very exciting. One of the reasons I wanted to get “secure/protected” email addresses for the students is that I do want them to access the world.
Does anyone have first hand knowledge of “Skype”? Mambo? I had read some about Moodle and I will look more at Mark’s site. I can see I’ll have a busy summer. dianecunh@excite.com and sixthgradeatcommunityprep.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Session 4 Comments

I have already established my blog (Lalli’s Logs). In spite of David’s and the training blog’s guidance on how to do so easily, my efforts were comical at best. However, I am now up (and running?). I have though contacted several other administrators who are using blogs in their schools. To a person, they have said that the blogs have proven useful in expanding and improving communication within their school communities. For the most part, they are using their blogs as I envision using mine. It will serve as a vehicle to improve and expand the flow of information concerning discipline and safety at NKHS.

I am going to avail myself of an offer by our district IT folks to help me establish my blog. Once completed (at least the early version of it), it will be prominently displayed on our district web site on the high school page. I plan to “advertise” my blog on our principal’s ListServe. He has expanded his ListServe over the past two or three years to include almost 1200 addresses. These are, for the most part, parents and guardians; the very audience I hope to reach.

I hope to do a lot of work on my blog over the spring vacation week. My long-term intent is to have the blog established, on the district/high school sites, advertised, and chock full of meaningful information for the beginning of SY 2007-08.

John Lalli

Dave Fontaine said...

This ends the comments and deliverables from some of the 921 Spring '07 participants.

Pam B said...

This week I spent some time considering how I would use my blog in my educational setting. I’m not currently in the classroom, so my focus is not centered around a “traditional’ lesson plan. My blog will be used to communicate with teachers, administrators and staff. So, with that goal in mind, I think my blog is in place to meet that general goal. This week, however, I contemplated going a little deeper and a little further with my blog. The first thing I did was simple. I added labels or tags to my postings and then added those to my blog. I envision those being like key words for teachers. The next thing I was interested in was the idea of adding training materials to my blog. Links to documents will be one way I’ll do this, but I’m also interested in adding training videos to my blog. As I visited the Blogger site recently, I saw that Blogger would soon be adding the capability of easily uploading videos to posts. This is exactly what I want to do! Through the provided web links and blog explorations that I’ve done, I’m interested in screencasts, or vodcasts, but have never done this. According to our text, screencasts are only available in the Windows environment, and I’m a Mac user. I do have SnapzProX (screen capture tool) installed on my computer, so I do have that option as well. So much technology, so little time!!

My next issue focuses on my end users. I talked about this in my comments I posted for session three, but I am still concerned about teachers, administrators and staff using my blog. I still think this concept is fairly new to most teachers in my area. It’s only been in the past six months that I’ve thought seriously about the implications of this technology. So, will my blog have the desired effect or the positive impact I think it could? Sometimes (Almost always) it’s easier to use new technologies with students. They are the digital natives and they feel very comfortable in this environment. This is not as true with teachers.

So, I’ll end this comment being cautiously optimistic. I’m excited. I can only hope I can transfer some of that excitement to my intended audience.

Jennifer Geller said...

I enjoyed tweaking my panel discussion assignment (see the class wiki) to fit a blogging assignment. It was nice not to have to think up a whole new lesson and it was interesting to see how easily "old school" could become "new school." Originally I had been thinking of using blogging for the reflection assignment I have students do after they hear the panel discussions, but then I realized the connective skills used in blogging would be the perfect scaffold for getting students to connect more in their panels, since that is the main goal of the panels.

I know it probably seems like I've tried to cram too much into one lesson, even though our blocks are 90 minutes. What I've found with trying new things with my students is that I'm more effective at just getting things started and then learning from what happens, then if I do a long, elaborate set-up. Since the school year is over and I'm on maternity leave anyway, I was not able to see this lesson play out, but I can imagine that it would have been a little bit messy with a lot of "hey miss I need your help." But I also know that about a third of my kids would have been able to post something that I could then use as a sample in later periods. Usually as soon as students have a sense of the end product that is actually produced by their peers, they feel much more confident!

Robin Shtulman said...

For Assignment #2, I am working on a summer reading blog. It's not exactly a lesson plan -- But it is a plan for collaborating with my local public library, which is an important part of what I do as school librarian.

Teachers and librarians always look for ways to entice kids to read over the summer. Studies have shown that children who don't read over the summer stand to lose up to 1 - 3 months of their previous year's academic growth.

Our public libraries do a fabulous job of creating exciting programming to draw kids into the library and to borrow materials. Blogging can be a great way to jump start their thinking about reading, and to entice them to read more.

We'd like to use Blogger as a place for our kids to react, express themselves, think critically, and communicate with one another about their summer reading.

We (the town librarians & I) will be meeting this week or early next week to set up the public library blog and create guidelines for community use. I think we'll be posting weekly questions for kids to respond to, and maybe offer prizes tot hose who blog. I think it will especially exciting to have kids of varying ages (including adult patrons!) writing on the same blog.

pwestkott said...

Introduction: Building upon their own experiences of researching a space topic and then developing a Power Point presentation, my plan is to introduce commentary on our edublog with my students.

W-3-8 In informational writing….include details/information relevant to focus & for appropriate depth
W-3-9 Use of conventions
R-3-15 Reading for research across content areas
S-3- Earth and Space Science
• Students are directed to examine a former student’s Power Point project.
• Students will follow designated prompts to guide their reflections.
• Students will begin to post comments onto our class blog in reaction to what they notice in the exemplary Power Point.
• Students will practice reflection prior to evaluating their own Power Point projects using attached rubric.

As a culminating performance assessment to our study of Space, students are to demonstrate the enduring understandings of what has been learned and apply it in a different way. They each are expected to create a Power Point presentation in the form of an experiment. Some actually work through the process and verify their hypotheses, while some acknowledge in their conclusions that there is no way they could possibly verify their outcomes. It is fascinating (and risky) to watch how each student works through the process.
Student work (and working) is based on understanding of content and the use of technology. For evaluation, I have developed a detailed rubric to communicate to both students and parents.

Engagement with the Edublog:
In order to help students begin reflecting on their own projects, my belief is that examining an exemplary Power Point through the use of several prompts might provoke their own thinking.
While reflection has been part of our thinking and learning experiences this year, we have not used a blog to share our comments and questions. Most often we do this through oral responses. Why not introduce how to post comments in this way? I believe that students will be engaged in working this way.

How to begin? “Let’s rethink the ways we give feedback to our colleagues (such as writing partners, members of a text-based discussion group, or any time someone shares) How might that be like or different if we were to give public feedback on the Internet?”

I will share a piece of writing and through a “think aloud” write my reactions to it as if I planned to post it.
A whole class analysis of how I responded will take place. I will record some agreed upon tenets for posting: conventions, courtesy, and critical friend’s responsibility.
Next, I will demonstrate the mechanics of posting comments on our edublog, followed by any clarifying questions.
Finally, the focus will return to the prompts.

Prompts to consider this student’s Power Point are:
• Describe what you think this student has done well.
• What do you think this student could have done differently?
• Share what you are still wondering about.

Extension and adaptation:
I personally believe that the nature of writing as a thinking process is highly differentiated. My approach to teaching writing is based on teaching the writer, not the writing. It demands conferring with a writer first or possibly reteaching something to an ad hoc group or to the whole class as needed.
Some students may need additional language support. I will sit with those students who may need to verbalize first their thinking before they write. For those students whose IEP’s recommend it, I can scribe their ideas, typing for them.
I predict that motivated students can learn to fly with this forum for commentary. Their voices can be present in their writing and I’m certain this will be an opportunity for them to connect to the shared experiences they have with the student who created the Power Point they are examining.
For all students, my hope is that they view posting comments on a blog as another form of published writing, distinguishing it from the IMing they do with ease during snack time.

We have an established writing rubric that has been used throughout the year. It reflects the six plus traits that are found in all meaningful writing. The format required for the different genres/purposes changes, not the expectations for the writing. Students know that is how their writing is judged.
Posting comments on a blog is both a style of writing and a process for thinking and working. I believe that criteria for this work are to be developed together with students. It will continue to evolve for the purpose of marrying the descriptors of “good” writing with those for this type of social online discourse. Or, to be honest it will evolve as my own experience with blogging grows.

Next steps:
The need to bridge this thinking and writing with how to better reflect upon and self-evaluate their own Power Point presentations should follow this work. I find that we need to carefully scaffold ways to have students connect their learning because it usually doesn’t happen automatically. So I plan to facilitate just that, prompting students through discussion about ways to use this reflection and apply it to the use of the Space PPT rubric with their own projects.

To react to our first attempts, I noticed how students were earnest in trying this new experience of writing comments. They tried to be mindful of what was expected while feeling confident that their opinions mattered. One dilemma we (both students and I) was that moving on to write comments meant they could no longer see the three prompts. I need to rethink this. I chose those three since that is how we consider other work, but still we found that a visual reminder was essential while writing.
I’ve published the comments from three students of varied ability. The first one posted is not from “pweswtkott” but from a student who forgot to select “anonymous”. I also grew frustrated that I had “login” to my Google account for every different computer used by students. This was very time consuming. I’m not sure if there is a way to get around this. Also, comments were posted to the blog in spite of how I thought I’d set it up to be reviewed by me before they were posted. I’m doing something wrong. Please advise. Thank you.



Michael Skeldon said...

A little bit of background information to set this up.

I work at a charter school. This is a blessing (usually) and a curse (particularly when it comes to delegating work). My role is as follows:
-History teacher
-Capstone advisor
-Film teacher
-Academic Dean (responsible for overall implementation of curriculum and Performance-Based Graduation Requirements)
-SIT Chair
-Student Council advisor.

Throw in parent of a two year-old and you begin to understand my world.

Not a militant environmentalist, I still look for any way I can cut down on the amount of paper being used in the universe, particularly papers that I must therefore LUG home.

For the purposes of this course, I have chosen to look for a way to coordinate the Capstone project for our graduating seniors.

Per the new state requirements, all graduating Beacon seniors will create, present and defend an autobiographical film to a committee consisting of faculty, administrators and members of the community.

Many elements of this project are typed (i.e., script drafts, project proposal, etc. In addition, each stage of this process includes journal reflections. Throw in storyboards and a typical project will have 60-80 pages of written material. Photocopy this seven times over, and even double-siding can't save the forests!

Turning the process into a blog, then making the blog available to all judges, might just work out.

Lesson Plan: Journalling using an edublog

Students enrolled in the Capstone class will submit all components of their Capstone project through an edublog. Elements such as scripts, storyboards and film footage may be submitted by linking to other sites.

The first lesson will be posting a journal entry through an edublog, in this case, beaconcapstone.blogspot.com.

Students will examine written journal entries in printed dossier form from last year's graduating class. In groups, they will examine a minimum of three journal entries. Using the rubric for Capstone Journal entries, they wil evaluate which, if any, of the entries meets the standard.

They will then create their first Journal entry, "I am..."

In small groups, students will brainstorm based on the following prompts:
1. A Beacon student is...
2. A (Culinary, Theater or Visual Arts) artist is...
3. I am...

After brainstorming these as a group, each student must complete a journal entry entitled "I AM." They must include elements from 1-3.

Differentiated instruction occurs as I visit each group and determine that each student grasps the concepts and is able to personalize their entry. The second part of the lesson will be to place their journal entry into the edublog which will involve assessing each student's familiarity with blogging and providing personal or peer support to those who need the assistance.

This and all journal entries will be evaluated based on (as all Beacon assignments are) 100 points. The rubric evaluates the following:
-Conventions (spelling, grammar, etc.)
-Length (1 page or more - might need to rethink this to word count when we go online)
-Format (date, title and number, time writing began and ended)
-Completeness (time, resources, standards addressed, etc.)
-Relevance (all elements of topic fully addressed)

NOTE: Is there a way for me to post the rubric itself (a Word document/table)?

Feedback greatly appreciated.

msaunders said...

Using the capstone project as a blog to save paper is a great idea. Judges could make comments and suggestiions as the project develops. Do you think a blog or a wiki is the best way to approach this? I haven't explored wiki functionality enough myself to say.
You asked how to post the rubric on the blog. There may be a number of ways. What I did on my summer reading blog was to make the summer reading list a document on Google "documents" (one of Google's "more" features on the Google search page). The documents page gives you the ability to "publish" the document or spreadsheet, meaning that it now has a URL. Copy and paste that URL in the links for your blog.
Mary Saunders

Michael Skeldon said...


Thanks so much for your feedbacks. Based on my readings, I think wikis are a bit too flexible for my needs. I will try to incorporate judges earlier in the process, so that it's not (quite as) insane come June!

Dave Fontaine said...


Reading blog said...

Connection to GSEs

W–10–11.1 Writing with frequency, including in-school, out-of-school, and during the summer

W–10–11.2 Sharing thoughts, observations, or impressions

W–10–2.1 Selecting and summarizing key ideas to set context, appropriate to audience

W–10–2.3 Connecting what has been read (plot/ideas/concepts) to prior knowledge, other texts, or the broader world of ideas, by referring to and explaining relevant ideas or themes

R–10–4.2 Paraphrasing or summarizing key ideas/plot, with major events sequenced, as appropriate to text

R–10–4.3 Generating questions before, during, and after reading to enhance/expand understanding and/or gain new information(Local)

R–10–4.1 Identifying, describing, or making logical predictions about character (such as protagonist or antagonist), setting, problem/solution, or plots/subplots, as appropriate to text; or identifying any significant changes in character, relationships, or setting over time; or identifying rising action, climax, or falling action

Students will be able to respond in writing to text.
Students will be able to respond to one another’s writing.
Students will be able to make connections, make predictions, ask questions, infer and synthesize information in the text.

I will incorporate this blog by using a class period to show the students on a Smartboard how to comment and use the blog This will ensure that everyone is able to see the process. After I’ve introduced the blog and the process, I will have the students sign in on their own in the computer lab. This allows me to make sure everyone understands how to post a comment. After everyone understands the process, I will explain that we will be using our class blog to respond to our independent reading book. Usually the students do this on a worksheet, once a week. The students are asked to tell which book they are reading, the author, their comments, likes, dislikes and their use of the seven proficient reading habits. We have been stressing in class the seven proficient reading habits. This lesson allows students to be creative in the way they respond to the text. The directions state that they should include at least one proficient reading habit. It is up to the students which one or how they choose to do that.

The main reason I am asking the students to submit response sheets for their independent reading book is to ensure that they are actually reading daily. The class that I am conducting this assignment in is a double period English/Reading class. The students are typically three grade levels behind in reading. I dedicate 20-25 minutes a day for independent reading in class

By the students posting their response to the independent reading book on the blog, it allows other students to know if that book is one they would like to read. It also allows other students to see how their peers are using the seven proficient reading habits. By the students reading other comments it may help them to use the proficient reading habits the next time they are reading and responding.

Possibilities for extension:

The students are asked to complete one reading response sheet a week. Students may receive additional credit for responding to other students comments. They may also receive additional credit for adding additional responses to their text on the class blog. The students may also receive additional credit for passing in a visual for their text.
An additional extension could be to have the students respond with another classroom about their independent reading books.


The students are provided with a rubric for the response for their independent reading book. The students are provided with written feedback and their score for the response. I want the students to be excited about reading. Using the blog may help with that. Students are used to passing in their response sheets to me. In the past, I would be the only one reading it. This allows for them to share their comments/reactions about their book. It also allows them to have a voice in recommending or not recommending a book to their classmates.

Reading blog said...

I wonders:

I introduced my blog to my college class on Thursday night. I haven't received any posts yet but have received three emails about doing it. I have to admit I'm trying this week as extra credit. I am curious how many posts I will have. They seemed excited about it.

I'm glad that previous classes blogs and comments are able to be viewed. I think it is very helpful to see what a previous class did for the same assignment.

I also thought that the video for this lesson was great. It allowed me to think about things in a different way. I also thought it amazing how a presentation for a small group of people is now viewed by thousands.
I started to talk to other teachers about using a blog. The responses haven't been too great.

Maria said...

What an interesting and thought-provoking video. I plan on sharing it with my colleagues. Some of the numbers are astounding and really prove that we as a technological society are evolving at such a fast pace. It's important more than ever to teach our students the skills they need to be Information Literate in the 21st century.

On a different note, my district just implemented a new social studies curriculum in the elementary schools. One of the units for lower elementary is comparing our world now with what it was like in the past. Some of the information in the "Did You Know" TeacherTube video would be great to share with the students as the topics of school and communication are discussed. Funny though, when I read the scope & sequence for each grade level, there was no mention of using online resources as additional readings/resources to share with students.

Maria said...

I've had an opportunity to view all of our class blogs and am impressed by everyone's ideas for using them in their "classrooms". I wonder how quickly your blogs will catch on with your students and teachers in your schools? Will usage depend on your students' access to the Internet at home as well as usage of technology in your school curriculum?

If my blog was able to be accessed in my school, I wonder what the usage level would be of my students since many do not have Internet access in their homes nor have had adequate technology instruction in school due to a variety of reasons? I know I would be providing the instruction to my students but would one year of my teaching be enough to bridge the gap in their learning experiences? I hope to be able to answer that question later on in the school year if I can win the access battle in my school. Here are some instances of "digital immigrants" and the digital divide talking again.

I also want to say that I am enjoying this online learning experience and look forward to reading more about all of these projects in the weeks to come.

Librarians said...

Lisa Casey. I loved the video and if I can get permission I would like to show it at our staff meeting. It is deliberately provoking and maybe it would get my not-very-interested in technology administrators a little more aware of the importance of technology to today's students, even though I feel it exaggerates a little bit.

Am I the only one, or is anyone else finding some of the blogs absolutely boring? There is a bit of vanity press about them, and they remind me of the days when people would log on to watch other people feeding their cats, brushing their hair, etc.

Don't get me wrong. Blogging can certainly transmit vital information and the Farkas blogs have some really good ideas, but even she, with her "I'm so happy Josh is here" comments, tends to alienate someone like me. Sometimes the "personal-ness" of blogs bothers me a bit.

My personal preference is to use a blog to connect a community. And I want to use it to connect my community, but here are some possible problems that I wonder about:

1. Kids think technology is fun, not educational, don't really take their comments very seriously, and in middle school, think being a class clown or a rebel is amusing and a wonderful way of getting attention. I wonder if they will invest themselves or try to show off?

2. I wonder if parents will approve the presence of their children on a blog. I think maybe I would have to do an invitation only one in my community, although it is so tempting to open it up to everyone. It might not be the best thing, for starters.

Melissa Horton said...

A New Focus for this Blog!
I have been thinking about how to effectively use this blog in conjunction with my 8th Grade Civics class, and I think I have come up with two ideas.

This blog could be a meeting place for my students to discuss current events. I could post an event each week and students could post reactions or ask additional questions. The blog could be the starting point for debate, and could also be a place for students to practice persuasive writing. That could be interesting...

Another thought I had was to make this site a place where I could hold "virtual office hours." Parents and students could post questions about assignments, and I could answer them. I have not looked into this yet, but if I could add a chat feature, this could actually be done in real time. I could post that I will be available from 7 to 9 pm on Thursdays, for example. Parents could log on and I could take questions live. I figure I am online anyway, why not make myself even more available to students and parents?

As for my "I wonder" question...

I have spent some time this week, and it looks like the idea of live chat added the the Blog is not currently possible. I wonder when that feature will be available, and if it is really something which should be added to a blog?

What I mean by this is , should a blog be more of a static presence on the web? I don't know if, by definition, a blog is meant to be read, and then later commented on, rather than the instant reaction that a chat room offers.

Dave Fontaine said...


Anne Howard said...

Just a real quick note:

My online copy of SLJ Extra Helping arrived just a little while ago and one of the articles is about online literary awards for children's books. The two women who started it began blogging about children's lit.

You can read the article at: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6533349.html?nid=2413

I guess you never know where blogging can take you!

Donna said...

Hi everyone,
First of all, I am off from school today -- that is why I am getting such an early start on this. I just viewed "Did you know" version 2.0. I was introduced to version 1.0 at a Teachers conference last year in NYC. I like the upgrade to the graphics but I still like the music on version 1, even if it did violate copyright (a librarian didn't say that.) It fascinates me everytime I watch it.

I've been using bloglines for about a week now and I was wondering, when I added my blog to my feeds, it doesn't have the blogger icon next to it, like the 2 for this class. It just has a page icon. It works correctly though. Did anyone else notice this?

MrsO'Halloran said...

Joan O'Halloran

During a break from collecting my lesson plan ideas I read several blogs - I can't remember whose. Someone wondered about whether or not blogging would discourage formal writing. This is something that I also wondered about. Dennis Mahoney writes in "How to Write a Better Weblog" (and this is a really brief summary) that 'rules are not restrictions.' The point of writing is to get your point across - to make sense and be clear. Poor grammar, run-on sentences, etc. do not help get your point across. Blogging in an educational setting gives students an opportunity to read 'good' writing and practice writing skills.

Writing on paper has different standards based on the assignment -journaling is different from an essay - blogging should too. When I develop the rubric for my lesson I will add my usual criteria for formal writing.

D. Esposito said...

I started working on Deliverable #2 this evening, but I wound up spending most of my time adding some tools and features to my blog. How time flies? Anyway, there's always tomorrow night.


A Pisani said...

In an effort to include more writing in my math classroom, while also trying to prepare my Algebra 2 students for an upcoming written assignment they will be completing as part of their graduation electronic portfolio, I will try to use this blog as incentive to get my students to write for me!

The unit we are currently working on is on Quadratic Functions. This lesson will correspond to the section in this chapter that covers “Factoring Quadratic Expressions.”

•Introduction: In this lesson, students will revisit factoring quadratic expressions (they should have covered this in Algebra 1). We have also been talking about quadratic expressions already, so they should be able to identify a quadratic expression from, say, a linear expression. After reviewing with my class the definition of the word “factor,” I typically start this lesson by having students list factor pairs for some integer (e.g. 24). It is important that they recognize what a factor is, and it is often easier for them to make this connection with an integer value. We move from working with integers into quadratic expressions (e.g. 2x^2-8 ) and talk about what factors of this “number” might look like. There are a few different ways to factor a quadratic expression, depending on the given expression, so I will walk them through each of these “types” with examples.

•Goals for this lesson: Students will be able to…
oDefine factor, monomial, binomial, trinomial.
oFactor a quadratic expression using a greatest common factor.
oFind factors for a quadratic trinomial with a +1 coefficient on the quadratic term.
oFind factors for a quadratic trinomial with a coefficient other than +1 on the quadratic term.
oIdentify and factor a perfect square trinomial.
oIdentify and factor a difference of two squares.

•Pre- Activities :There really is a great deal that leads up to this particular lesson! Students have been introduced to and have learned how to: identify a quadratic expression, identify a quadratic function, and how to graph a quadratic function. They have also reviewed multiplying monomials, binomials, etc. We have even covered, at this point, how to model data with a quadratic function. The next step for us is to solve quadratic equations, but we need this lesson to get us ready for that! Factoring can be used as a method to solve some quadratic equations. It doesn’t work for all of them (we’ve got other methods that help us with those guys), but it is a good place to start. This is an especially good place to start since all Algebra 2 students have factored quadratic expressions in Algebra 1. Whether or not they remember that is a different story….

•Writing Assignments: I will post the following prompts on the class blog for the students to respond to:
oExplain how to factor 3x^2+6x-72 completely.
oFind the errors in the factoring example below. Explain why these are mistakes, and explain how to factor the expression correctly:
•Write a quadratic trinomial that can be factored, where a does not equal 1, ac is greater than 0 and b is less than 0. Factor the expression.

•Extension and Adaptation: For differentiated instruction, I might consider structuring the questions in a slightly different way. For example, some students may have difficulty verbalizing what they need to do to factor something, so I could include a component where they could show and explain. The last question is open-ended, so I might need to fine-tune that for some struggling students and give them some specific values to work with (e.g. ac = 5 and b = -4). Since much of factoring is abstract at this level, it might also help some students to be able to “see” what the factored expressions look like in a more concrete form before they represent it symbolically. For these students, I could show them what factoring “looks” like using a manipulative such as algebra tiles. This might make the transition to the symbolic a bit smoother, and therefore help them when they need to explain exactly what it is they are doing for a given problem. I could also include an activity in class where I pair students up and have them explain to each other how to approach factoring a given quadratic expression. Perhaps explaining the problem to a peer first (or hearing a peer explain it to them) will help them articulate themselves on the blog.
•Assessment: I would probably be fairly generous in grading this type of assignment in the beginning since I want to use it as a forum to help them become more comfortable writing about math. That’s not to say that I will accept any answer, but I will be happy to see an attempt by everyone. I will of course be checking to see that their answers are correct, but even more important to me will be to see how they justified the answer they were giving. Since this will be the first time they will be blogging for me, I might use it more as a way to generate a class discussion on how answers can be improved, etc. than using it as a specific grade. This is something I’ll definitely need to fine tune since I honestly don’t use writing very much in my classroom! I liked very much the “rubric for student comments” that was posted in Session 4, so I will probably modify that to fit my assignment.

Anne Howard said...

Andrea Pisani wrote that she is going to be using her blog with her Algebra 2 class. I wish I understood what she's going to be doing. Before anyone gets angry with that statement, I truly mean I don't understand algebra. Without going into a lot of detail, I was in an Algebra 1 class that was so over my head I literally was drowning all year. I think my final grade for the year was a very low C.

Looking at Andrea's goals I can't help but think something like this would have been a lifesaver for me. I would have been able to show my understanding and how I arrived at my conclusions. Then maybe I would have been able to get help and support rather than being told I just wasn't trying hard enough.

Andrea, I really think having your students support each other this way is less threatening than having them do this in a face-to-face setting. I hope that take full advantage of this. They are very lucky.

Kim said...

Kim Crotty
High School Librarian
Grades 9-12
Fairview School District

Deliverable #2

Y2K Books: Choosing Books in the Internet Age

Independent reading is a transitional activity between school (in which books are assigned) and real life (in which you choose your own books) What good is having a “choice” in books to read if you have no idea what the available options are? When you don’t know what options exist, a choice is no choice at all.

This lesson aims to empower students with techniques that can be used for choosing appropriate books based upon individual interests. Student choice is an essential component of independent reading programs. The process of book selection is a complex one. Lack of information dilutes the meaning of “choice.”

The methods that students use to choose books include factors such as peer recommendations, movie and TV tie-ins, and even book jacket design. This project allows students to tap his/her own personal experience and interests toward the selection of a book. Yet, it builds on idiosyncratic interests to generate a list of potentially engaging texts.

My goal in collaborating with the teacher is to provide them with information, strategies and resources that can be used to help students’ better select books for independent reading.

1. Students will learn how to utilize sites on the Internet to generate a list of suggested readings tailored to individual experience and taste
2. Students will learn to utilize their own genre-specific preferences to identify, contact, and seek advice form on-line book clubs gathering information about potential book choices
3. Students will learn to use the Internet to preview and evaluate selections from books they are considering reading.
4. Students will learn how to gather and evaluate literary criticism toward the selection of a book.

PA Standards:
1.1 Learning to Read Independently
1.3 Reading and Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
1.8 Research
3.6 Technology Education
3.7 Technology Devices
3.8 Science, Technology and Human Endeavors

1. Introduce what is independent reading vs. required school reading
2. Complete book choice document.
3. Share websites of book lists, book reviews, reading blogs (Google News Alert on Young Adult Literature, FHS Library Blog, Google Books, FHS del.icio.us)
4. Complete website questionnaire document
5. Provide opportunities for students to preview books
6. Complete book preview document
7. Create a Library in Google Books
8. Complete book selection document
9. Complete informal student interviews

The students are evaluated based upon their completion of project word documents. Their comprehension is assessed through the use of informal interviews. These interviews are used to see the understanding students have of connections between the recommended book choices and their own interests.

A comparison is also done between student responses to the question “List in priority (most likely to use to least likely to use) strategies for choosing a book.” both before and after engaging in this project. “

Success of this lesson is based upon:
1. Observation of students using the new technology tools and strategies introduced to them on a consistent basis when choosing a book for independent reading
2. Increased circulation in the library.

Kim said...

I have heard math teachers in my school use journaling often in their classrooms. They believe it helps students when they have to explain their thought process when they are solving any type of math problem. I can imagine that blogging would be a great "homework helper" or tutor for students having difficulty. Different examples of problems and student explanations would definitely help those not understanding concepts. Peer tutors are often very effective.

D. Esposito said...

I love snow days but....

I'm all blogged out. I spent most of my day today looking at blogs. My one accomplishment for the day was completing and posting deliverable #2.

I was wondering if anyone has used any of the hit counter services that are listed in the help section of blogger?

I am now going to walk away from the computer and clear my mind and get some exercise by shoveling snow.

A Pisani said...

Thanks, Anne, for your encouraging words! Even though you might not feel super comfortable with the concepts behind the lesson, you were still able to see how having students share thoughts and ideas in a blog can be beneficial. Your reaction actually gives me insight into how many of my students will probably look at this sort of activity. You verified something that I already believe about blogging: these students will feel more comfortable supporting each other in this type of forum as it is less threatening than a face-to-face setting. I am really looking forward to trying it out. I was also pleased to hear from Kim that many math teachers n her school are using blogs. I didn't originally see how I would fit a blog into a math lesson, but the more I explore, the more I can see how I can use it regularly. Thanks for the feedback! :)

tennettadams said...

Susan Tennett Adams
Spring 2008
Cranston, RI
Grade 5

Subject: Social Studies
Chapter: Early North American Settlements of North America
Lesson 4:The Plymouth Colony

Lesson Overview:
With the help of the Wampanoag (natives), the Pilgrims survived their first winter in Plymouth (what is now part of Mass.), which they developed into a successful colony.

Context of Lesson:
Students will receive instruction as to how to use the text features to ensure they can access all the relevant information from the text.
Students will be introduced to the technique of text mapping after modeling and guided practice. They will use colored highlighters: orange for the title, yellow for the headings, green for the subheadings, blue or the vocabulary, red for both the people and places, and pink for answers to questions. Students will have the color code attached to their S.S. folders.
It is my hope that text mapping will help my students improve their ability to pull relevant information from and enhance recall when they read their social studies books (or any informational text.)
With increased practice, students should become better at using text features to their advantage, and should be able to map without having to highlight each feature.

G.S.E.: R-5-7
-Reflect understanding of text mapping by mapping features accurately
-Reflect understanding of text mapping through contribution to group discussion
-Reflect understanding assignment through responses posted to class blog

One will take for granted that students have been well-prepared for text mapping activity.
We have finished work on the James town Colony and have done some preliminary work on The Plymouth Colony. My students are excited and ready to begin.
Every student is given a copy of Lesson 4. They will put the pages together using tape. After that, I put them in groups of three. Each member has his/her own highlighters. For the first
ten minutes of the period, students must highlight all the text features. When done, I go to
each group and check. When all group are done with the mapping, they have to read the lesson. They get 15 minutes for this (there are only six pages in this lesson). After this, I pass out questions that need to be answered. For this lesson, I will give only literal because this
will be the first time using this technique. (I know, many of you are probably thinking, “Why
isn’t she giving them the questions before reading so the children know what they’re looking
for?”) Because I know my students and some of them won’t bother reading; they’ll just go
right to the feature containing the answer to the question and disregard the rest. Which is actually the goal of text mapping, but not until my students have mastered the content,
and that's not today!

Who were the Protestants?
Why did some Protestants set up their own Protestant churches?
What happened to the Pilgrims during the first winter that they spent in their new colony?
What did Squanto teach the Pilgrims?
Who were the Puritans?

Using the highlighted features as their guide, students will find the answers to the above
questions. Once found, they will highlight them with the pink highlighter. Now comes the fun part (hopefully), students will post their findings to the class blog instead of using pen and paper.

Informal: Checking each student’s text for accuracy of feature mapping (corrected in group)
Formal: Mapping of answers=100%
Blog: Toward Grade=0%(too new)

Mrs. Z. said...

Stephanie M. Zannella
EDC921 – Deliverable #2 – Implementing Edublog
February 23, 2008
8th Grade - heterogeneous group
Background/Pre-Writing: Students have been researching a social/scientific/political issue of interest to them in order to write a persuasive essay convincing someone to agree with their opinions and/or take action on a particular topic. Students are writing about topics such as abortion, global warming, recycling, steroid use, euthanasia, cloning, etc. At this point, students should have all research and be in the drafting stage.

Objectives: The objective for this lesson is to have students peer edit introductory paragraphs for the persuasive essays we have been working on and also share a link to a website about their topic so that others can obtain more information if desired. I hope that this sharing of resources will create an on-line “space” for students in all classes to share and critique information.

Students use a recursive process, including pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and critiquing to produce final drafts of written products. (Local)
W–8–11.2 Sharing thoughts, observations, or impressions (Local)
W–8–7.2 Stating and maintaining a focus/controlling idea/thesis (Local)
W–8–8.4 Commenting on the significance of the information, when appropriate (Local)

1. POSTING: Students will create their introductory paragraphs and will post on our class blog. The introductions should include the following elements:
a. a hook
b. background information/context
c. a clear thesis that contains at least three reasons for or against the topic
(last sentence of intro paragraph)

* Directly after the intro, students should include a link to a website that others can go to in order to seek out more information on the topic. This will promote further dialogue about various topics and perhaps also help those students who are still searching for that last source.  Also, if students use a statistic or info that should be cited, this source should also be provided.

2. COMMENTING: Students will be required to comment on two (2) postings as follows:
a. on another student’s intro that has chosen the same topic
b. on another student’s intro that has chosen a different topic

Students will be required to comment on the specific aspects of the post. Does the student have an effective hook? Is the background information adequate? Most important: Does the student have a clear thesis statement with three reasons? Students will be commenting using a P-Q-P (Praise, Question, Polish) format. In other words, each student will be required to praise one aspect of the intro, formulate a question about the intro or the topic, and offer one suggestion for improvement. (RUBRIC FOLLOWS)

3. Differentiation: Students have a broad range of issues to comment on. By having students comment on a like topic, they have some prior knowledge. By having students comment on a post involving a different issue, they increase their knowledge base and are also able to choose the post they feel most capable of commenting on.

Persuasive Blog Posting
Commenting Rubric

Excellent = 2 points
Satisfactory = 1 point Unsatisfactory = 0 points

Even though we are “blogging” and on the web, I am still requiring complete sentences, and spelling and grammar count. On more informal postings where you are sharing opinions about a class assignment or a school function, the rules will be more relaxed.

Student offers a positive comment that directly addresses one required aspect of the content: hook, context, or thesis.

“I liked the way you explained what stem cell research is so that the reader…”

“Your hook made me want to keep reading because…”

“Your thesis is convincing because…”

“I don’t really agree with animal testing, but your thesis…”

Student offers a question about the introduction or topic.

“What is euthanasia?”

“Is your paper going to focus on just human cloning? Why?”

“Do you have a source for the statistic you used?”

Student offers constructive criticism on a required aspect of the content: hook, context, or thesis. No negatives simply to be negative even if you don’t agree with the student’s position.

“I’m not sure you gave enough background information to the reader. I’m still not sure what _______ is.”

“Your thesis isn’t one sentence with three reasons; you need to...”

“You have a great topic, but your hook…”

I'm hoping to start posting next week and am excited to see how it goes!

Mrs. Z. said...

In taking the time to look at the blogs everyone has set up, it's so interesting to see the many different ways blogs are being incorporated in the classroom at all grade levels and disciplines.

The "TeacherTube" video was incredibly informative! I am planning on sharing this with my department head and other teachers in our building. It was so well done and has truly made me think about the direction my teaching will take over the next few years. I also wonder how much our language will evolve--what new words will be added to the lexicon? What new college majors will emerge? How will communication continue to change? I do worry somewhat about human interaction. For example, a coach recently mentioned how on a bus ride back from a cross country meet, the students were all using something electronic -- I-pods, text-messaging (the majority), video games, etc. They were definitely interacting with others, just not those sitting in the seats next to them!

I've been looking at this screen for several hours now and definitely need a break. Good luck to everyone as we continue our coursework together.

sizelanm@ride.ri.net said...

Dellivery #2
Grade Level: 10-12
Class: You and The Law C-period

Over view: This lesson is a Mini-Mock trial. It will take the students through the steps of a trial. The students will use their prior knowledge to help them solve a dispute. It will help them understand why it is so important to have civic responsibility.

Goals and Objectives:
At the end of this lesson the students will have done:
• The Voir Dir Process
• Opening statements to the jury
• Direct and Cross examination with witness
• Closing Arguments to the jury

Day 1: Explained the process of the Mini Mock Trial and what students need
• Students have marked up their notes and flagged what is important to help them with the case.
• Students and teacher have put together the teams. Prosecution, Defense, witness for both sides and the Jury and Judge have been picked
• Teacher has gone over the roles, court procedure and decorum.

Day 2: Parts are handed out to the class. This will give them time to go over what
the case is about.
The jury will fill out their forms and Jury selection should start. If time allows we will start opening statements from both sides.

Day 3: Witnesses take the stand and examination from both sides is done.
Closing arguments and jury instructions are given.
Jury will deliberate and verdict will be read.
Jury should be able to explain how they decided on the verdict.

D. Esposito said...

Deliverable #2

Here is the introduction to my deliverable. I thought we were suppose to post it to the wiki. That is where you will find the entire document.

My plan is to incorporate my HV Central blog into my current library setting by using it as a communication tool with the staff. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I am a new teacher/librarian in this district and have not yet met all the teachers in my school. Currently, we communicate through an email system called First Class which also includes a conferencing capability. The technology department prefers that you post to a conference, instead of sending out numerous email messages to the entire staff. I had the technology department set up a Media Center Conference and right now I am posting library news to that conference. The problem is that there are so many conferences (staff, administrative, district, student and more) that I’m not sure how many teachers actually visit my conference to see what is new in the library. Perhaps this blog will spark a little more interest than the conferences do. Within the next couple of days I will be ready to share my blog with the teachers, staff and administrators. I will post the link to my blog on the Media Center conference. In addition, I will send out an email to the entire staff explaining this course and the Web 2.0 technologies that I am learning and experimenting with. I will ask them to visit the blog regularly and feel free to comment and participate in the discussion.

The goal of my blog is to communicate, inform and share ideas with the teachers, administrators and staff as well as to encourage the use of these Web 2.0 technologies in all areas of instruction in the high school. Here are just a few of the ideas that I will be including in this blog:

• News about the ongoing library renovation
• Interesting blogs, wikis, videos that I am introduced to in this course
• New and useful web pages for research assignments
• New books, periodicals, videos and other materials in the media center
• Suggestions from teachers for new materials

Anne Howard said...

Deliverable #2

This lesson was inspired by a lesson plan published by unitedstreaming. If your school has a unitedstreaming account, the original lesson may be viewed at unitedstreaming

In previous years I have had regularly scheduled media classes with grades K – 7. Last year we lost our full-time technology instructor. I now split her job with another teacher. It was decided that this year I would not have regular classes with grades 5 & 6, thus allowing me some flexibility in scheduling. I am working with students in these grades to improve their proficiency in the Microsoft Office programs Microsoft Word and Powerpoint. This lesson is to be used to support the 5th grade Social Studies unit investigation of ancient and present-day landmarks of the world.

This will necessitate the creation of a new blog site. I will have this site up and running within the next week. I have to have it up and running – I will begin working with this class the week of March 3, 2008. I will post the address once I have it finished.

The goal of this unit is to provide students and teacher the opportunity to increase their knowledge of practical applications of Microsoft Word and Web 2.0 technologies.


MD SLM Standards
• 1.04 promotes social responsibility in the use of information
• 2.01 support national, state, and local educational goals
• 2.05 promote student independence in learning through effective and ethical use of print and electronic resources
• 2.06 provide professional development in instructional and information technologies for all teachers
• 3.01.05 retrieve and manage information
• 3.01.07 create materials in various formats
• 5.02.03 encourage the use of instructional materials and technologies by students and staff

ALA Information Literacy Standards
• 2.4 Selects information appropriate to the problem or question at hand
• 3.1 Organizes information for practical application
• 3.4 Produces and communicates information and ideas in appropriate formats
• 8.3 Uses information technology responsibly
• 9.1 Shares knowledge and information with others

• Students will be able to create outlines in Microsoft Word
• Students will be able to cut and paste their outlines into the class blog
• Students will be able to give feedback to their classmates about their outlines through utilization of the class blog
• Students will be able to ethically locate and use images to be part of a slide show on the class blog

• Computers with program Microsoft Word
• Computers with internet access

The social studies curriculum for 5th grade students concentrates on the study of ancient cultures. One of the units involves how and why ancient people created landmarks, what were the landmarks, and how do they compare to present day landmarks. In their social studies classes, the teacher will introduce the concept of creating an outline as part of the pre-writing process. Prior to coming to the computer lab the students will have chosen a landmark to research. The library teacher has to locate and post web resources for the students to utilize.

1. Students access the class blog to begin researching their landmarks and take notes while reading. Library teacher (LT) and Social Studies teacher provide support to students as they work. (1 class period)
2. With their social studies teacher the students create outlines utilizing paper and pencil. (1 class period)
3. LT models for students how to create an outline in Microsoft Word. LT instructs students on how to head their work with their first names only. LT explains to students the reason for this is to protect their privacy from anyone outside our school who may read our blog. Students create their own outlines in Microsoft Word. LT and SS teacher provide support and correction as students work. Students save their work to their individual network folders. (1 class period)
4. LT explains to students that when they are not working at school their comments will not immediately show up on the blog. LT explains this is another measure of security. The class blog is only for them to use and when they are not working on it at school it is set to send all comments to the teacher for her approval for posting. LT models for students how to copy and paste comments into class blog. Students open their network folders and open their landmark outlines. Students copy and paste their outlines to the blog. LT and SS teacher provide assistance to students as needed. LT models for students how to submit their outlines for posting. Students post their outlines to the blog. Students read the outlines posted to the blog. Students then answer the following question on the blog: Choose another student’s outline. Would you be able to write a report from his/her outline? What could s/he add or take out to make the outline better? Be sure to give examples to support your answer. (1 class period)
5. LT explains to students they will be locating pictures of their landmarks. LT explains to students why they need to only use images they have permission to use – copyright infringement and intellectual property. LT explains that images may be obtained legally through Creative Commons. Teacher models for students how to locate appropriate images through Creative Commons Search and save them to a network folder. LT and SS teacher assist students as they search for and save images. (1 class period)
6. LT creates slide show utilizing Spresent and posts the slide show to the web. SS teacher shares the blog and slide show during a social studies class.

Extension Activities
• Students use Google Earth to create maps with the area their landmarks are located marked. These maps are included in the class blog slide show.
• Students use what they have created for the blog as the basis for a class wiki.

Students will be assessed informally through teacher observation during computer instruction and successful completion of the assigned tasks.

Possible Problems
• The library teacher can’t begin his/her instructional piece until the students have selected a landmark and created their outlines in Social Studies class. It is likely that a number of students will not be ready to create outlines in Word due to absence or inability to complete the work within the assigned period. These students will naturally be behind the rest of the class. These students may need addition time outside of the regularly scheduled class (recess, study hall, before school, after school) to complete this part of the process.
• Students with less proficiency in keyboarding will lag behind their classmates. These students may need addition time outside of the regularly scheduled class (recess, study hall, before school, after school) to complete this part of the process.
• It is possible Spresent is blocked by the school filters. This will either necessitate unblocking the site or the library teacher downloading all the images from the student folder and creating and uploading the slide show from another location.

Future Goals
With the 5th grade class last year I tried to have them create virtual field trips about different ancient civilizations they studied. My class time is only 45 minutes once a week. I began this project with them in March and the project was never completed. My goal is to have this year’s 5th students create a wiki about the different cultures and landmarks they have studied. It is my hope this wiki will be a dynamic work, always evolving and changing as information is gathered. I also hope success with this project will encourage other teachers in my school to see the practical applications of web 2.0 technologies and begin using them in their own classes.

I have been working on this for what feels like a really long time and I'm no longer sure of how any of it sounds. I am taking a break, going out to dinner with my family, and coming back to this in a few hours. If anyone sees any major flaws, please don't hesitate to point them out. Like I said, I'm too close to it to see any. Thanks to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Mrs. Z for her high standards for incorporating complete sentences, spelling and grammar into her grading rubric. Educators of all content areas must be reminded that whether blogging or using pen and paper, proper use of standard English must still prevail when appropriate, which is most of the time!

tennettadams said...

Sorry, I typed in anonymous.

Anne Howard said...

For those of you that may not have seen this, it's an interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor about students commenting online about teachers:Teachers Strike Back at Students' Comments

Joan O'Halloran said...

I just submitted my lesson plan. Anyone who wants to read it in its entirety needs to go to the wiki. It is too long to add as a comment. Here are the highlights.

Objectives: I expect that students will gain experience researching a topic on the internet to develop an informed opinion. I expect that students will use effective communication skills as they share their informed opinion with the rest of the class via our blog. Students will also link information that informed their opinion in the blog entry.

Standards/Unifying Themes
Scientific Inquiry: communicate understanding and ideas; use evidence to draw conclusions
Nature of Science: attitudes and dispositions of science (avoiding bias, divergent ideas and health skepticism.

At present, I cannot teach this lesson because all blogs are blocked in my district. I reflected on what I thought might be problematic.

The 'Did You Know' video makes a powerful statement. I too would like to present this to faculty and parents.

Mrs. Raymer said...

Deliverable #2

EDUC 321
Stacy Raymer
Spring 2008

To create a blog to use as a communication tool with students/parents/staff


Phase 1
 Make a powerpoint presentation for public relations committee at my school “Introduction to Blogs”
 At meeting of public relations committee, show powerpoint (including blog examples) and discuss items which need to be included on the blog. Brainstorm possible format.
 Collect questions and concerns from committee

Phase 2
 Research questions and concerns
 Add research findings to powerpoint created in Phase 1
 Update blog with items and format chosen in public relations committee meeting
 Meet with department heads to introduce them to blogs and the beginnings of our own blog for communicating information to our school and community
 Collect questions and concerns from committee

Phase 3
 Research questions and concerns collected in Phase 2 meeting
 Add research findings to powerpoint updated in Phase 2
 Meet with public relations committee to bring them up to date
 Plan campaign to publicize beginning of blog
 Appoint members of committee as contacts for information to be posted.


I anticipate that over half of the staff at my high school has no knowledge of blogs and wikis and that I am going to have to become their “educator”. I do however believe that many in our community would use this tool and would appreciate it greatly. It will have to become an interactive site that several will be able to post to and use. By collecting potential questions and concerns along the way from several different members of the staff, I hope that we will be able to alleviate many of the missteps that would be made if I just tried to venture out on my own without any input.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Berenberg
Deliverable #2
Literature Circles
Genre: Historical Fiction
Text: The Whipping Boy
Author: Sid Fleischman
Grade 4


Literature circles help promote positive reading attitudes and revolve around a child-centered model of literacy. This model also incorporates differentiated instruction, ability grouping, and scaffolding. Grouping children fosters cooperative learning and encourages positive interaction and collaboration. In addition, critical thinking skills and student inquiry are an objective of literature circles. Book selection is usually decided by reading level, student interest, and genre focus. Literary elements and books that tie into the curriculum take the focus of the flexible groups. Students of each group are assigned roles in order to encourage responsibility and provide choices. Some examples of roles include summarizer, vocabulary enricher, investigator, literary luminator, connector, etc. The variety of roles accommodates different learning styles and appeals to all learning levels. Literature circles concentrate on analyzing literary story elements and help create a higher level of understanding.


Rhode Island GLE’s
R-4-4 Demonstrate initial understanding of elements of literary text
4.2 Summarizing key ideas
4.3 Identifying characteristics of historical fiction
4.5 Identifying literary devices as appropriate to genre including alliteration, dialogue,
or description

R-4-5 Analyze and interpret elements of text
5.1 Making predictions
5.2 Describe personality traits with text examples
5.3 Making inferences about problem, conflict, solution
5.4 Identifying author’s voice

Lesson Objectives

Students will identify characteristics of historical fiction.
Students will analyze and interpret elements of text.
Students will use information from text to answer questions and state main ideas and key details.


Model and review literature circle roles as a whole class. Students will choose roles for each group. Roles include illustrator, discussion director, connector, summarizer, and vocabulary enricher. Introduction to historical fiction as a genre. Each student will complete a KWL chart about historical fiction. Students will work in partners to share their prior knowledge on historical fiction. As a group, students will write a summary on what historical fiction is. Students will be encouraged to modify their summary and complete their KWL chart during the reading of the text and at the end.

Lesson Activities

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman will be introduced to literature circle group. Students will make predictions based on the title and illustrations from the front cover.
Students will tell a partner what their role is and what they are being asked to do. Chapters One through Three will be read by each individual student. At the end of the independent reading the discussion director will ask: Why is Jemmy known as a “common” boy? , describe the duty of a whipping boy, describe Prince Brat, and two of their own questions. These questions and responses will be posted to the edublog. The illustrator will draw pictures of the characters and setting which will be posted as a flickr slide show. The connector’s role is to make text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections. The summarizer will retell key facts and events for the chapters read. The vocabulary enricher will identify unknown and/or interesting words. These words will be looked up in the dictionary and synonyms and antonyms will also be identifies and shared with the group through the edublog. Students will be also be required to comment on the responses from the lesson and provide positive feedback online. All literature circle responses and pictures will be posted to the edublog.

Students will share their findings for the chapters read correlating with their specific roles. Self-reflection on how well they played their role will also be required. Students will write ways to improve and provide positive comments on the rest of the group’s role in the literature circle. Students will also write one thing they wonder about in the upcoming chapters. All responses and comments will be posted to the edublog.

Literature circles require informal and formal assessments. While students are completing their independent reading a running record will be given to determine student reading levels. It is important for children to be able to read the text without difficulty in order to focus on higher level thinking skills. Flexible grouping is also important to accommodate the progress of all students. The role of the teacher is a facilitator and the evaluation is made by teacher observation, student self-evaluation, and by evaluating response logs. Rubrics and checklists can also be used for literature circles. For this particular lesson, rubrics are not used as a tool for assessment. Conferencing with students during their independent reading time is a good opportunity to provide feedback and set individual goals with the child. It is important to conference with each individual from the beginning to the end in order to effectively monitor progress. By evaluating the KWL charts, an initial understanding of what prior knowledge already exists is achieved. From this understanding, upcoming mini-lessons and grouping is based on what level the student is at and what needs to be done to scaffold instruction. Assessment drives instruction and by continually assessing the students, individualized instruction will be obtained.

Extension Activities

Online Response Journal
Possible Questions: If the story was being told by a different character how would the voice change? Write a different ending to the text? Choose one of the characters that you are most like and write why citing examples from the text? Place one of the characters in today’s time and create a dialogue on how the past is different from today’s society.

Historical Fiction Banner: List two ways that tell you the story takes place in the past. List five occurances that you have read. List the characters with personality traits and describe the setting. Describe the ending of the story.
Prediction Chart
Character Web
Story Map
Venn Diagram
Problem-Solution boxes

Through the edublog students will be required to comment on student responses and reflect on what has been learned from each literature circle group.

At Home Extension Activities

The edublog could integrate a parent involvement link.

Literature Circles: Parental Involvement

Have your child read and talk about the story as you read.
Have your child use post-it notes to mark any pages of interest, unknown vocabulary, and connections that they would like to share at home and/or in class.

Types of Questions to Ask Your Child to Promote Talking About the Book:

What do you think this story is going to be about? How can you tell?
What do you think is going to happen next?
How do you think the story is going to end?
Have you ever felt like a character in this book?
How are you alike or not like the characters in the story?
Does this remind you of anything you’ve done before.

Mrs. Z. said...

I posted this under Session #3 by accident, so I'm posting it again. I apologize if you get this twice.

After reviewing my lesson, I realized that I had not included what potential problems might occur in implementing it. I had previously commented that having 85students presented somewhat of a problem to me because I was not sure I could initially roll out the blogging experience to all of them. I wondered how I would manage all the posts and comments on our main blog. I eventually would like to see each of them have their own blogs that would be accessible from our main one like some of our model blogs have, but at this point, I have taken Dave's advice to start small and am piloting the blog with only one of my classes.

Also, because I want to use the blog for peer editing purposes, I foresee that there may be some issues with valuable comments. Eighth graders tend to tell each other that their papers are "great!" without really looking at or understanding the constructive commenting process. For this reason, I included some "commenting starters" on my rubric. I also liked the commenting etiquette insight from tedneward.com that addresses this issue.

Lastly, I anticipate the usual technology problems--couldn't log on, etc., but most of my students are pretty internet savvy, so hopefully, those will be minimal.

Thanks to S. Adams regarding my standard for complete sentences and correct grammar. This year, more than ever, I have seen one-word answers, phrases, and a general lack of attention to punctuation and grammar. It's very frustrating!!!

Rosemary Driscoll said...

Wow. Some of those lesson plans for edublogs are great! My problem. I'm not a classroom teacher. I'm using my edublog as an information tool. I'll continue posting library/school information and use this as a venue for communicating with students and staff. I've been trying to add a calendar to my blog now for about an hour. I wonder if anyone has done this and if so can you help me out.
I also wonder if other districts are as difficult as East Providence in terms of use and access to blogging. I've been stymied thus far in my attempt to free up access to blogs here. It's like working at the Pentagon. In the meanitime, I'll work on my library blog in the hopes that someday students and teachers at my school can view and participate.
The video clip Did You Know is very impressive. My colleague at school (another EDC 921 participant) are planning to show it at a faculty meeting. I think if teachers and the building administrators have a chance to see this, the conversation can start for us at the building level and lead...who knows.

D. Esposito said...

Anne Howard,

I think you clicked on the wrong Word doc when you posted it to the wiki.


Jennifer Long said...

Lisa Casey, your blog is terrific! I love the layout, the theme (Rooster Games) and the student interactivity. I can't wait to see the students' communication develop over time, and am eager to read ideas about the books being read. Additionally, I enjoy the quick survey on the left (favorite book) and the countdown to voting day. Hooray!

Jennifer Long said...

Esther L's "cornerbooks" is, in my opinion, well executed. I appreciate your blog for the focused purpose, the attractive delivery, and the enthusiasm with which you write. Your love of reading is evident, and I'm sure your students feel motivated to read after seeing the booktalks on your blog. Makes me want to take some time off and read some great books, too.

joannak said...

Joanna Knott
Media Specialist, 4-6
Conewago Valley Int. Sch.
New Oxford, PA

“Gettysburg Battle Field – A Visual Tour”

Est. Time: Ten, 30-minute lessons
Day 1: Intro/brainstorming
Day 2: Video “Civil War” from United Streaming w/ “Cast of Characters”
Day 3: Flickr Slideshow/Select sites
Day 4: Google Maps/Flickr/Google
Day 5: Gather information/print images/place on map
Day 6: Intro to Blogger/Create accounts
Day 7: Post to Blogger
Day 8: Post to Blogger
Day 9: Review comments/Reflect
Day 10: Reflection/Answer “I Wonder..” questions

Conewago Valley Intermediate School is located approximately ten miles from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The historical significance is exciting from a teachers’ perspective, but very few of our fourth through sixth graders have ever actually learned about or been to Gettysburg National Park. This lesson will allow students to “visit” important Civil War locations through the town. We will have a class map posted, and students will use web resources such as Blogger, Google Maps, and Flickr to gather information and images.

•Relay the significance of the Battle of Gettysburg within the Civil War
•Identify major landmarks and the role they played
•Gain a “bird’s eye view” of Gettysburg by posting an image of their assigned location to a satellite map of Gettysburg.
•Appreciate and recognize the historic significance of Gettysburg

Students will choose from the following sites:

oJames Gettys Hotel (27 ½ Chambersburg St.)
oAlexander Dobbin House (71 Steinwehr Ave)
oPickett’s Charge
oGettysburg National Military Park (97 Taneytown Rd)
oJennie Wade House (548 Baltimore St)
oSchriver House (309 Baltimore St)
oGettysburg National Cemetary (97 Taneytown Rd)
oOld Jail (59 East High Street)
oLutheran Theological Seminary (20 Seminary Ridge)
oLee’s Headquarters (4001 Buford Ave.)
oLittle Round Top
oBig Round Top
oDevil’s Den
oTrostle Farm
oPeach Orchard
oEisenhower Estate
oThe Observation Tower
oSpangler’s Spring
oFarnsworth House (401 Baltimore St)
oHoeke-Codori House (44 York St)
oCulp’s Hill

(Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening)
1.1. Learning to Read Independently (Demonstrate after reading understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction text.)
1.2. Reading Critically in All Content Areas (Read and understand essential content of informational texts and documents in all academic areas.)
1.4. Types of Writing
1.5. Quality of Writing (Write with a sharp, distinct focus identifying topic, task and audience.)
(Science and Technology)
3.7 Technological Devices (Use basic computer software; Identify basic computer communications systems.)
8.2 Pennsylvania History (Identify and describe conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations in Pennsylvania history.)

•As a class, brainstorm and gather any prior knowledge about the Civil War
•Next, brainstorm and gather any prior knowledge about the Battle of Gettysburg
•Make a list of “I Wonder…” or “I Want to Know…” questions
•Watch United Streaming Video “Civil War” (15 minutes), and focus on the Battle of Gettysburg segment.
•Pass out a “Cast of Characters” packet identifying major players in the Battle of Gettysburg.
•Watch a Power Point on Gettysburg landmarks. The Power Point will incorporate images from Flickr.

Project Overview:
Students will select a topic for research from the above list. They will use Google Maps to locate their selected topic, print out an image (if applicable. Students who cannot find images will use Flickr), and record any information provided. We will post each image to a large, classroom map so that students “see” a bird’s eye view of Gettysburg. Students will then use Google search abilities to locate information about the topic’s historic significance during the Battle of Gettysburg. After gathering their information, students will post their findings to Blogger.

Writing Assignments:
•Students will use Blogger for all writing assignments. Each student will be assigned one specific location within Gettysburg. They will post their research results to Blogger.
•Blogger prompts: Identify your monument/building. What role did it play in the Battle of Gettysburg? Where is it located within Gettysburg? What have visitors said about the historic site (if applicable)? How is your monument/building connected to others that we’re studying?
•Blogger Goals: I hope that students will not only share what they[ve learned, but also learn from their classmates. As they read, I hope they begin to notice how the locations and sites are connected and create a tangible view of the battle. Students can also answer and read (possible) answers to the "I wonder..." questions.

•ELL students will be partnered with a student without those difficulties.
•Students with special writing needs must write their blog comment in Microsoft Word before posting in order to avoid grammatical or spelling errors.

Extension Activities:
If students show an overwhelming interest in this project, we can move on to create a Power Point, Photostory, or Flickr slideshow of Important Gettysburg Sites.

Observations: student use of Google Maps, Flickr, and Internet searches, work habits during blogging times

Blog: appropriate language, complete response to post, accurate information, grammatically correct, and good spelling.

Rubric: A rubric made through RubiStar will be used to assess all comments on the Blog as well as assess the use of internet tools. Focuses will include: research skills, appropriate and complete response to blog, completion of tasks, writing quality, and work ethic.

joannak said...


Checked out your blog; you've made some great changes recently! I love Commoncraft and Lee LeFever's simple, logical approach to technology. I use it all of time to teach the teachers!

I've never heard of your card catalog link -- was it library thing.com? I'd love to know more about it....

Leilani Coelho said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leilani Coelho said...

Implementing this lesson had many challenges but it was well worth it. I originally wanted my blog to be like a weekly newsletter and provide parents with information about what’s happening in the classroom. That idea quickly changed once I saw the blogs in session 3.
I decided to integrate my blog into a science lesson plan that was about the weather. I knew I wanted students to post their weather reports on our blog but I didn’t know how to make it work. I tried listing names on the side bar then typing under each name but I couldn’t get images to upload. It was either one way or the other. So I tried just taking pictures and making their journals into a slideshow but the writing was not too clear. Then I tried to make our blog into just a blog about the weather and have a student’s post their reports on the post page. Having just a few students post their reports seems to work for now but I would like to figure out a way I can have all students post their writing in a neat and organized way. It is safe to say that my blog is in working progress. I wonder if there is an easy way for students to put their weather reports on our blog. If anyone can think of any ideas I would greatly appreciate it.

Leilani Coelho
Deliverable #2
We will begin the lesson by reading a poem and comparing today’s weather with the weather described in the poem. They will share with a partner what they think the weather is like today and describe how they decided to wear the clothes they have on. They will also discuss the different kinds of clothing they wear for different kinds of weather and their answers will be listed on chart paper.

One goal of this lesson is for students to become more aware of the weather and how it affects their lives. They will observe and describe today’s weather, discuss how they decide what to wear to school today, and organize information in a journal entry.

Pre- Activities
Prior to this lesson students’ were observing and describing the weather whole group during circle time. Each day one student would go to the window, observe the weather, report it back to the group, and then I would write their descriptions on the weather chart. Descriptions were very basic such as, “Today is sunny!” or “Today is cold.” Discussions were not as detailed as they will be in this and future lessons.

Writing Assignments
From today on students will respond to a question in their weather journals. After writing their response they will type it and add it to our class blog. The first question that they will respond to is:

Compare the weather graph from the first day of fall in September to the last day of fall in December. Write, draw or tell how the days are different.

Extension and Adaptation
Students who are unable to type will have an opportunity to: orally describe the weather and record it using a voice recorder, take a picture of their journal entry and upload it to the site, or be paired with a student who can type it for them.

Math Extension-students will graph their favorite weather-cold, warm, hot. Each student will write their favorite weather and draw a picture of themselves dressed for that kind of weather on a sticky note. They will put their pictures in the appropriate column and count and compare the numbers in each column.

Writing Extension-students will observe the weather during the evening and compare it to the weather report they did earlier that day. At home they can add an evening section to their earlier report.

Exceeds Standard
Thoroughly shares accurate information about the topic
Uses pictures to illustrate details including captions
Picture indicates a clear understanding of the topic including details and connects to the writing that expresses complete thoughts
Independently creates text with words that an adult can decipher with ease,
Consistently leaves spaces between words
Spells many high frequency words correctly

Meets Standard
Shares accurate information about the topic
Uses pictures to illustrate details which may include captions
Independently creates text with words that an adult can decipher
Leaves spaces between words most of the time.
Picture indicates a clear understanding of the topic, connects to the writing that expresses complete thoughts
Below Standard
Little attempt to share information about the topic
Picture indicates much confusion about the topic and the writing is unclear
Attempts to create words that an adult can decipher but much confusion is noted
Lacks an understanding of spacing between words
Difficulty using phonemic awareness and letter sound association independently/Needs help

Jennifer Long said...

Deliverable #2:
See the wiki for further details. In a nutshell:
My blog is “Newport's School Library Media Centers” http://newportlmc.blogspot.com/

Initially, using the blog as a collaborative tool among the five library media specialists in the Newport, R.I. public schools. First goal: developing and posting a K-12 library media center curriculum.

Future Goals:
Collaborating with Newport's library media specialists and other professionals (in-district) regarding other projects. Expanding our collaboration to include global participants.

Potential challenges:
Continuing professional development on Web 2.0 will be needed for our LMSs. Staffing changes and our district's "Fewer, Newer Schools" initiative will bring great change to our professional lives.

-Frequency of posts to the blog (Are team members participating?)
-Selection of tools to facilitate curriculum project (Were appropriate tools, technological and otherwise, selected?)
-Proficiency with tools (Survey LMS and confirm blog, curriculum document posts)
-K-12 library media center curriculum (Is it posted? Can others access it?)
-Development of future goals (collaborative)

miggity said...

Missteps- I created my first blog on edublogs.org because I was able to convince the technology folks of the value of edublogs.org. My blogger account is pretty much static. The first blog manager miggity.edublogs.org, was too personal of a name for the students so I changed it to Mr. Sexton’s Blah, Blah is your Blog, Blog. My original name was “Miggity’s World” but it is a college nickname and I found this to be too personal.

Some pre-activities that I do wth the students include going over study habits that work, the correlation between the amount of outside study, attendance and grades, pneumonic devices (My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos {not Nine Pizzas as Pluto has been demoted} as a way to remember the order of the planets. I have them create a few of their own using their class content.

Now, I will be using sextonsblog.edublogs.org. For aesthetics and individual expression, I created a voki avatar to my side bar. It has some physical attributes that are similar to mine- a bald head, broad shoulders and a little nose. I recorded a message as a greeting to the kids and uploaded it. It is becoming easier to use.

As a resource teacher without specific content to teach (jack of all trades, master of none), I decided that a very useful way to use blogs for me is to create a communication tool with students. I often here, “I don’t have anything to do.” “I don’t have any homework.” And no matter how much time you take explaining that learning is not just getting assignments in on time (which they also have a hard time doing), most of the students I see do not take any ownership in their own learning nor do they ponder/ reflect/ analyze the course in which their navigating. Not much can be thought of past the next 3 minutes, sometimes 3 hours and very, very, very rarely, three days. So the test they have coming up next week won’t be on the radar until the day or two before. The class project that is on-going for the next three weeks does not NEED anything done for tomorrow.

The blog as a tool of communication is perfect here. It is non-confrontational, kept for reflection and analytical purposes, and allows the student to see progress (Obama and I HOPE) in not only their learning but also their approach to learning. Blogging, as a form of published writing, will be subject to all writing conventions. The content of the blog will be flexible as a few posting options will be available for students to read and comment. There will be the required reflection section for all comments posted from students but the rest of the comment will directly address the teacher post. The teacher post will cover current events (internt’l, nat’l, state and local issues), provocative quotes, or links to web sites for exploration purposes.

My first blog will require the students to reflect on their grades for Semester 1, discuss their outside study vs. the amount of time spent social networking, game playing, etc., and ways to improve during Semester 2.

As an extension activity, students can submit quotes, URLs, or some of their own thoughts to ponder to me in their comments. I will review them and, if appropriate, use them in my next post, of course, with credit to that student. Students will earn extra credit for submitting them, more credit if I use them in my post.

Oral and Written GSE’s

W–12–11.2 Sharing thoughts, observations, or impressions

W–12–11.3 Generating topics for writing

EXAMPLES: Journal writing, free writes, poetry, quick writes, scientific observations, learning logs, readers’/writers’ notebook, letters and personal notes, reading response journals, sketch journals/cartooning, songs, lyrics, reflective writing, short plays

Demonstrates the habit of writing extensively by…
W–12–11.1 Writing with frequency, including in-school, out-of-school, and during the summer

W–12–3.3 Using specific details and references to text or relevant citations to support thesis, interpretations, or conclusions

Students will be provided with an email address created specifically for the blog- sextonsblog@hotmail.com . The email address will be for communication with students, if needed, for assignment related comments/ questions that they do not wish to post.

Students will be required, as stated above, to adhere to proper writing conventions. This is not IM. They will be required to post twice a week, more is better. Each week students will reflect on their work in their classes as well as provide upcoming assignments (short and long term assignments). One paragraph, including at least six sentences, summary/ reflection will be required for one of the quotes, URLs, or current events discussed in the post. For example, on that is very pertinent and not at all hypothetical, is the use of school uniforms. A bill has recently been introduced in RI to allow Woonsocket to institute a form of school uniforms.

For differentiated instruction, I will allow students to create, as I have, a Voki. The students will be allowed to then submit a portion of their comment post, either the reflection on their classes or their summary/ reflection of current topics, quotes, etc. as an audio recording and submitted. Some students will be very motivated by this option.

bream said...

I am continuing to learn a great deal about blogs from setting up the various features to its usefulness in the classroom. I have been looking at many different blogs and the ones that I tend to spend time on are the ones that are less full of stuff. I find that if I get to a blog that is full of things everywhere, I feel overwhelmed and I close out of it without even reading what it is about. I thought about this when I was working on my blog. I am sure this wouldn't bother some students, but it might turn some off.

I want to spend more time on my blog playing around with the different feature and added things as time goes on. I have seen some things on other class members blogs that I would like to incorporate, such as polls and videos.

Mrs. Z. said...

Hello All,

I'm not sure if it's me just having too much to do, but I thought Deliverable #2 (lesson 2)was due this week 2/26. I noticed on the Session 5 posting it says to work on Deliverable #2--does this mean #3 (the implementation presentation to admin/faculty)? Is this what is due next week?

Please clarify. I apologize if I'm missing the obvious.

Also, I introduced my lesson plans to my class today, and all were very receptive. Permission slips were going home, and I hope to have some posts up by tomorrow night (maybe Thursday?). I also mentioned that extension activities for this lesson were for some of them to not only include a link to a site about their topic, but to also go to a link that another student offers and post what new information they have learned about that topic (I did not include this on my posted plan on the wiki. I had some trouble editing and then re-submitting; I'm going to try again.) I think the lesson is a manageable one for our first try. We'll see...

I'm inspired by your creative lesson plans. Like Melissa B., I also hope to use a wiki to do literature circle "discussion" on- line; great ideas Melissa. I plan on using a wiki rather than a blog because of the blocked blogging (I guess you know what my implementation plan will be about!). Looking forward to podcasts.

Steph Z.

Anonymous said...

Kim Crotty
Library 9-12

I've enjoyed the extra time given to explore the different page layouts, page elements, and security features of my blog. I find myself constantly going back and tweaking my blog. I've even found some different elements on the web that I've added to my blog such as a scroller. I can't access this feature at school but at home I can see it and it's pretty neat! I've also experimented with listening to different podcasts. I haven't had the time to actually create one myself. But it's on my plan to at least attempt one before the end of the school year.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Berenberg
Session #5

Steph z. I was also thinking about doing a possible book club on either a Wiki or a blog. Maybe we could develop some kind of correspondance between the two schools. My class was also very receptive to either the Wiki/Blog. Frankly, I don't think that they care either way. They seem so fascinated by using the computer in different ways, especially in school. You also have very innovative lesson ideas. It's nice to introduce something new and recieve such a warm response.

I am wondering how do you monitor comments on Wiki World and Podcasts. Is it possible to manage these audio castings and students adding/editing appropriately.

I like Wikis as an interactive writing blog. I feel that it would be effective for students to improve on their writing in an ongoing process. I also enjoy the aspect of creating new pages and links. It would be a good tool for cooperative learning if used properly. I was interested in the course offered by Benidji State University: Teaching writing with Wiki Technology. When I clicked on the link, I thought it was going to give me some strategies but apparently I would have to take the course. Does anyone know where Bemidji University is? I would also be interested in other sites that would help to teach writing with wikis.

It also appears that Wikis will be commercialized with sponser sites and advertisements. When I looked at the tourist guide to Rochester N.Y., I was wondering if the recommended places were credible or just a form of advertising. If it can be used as another form of a Frommer's guide I think it will be helpful when traveling and exploring new places. If Wiki tourist guides and google maps link together maybe it will be easier for the public to travel and find out about new interesting places.

Podcasts are another tool that I find appealing. It would be nice to have this in addition to powerpoints. The podcatcher would also be a nice way to organize sites and keep them with the objectives for each lesson. Anything to keep students motivated and interested will provide guidance to being a life-long learner. I think if I can keep up and implement these new technologies, I will be able to support children in their needs for years to come.

JPolinick said...

John Polinick
Spring 2008 EDC921
Providence, RI
Grade 6

Subject: Language Arts/Writing

Lesson Overview:
Students are working on writing a compare/contrast essay between women’s rights during the 1800’s and now. The writing assignment correlates with the classroom’s weekly anthology, and adds closure to this week’s activities. Children will post their final copy on the classroom blog.


-Tie in classroom practices to the classroom blog.
-Reflect understanding of transition words, compare and contrast through posted final copy
-Continue to build classroom community through the continued and varied use of blogs

This lesson builds on this week’s writing lesson. Each week children in my sixth grade class write a new type of genre piece. This week’s writing focused on comparing and contrasting women’s rights then (1800’s) and now. The following lesson transpires over 3 writing periods, and the blog component ties the entire lesson together as a published piece.

Day 1: Transition Words
Teacher: Sometimes you will be asked to write a response for tests. Remember that transitions can make your writing flow smoothly form idea to idea. Examine this sentence: Elizabeth Blackwell had a good education and excellent references too, but she could not get accepted into medical school. Note that the words and and too signal likenesses and the word but signals a different idea. In your writing, use transition words such as however, but, unlike, not, too, and also to signal connections between ideas.
Classroom Practice: Display Writing Transparency 15A. Read the prompt aloud and point out the highlighted key words. Read and discuss the model in terms of the writing traits listed to its left. http://www.pearsonsuccessnet.com/snpapp/iText/products/0-328-27458-5/pdfs/0-328-14663-3/writingmodel/015a.pdf

Day 2: Continue Transition Words:
Teacher: Display Writing Transparency 15B. http://www.pearsonsuccessnet.com/snpapp/iText/products/0-328-27458-5/pdfs/0-328-14663-3/writingmodel/015b.pdf

Read aloud the information at the top.
Ask students to explain what transition words are. (words that help make smooth connections between sentences and paragraphs)
Work through Exercise 1. Ask why the sentences are smoother with transitions. Elicit reasonable responses for Exercise 2.
GUIDED WRITING Some students may need more help writing with transition words. Use small group time to assess and monitor these students.
Discuss how sequence words are also transition words.
HOMEWORK: Give students one example of transitions for this sentence: My appointment is at three o'clock. The bus is late. Students add three more transition sentences of their own in their notebooks
DAY 3: Writing Prompt:
Write the following prompt on the overhead and have children copy it into their reading notebook.
Write a paragraph comparing and contrasting women's rights in Elizabeth Blackwell's day to women's rights today. Use transition words and details to show likenesses and differences.
Start the writing process in class after giving them the following checklist

1. Read the prompt carefully. Find key words (underlined above).
2. Develop a plan. Think of what you want to say before writing. Fill out a graphic organizer for a comparison/ contrast essay. A Venn diagram or T-chart will be the most useful for this assignment. The graphic organizer and rough draft must be handed in the day your blog is due.
3. Support your ideas. Use facts, examples, and details to strengthen your response. Avoid making general statements that are unsupported.

4. Check your writing. Go through your rough draft and check to see if you have enough details. See if you have used correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Also, the last two writing lessons have been focused on transition words. Part of your grade will depend on your use of transition words.

5. Post your final copy to the classroom blog: Remember to write the final copy in Word. Copy and paste it to the blog box like we did in class. That way, you will have an easier time with the editing process. Also, you will have the copy available to email etc. if needed.
All of the previous work will be completed in class during the writing period with the exception of #5.
(All students have previously posted to the classroom blog, and this will be the second time for most of the students to add their writing.)
ASSESSMENT: Rubric available at Wikdave.
Sorry if content is difficult to follow. The original is in Word and cut and paste has its flaws.

DFeole said...

Blogging to improve written communication
DOK 2-3/ GSE’s R2-R6, R15, R16 W1, 2, 9, 10, 11 12, 13/ Content Standards E1a,b,c, E2a, E3a, E4a,b, E5a,b,c, E6 a,b, E7a,b

This lesson is a year-long collaboration between regular classroom activity and the use of a blog space to offer students an opportunity to 1) organize ideas and thoughts in writing before performing assigned tasks, 2) communicate problems and issues with assignments or class lessons, 3) reflect on learning and problem solve for future assignments/situations.

Why choose blogging?
1) Blogging offers more personalized attention to students writing on a daily basis than hard-copy journals allow.
2) Blogging is exciting to students, provides a motivation to communicate through written language on almost a daily basis.
3) Blogging trains students in the art of response writing.
4) Blogging allows teachers to utilize a large variety of mediums ie podcasts, links etc… to offer students a multifaceted picture of an issue to respond to.

The general idea is to ask students to visit the blog as many as four times a week to respond to respond to a prompt or a piece of information (maybe that augments to current topic or source of study) or an opinion or response of another student, and WRITE!!!

Example lesson plan: My 9th graders are currently working on a unit that is designed to promote empathy for those around us. Following is the first of several project designed around the concept of “From Apathy to Empathy.”

How will we incorporate blogging?
Students will be given a daily assignment to visit the blog and respond individually about their progress on this project. Prompts will ask them to:
1) Summarize the information they have compiled.
2) Synthesize the information by commenting on how one piece supports or refutes another.
3) Discuss the implications of this knowledge in today’s world.
4) Share information with the class in a Did You Know? kind of fashion.
5) Ask advice of others.
6) Communicate between partners on team projects.

From Apathy to Empathy
DOK 2-3/ GSE’s R2-R6, R15, R16 W1, 2, 9, 10, 11 12, 13/ Content Standards E1a,b,c, E2a, E3a, E4a,b, E5a,b,c, E6 a,b, E7a,b
SWE 1.1

Project #1
We are going to create a newspaper that teaches tolerance and empathy. To do this you will have to research a world event, synthesize information, compile pictures and lists, write a news article and design a newspaper layout.

Step 1: The first thing we need to do is come up with a name. Here are some suggestions. We will brainstorm and come up with a few more before we vote.
1) Need for Tolerance Times
2) Empathy Daily Journal
3) ___________________
4) ___________________
5) ___________________

Step 2: Next we need to learn how to write a news article. Complete “Analyzing and Writing a News Article” handout in class.

Step 3: Choose a topic. You and a partner may choose from the topics below. Remember, you have to work with it for a while, so make it something you are interested in. Be quick, only one group for each topic:

The Holocaust The Bosnian War
LA Riots Oklahoma City Bombing
9/11 Civil War in Sierra Leone (Blood Diamonds)
US Iraqi War prisons Treatment of Women in countries like Afghanistan, Iran and South Africa

Step 4: Now it is time to research. You and your partner will be required to present the following to the class at the end of the project.
1. A display of 5 pictures with captions of the event/issue.
2. A collection and display of important dates.
3. A list of important events with explanations as to why they are considered important.
4. A list of important people with explanations as to why they are considered important.
5. A timeline of event that you construct and display in a graphically pleasing manner.
6. A personal story that you will read to the class. (I will help with this one.)
7. An originally written news article written about your topic, written in true news style and voice. This will require synthesis of information.
8. A Bibliography (I’ll teach you how to use Easybib.com.)

We will put this all together in class and you will be required to present this on the assigned day. Stay tuned for more.

This same technique is also being utilized in my Creative Writing classes and my Writing Lab classes. So far, so good. I am even getting students posting their own poetry to share. It is quite a lively experiment. Check it out at www.feolesalwayswrite.blogspot.com


Anonymous said...

EDC 921 Deliverable 2


My plan is to incorporate my homerhighschoollibrary.blogspot.com blog into my current library setting by using it as a communication tool with the staff. Currently, we communicate through an email system called First Class which allows for one on one communication but not an interactive community of collaborators. I will ask staff to visit the blog regularly and feel free to comment and participate in the discussion. As well, I will post regularly to the blog and respond to staff comments and questions in a timely manner to show I am paying attention to their needs and discussions.


The purpose of this blog is to foster communication among colleagues, keeping us on track with our wiki(s) and other current projects, and affording us the opportunity to think, post, and comment, whenever time allows using Web 2.0 technology. “Collective Intelligence: When the Whole Exceeds the Sum of Its Parts”

 To create a new staff orientation site. After an initial greeting of new staff I will individually log then onto the blog and show them how to navigate. This gives me a chance to develop a relationship as well as letting then know that the LMS is attentive to their needs and will answer, or at the least, find answers to their questions.

 To create a link to the high school library card catalog to afford easy access to books and materials available for check out to supplement classroom curriculum and foster literacy. Assist teacher in making connections between inquiry-based learning and information literacy skills

 To create a link to the Statewide database (SLED, State Library Electronic Doorway) to assist in online research from reputable sources.

 Create a forum to promote and advertise recent library book acquisitions and how staff may incorporate these into their curriculum. In addition, recent purchases of fiction books which staff may be interested reading for recreational enjoyment

 To create an online discussion forum for Homer High staff to share curricular ideas, concerns, collection management practices, successful lessons, and the like. This is a means of promoting staff to become teaching partners in one another and the LMS in the learning environment.

 To promote the LMC as a dynamic, active and aggressive program involved in leaching and learning,

 To encourage the use of technology among all staff in their “classrooms” as a means of promoting information literacy. Each staff would have a folder with archives to track thoughts, conversations, and additional links about their discipline

 To gain access to homerhighschoollibrary.blogspot.com on our school’s server, as well as gain access to other edublogs that would be helpful in our teaching.

 To be an example in the school district of the many positive uses for technology in education and collaboration among professionals in the hopes that these technologies will be allowed as teaching tools in the classroom.

 To collaborate about important subjects such as; plagiarism. Linking staff policies and information websites to assist in a school wide plan.
 Interesting blogs, wikis, videos that I am introduced to in this course
 New and useful web pages for research assignments
 New books, periodicals, videos and other materials in the media center
 Suggestions from teachers for new materials

Future Goals:

o To use a blog as a forum for other school district libraries to promote this online means of communication and collaboration.

o To use as an example to my school staff, spring boarding the creation of our own school blog to promote communication, collaboration, and contribution.

o Provide a blog that works for public school use to show school district personnel a successful blog format and the potential for this means of collaboration and information literacy in the school setting.

o Present organizational charts, rubrics, graphic organizers to assist in curriculum design and integrating the LMC into the classroom curriculum

o Create another blog to be used as a communication tool with students. I will add as a basis for student communication a point made in our class text: “don’t write what you couldn’t say to a person face to face and not get into a fight.” (Will Richardson, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, 2006).

o To create an online calendar and discussion of upcoming speakers and authors who will be available for classroom presentations. This is a part of the “Authors to Enhance Learning” program which I have created. Also when and where authors who are giving local community presentations will be

o To advertise the recent acquisition of “We The People” poster set provided through a grant from ALA to help staff integrate these beautiful American artist posters into their curriculum

o Help teachers create and integrate blogs into their classrooms.

o To have a monthly calendar on the blog for easy reference

Trials, Test and Missteps:

Creating a need and a desire to integrate new technology by staff, will be key to the survival of this school library blog. I will request that district data processing add the library blog URL to each staff list of “favorites.” Also connecting personally with staff one on one, walking them through the steps to connect to the blog spot and promote the benefits of online collaboration and connection for their program and the school, will be an important element in the blog success.

To evaluate the success and effectiveness of my blog, I will check comments for each of my postings to see who is interested in participating in the discussions. I will also look into installing a hit counter service, as is installed on the library web page, to track the amount of visitors to my blog.

As this blog develops, continuing collaboration among staff as to blog improvements will shape the way the blog proceeds. Just as part of being a LMS is to provide services, the blog will be another service avenue. This will be an active learning experience for all involved. I’m sure there will be other trials and missteps. I will continuously learn from them and make changes and adjustments as needed.

Extension , Adaptation, and Integration

• Links – del.icio.us bookmarks
• Links to interesting articles (from Professional Journals)
• Links to Library Thing – a personal catalog of books that links you to others who have similar reading interests.
• Links to book lists by genre
• Pictures
• Links to school district media center catalog
• Links to public library
• Current news and events which may be of interest to staff and students; RSS feeds
• Links to local newspaper articles of interest, particularly those to promote students attending school
• Polling – Ask the staff a question about Web 2.0 tools.

To assure positive extension of the library blog, one way of knowing that the blog is being utilized is if staff request help to set up blogs for their own classroom curriculum. I will make myself available to assist them in their venture. I will connect then to the power points of the beginning sessions of this course, Using Blogs and Wikis To Foster Literacy, for additional assistance in understanding the set-up process.

Also I would welcome the opportunity to present the library blog and explain the integral part it can and does play in developing school and information literacy district wide. The elected school board needs to be educated about the benefits of blogging to promote and keep current with technology.
“To promote the capacity of human communities to co-operate intellectually in creation, innovation and invention.”