Friday, December 21, 2007


It is the final day before Christmas break and then end of the first calendar year of being a Global Learner. It has been three months since I began to integrate technology into my classroom. It has been six months since I began my training.The idea and way I instruct and see instruction has changed so much its hard to see where I started.

its overwhelming to try to calculate all of the changes and new experiences my students and I have.

I'm exhausted and can't quite wrap my brain around the changes in my management and use of technology. Hopefully in the next two weeks I can begin to put into words how much has changed and come up with a plan for the future!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Words as Collaboration tools

I'm reading a book called Choice Words by Peter H. Johnston for my MAE mentoring group. The book is about using what we say to student to get them to see themselves as learners. The whole book has brought me full circle to back to collaboration and the Web 2.0 tools that I use in my classroom.

The chapter I just finished, "An Evolutionary, Democratic Learning Community," really brought this concept home and can lend itself well to my research on blogging. The main topic of this chapter is: "children grow into the intellectual life around them," which is primarily social (65).

Teaching students how to react and use other students in the class is one of the greatest gift we can give them. They can use this knowledge outside of our class to create their own learning communities. Students need to understand that learning happens when we are working together toward a common goal and seeing commonalities and differences in opinion.


If we can teach our students to use Web 2.0 tools to collaborate and build learning communities, we are teaching them to learn forever.

This collaboration and learning community should not stop at our students, this is how we foster our own growth as learners. The Global Learner project (knowing or unknowingly?) has fostered this collaboration and is harnessing the power of Web 2.0 to create a teacher's learning community.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


interesting conversation with a student today. I'm teaching them how to take notes out of a text book. So we did the backwards book walk. While taking my notes I abbreviate words. For example people becomes ppl. My teachers always stopped to make sure we understood abbreviations when I was in school and so I did the same.

Cecilia answered: "duh Miss"
So I responded: "Oh good, you understand abbreviations."
(Thinking: some fabulous teacher has already taught this)
Cecilia: "we do that when we text"


at least I know they have the ability to take short hand in college!

teaching like I learn

The concept has occurred to me before: I should teach students to read by reading and sharing my thoughts with them. This concept is not new and is often the greatest teaching tool we can use.

For example, if my teacher asks me to read the chapter and then answer the questions at the back of the chapter, what will I do?
I will read the questions and then go on a search and destroy mission for the rest of the information! How can I expect my students to do any differently? Especially my ELLs. They can barely read the text, and so they intuitively find key words and copy sentences from the text to answer the question. Did they learn anything? NO!

I teach my NHS students how to code and take notes from their text to prepare them for college, hoping they won't have an experience like me.

Today, it dawned on me that my language students need the same kind of support. They need it more. In order for them to process and understand the text, they must find a way to access it. Copying sentences won't do that!

Today I'm going to try a sort of book walk that I learned from my ELA Coach Barbara Remund. The students and I will go through the section we will be reading and, using three columns copy the headings, the subheading in the second column, and finally the bold vocabulary and graphics in the third column. We will leave room for notes and such.

Then, we will read the text together and note our thoughts or summaries under the appropriate heading. I think that some of the students will get this right away, but it will take some a few attempts.

This is a skill they can take to other classes to create meaning from their text. I hope that they will find it engaging and challenging, but will be successful in the end!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

student resistance to change.

It looks like I'm averaging one post a week. That may be more manageable than once a day. I guess I'm losing the excitement that the beginning of the year and am becoming bogged down with all that comes in the middle of the year--progress grades, student behavior intervention, student academic intervention, final papers for grad school, NHS projects, meetings, and scoring the Eagle Basketball team.

This post I want to think about students' resistance to using technology. They come into class early to get onto YouTube to watch some anime, but ask them to sign up for a mindmeister account or post on the blog and they suddenly become very digitally illiterate..."which button do I push?"..."what do I do now?".....You would think that they left their brains in their lockers. They have signed up for myspace and youtube and countless other programs....but they can't remember their password for their school email or get through the process of setting up a blog.

How much am I expected to scaffold this?

Its still early in the semester and they are very used to teacher centered classrooms. I've had them request lectures (not that they actually sit through them). They are more afraid of technology than my hall-neighbor who is retiring next year. I think part of it is that they don't want to look dumb and they don't want to work or think to hard.....and using technology requires some brain activity...unlike copying passages out of a text book (which they excel at).

I'll provide more opportunities for practice and to just "play" with the technology so its not so scary.....