Monday, October 18, 2010
Micro-blogging is yet another way to connect with your students outside of the walls of the classroom. Edmodo is an online network that allows you to connect with only your specific students and provide quick and easy bits of information to them. This "closed group collaboration" allows teachers to easily connect with students after school hours to remind them of upcoming assignments and tests, make them aware of any assignment changes, and create a stronger bond between students and teacher. It was suggested, however, in The Chronicle of Higher Education article that “My experience with using Twitter and anything similar — blogs, Facebook, etc. — for academic purposes is that students just think it is weird, creepy, and geeky in the negative sense." Some students reject the idea of having such communication with their educators after hours, despite how beneficial it may be to them. An opposing view from an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas suggests, "Thus to extend the walls of the classroom, make education relevant to all aspects of students lives rather than just what they do four-five hours a day we need to think of ways to extend the ways we form and foster learning communities.” I understand both points of view, however, it is my hope as a secondary educator, that younger students would be excited to be given encouragement to use such modes of communication that are usually off limits. With my students I would love to keep them updated with reminders of due dates, homework assignments, study tips, and prompts to get started. There is such a daily disconnect as soon as the students leave the building that I almost wish I could call them personally. Time, unfortunately, does not permit such a luxury, whereas micro-blogging would allow those invaluable pieces of information to land right in front of them!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Look at My Happy Rainbow," written by a male Kindergarten teacher, . His blog chronicles his day-to-day encounters with his "sprouts" as he refers to his students. Although I am a high school special education teacher, the insights from a kindergartner teacher's point of view are refreshing and encouraging. My passion was originally to work with elementary students who are just learning the lay of the land where everything is new to them. Somehow I was guided into high school where my job now is to mold respectful, responsible, hard-working young adults. "Look at My Happy Rainbow" allows me to look at both the complexity and simplicity that Kindergarten classrooms are made of. In one post entitled, "Genius," the teacher had his "sprouts" create adjectives for the pictures of pumpkins they had just drawn on a piece of paper. One student chose the word "scary" and needed guidance in how to spell out the word. The teacher sat down and helped the student spell out each sound and when they got to the last sound, /ee/, the student wrote a "y". When asked how the student knew the letter was a "y" and not and "e," which was fully expected to be what a kindergartner would produce, he simply responded, "It's just like the "y" at the end of my name" (Billy). The pureness of the student's answer reminds the teacher and readers not to ever underestimate your student's inner genius!