Monday, November 26, 2007

Wiki work

i'm cross-posting between my blog and Global Learner blog. I wanted my colleagues to see what my classes are up to, but also wanted to document that on our own site!

I'm attempting to use my wiki in a "blackboard" sort of way. My students are posting their work to the wiki....this is as far as I've gotten so far! I feel good to have gotten this concept across to my language learners but please check it out! Today they will be posting paragraphs on pages they create themselves! I have small classes so I'm not too worried about stealing or manipulating other students' work....I don't think they have it completely figured out to be able to sabotage their classmates....hopefully it won't get to that!

check out our wiki and see what we're up to!

There is a link to American History Three and we are currently at causes of WWI! I would appreciate input and ideas! Feedback is awesome!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Commerce City's new skate park (which is down the street from my house) was on the news this week....finally positive press!

See if you can tell who the local celebrity is being intervied

CC Video

Research Proposal

Yesterday I presented my research proposal...hopefully I won't have to change anything!
my question is: "what happens when English Language Learners are taught to blog?"
my sub questions ask:
  • Will writing achievement be affected?
  • will students see them selves as part of the classroom community?
  • Will students be more reflective about the content?
All of my students are ELL who are facing "double the work." According to Short and Fitzimmons (2007), the country is attempting to find solutions to trying to teach content, literacy and language to students at the same time. High-Stakes testing has created an environment where language learners must perform on tests in their second language. They must learn to read and write as adolescents in their second language at a time when they should be using reading and writing as a learning tool. On top of that, they must learn the content provided by the state and district standards.

My plan is to teach them to blog. I will slowly implement blogging as a reflective tool in my social studies classroom. My hope is that by the end of my research they will not only respond to teacher questions but, summarize, reflect, and internalize the course content. I also hope that they visit the blogs of other students to comment and connect.

Blogs and technology are an important tool and resource for our students to learn. Due to technological advances jobs and expectations of employees are rapidly changing. According to former Secretary of Education Richard Riley, I am preparing my students for jobs that do not exist yet.

Okay, small "trailer" of my research. I'm hoping to being to quantify what we all know: technology makes a difference in the engagement and achievement of our students. After watching Darren and other educators successfuly integrate blogs I am excited to capture this process in my research. I believe that blogging creates an atmosphere of collaboration where, as Darren puts it, students become the experts!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

LOCATION, location, location....

finding the time to blog is like finding the time to run...I've noticed myself slipping into a mild blogging routine. From watching my reader, it seems that a lot of people are finding it hard to get their ideas out....

I've wanted to, but I've put it off knowing that I would have to actually reflect and think and set goals....then the procrastination set in knowing I would have a lot to write could take a while to get it all out!

Last week I had my students write mission statements...I told them that I was working on mine and that its important to know what you believe, who you want to become and how you will get there. I told them I was still working on mine but I know its something like this:

I believe that ACHS students are as capable as any high school student in Colorado. To live out this belief I will give them opportunities to share what they know, give them access to a rigorous curriculum and will give them access to technology.

They all began to write and wrote something about passing a class or graduating....I stopped them and told them that I believed that they all could go to college. (Of course there are legal and political debates about MY students going to college...but whatever.)

They looked at me like they had never heard that before....its sad...they haven't been "groomed" for college like students who attend more prominent or affluent high schools. Maybe its a little late! They're Juniors and Seniors. Its devastating to me that location can make such a big difference is someone's future. had these students been born or raised in another area they would be expected to go to college, not expected to enter a trade. I understand that not everyone is made to go to college some people are very well equipped to enter a trade....but why is this mostly determined by your zip code? My students are smart, hell they process their entire day in two languages...I barely get by in one!

The point is that no one expected them to go to college....some of them were never really expected to graduate from high school. I think that is what made the most difference for me (coming from this zip code): my parents made it very clear from elementary school that 1. I could do anything I wanted and 2. I was going to college.....

Its painful to look at them and see their potential, their hope, and yet understand where they'll end up....I am tired of ordering food from former students...

Maybe Hillary Clinton is takes a Village....
if for every year of a child's life someone told them they were special and that they could go to college....what kind of difference would that make, despite zip code?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Final Exams Global Learner Style!!

I decided today to practice what I preach! Instead of a final exam my students will present a social/political movement through a multi-media platform. I banned powerpoint for this experience and am having them use a web 2.0 tool!
they have the choice of:
I had about 100% engagement (even students who are poor attenders and then don't do much any way couldn't help but get involved.)

I was impressed by the way they began exploring and manipulating their media. At the beginning of the year I couldn't get them to be creative, they just wanted to copy and get it over with. I feel that now, they are expressing themselves and competing to "the best."
I gave them their assignment on Thursday, Friday I showed them the media. They began working and exploring (and no laptops were stolen!)

It was a great teaching day! they were learning, having fun and expressing themselves.
It was really fun to watch them work. I can't wait until they present their presentation. I think I'll skype it with my webcam. Hopefully, Joe and/or Dave can be available to watch and comment.

Fun times @ E105!