Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Like any website, searching through the Partnership for 21st Century Skills can seem like a daunting task.  There is an abundance of information that you could spend days looking through.  I enjoyed searching through this site and feel it is very user friendly.

I suggest you look through the site on your own but there are some  pages I would like to direct your attention too. The first is the P21 Framework Definitions. Sometimes it is difficult to understand everything that the 21st Century Skills include.  This page gives a breakdown of each skill and are especially helpful.  I did not realize everything the these skills encompass. Another great aspect is the video archive.  This page gives snapshots of different skills and how they can be implemented into the classroom.  While there are many pages I would like to direct you, the last has the largest implication for me. The 21st Century Maps are amazing.  Each gives specific examples of lessons using 21st century skills.  I wish I had more time in the day to sit and read each lesson!

Overall, this is a great site that you just have to search for yourself.  I cannot begin to relay all the information that it contains. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

How to begin blogging with students

In my search for a kid friendly blog site, I came across two links that give insight on how to introduce blogging to students.  In my opinion, jumping right into blogging is a disaster waiting to happen.  As I have previously stated, you need to start of slow.  One site I found is on paper blogging.  This is a great way to start students writing and adding comments.

Another website is She includes a 14-step plan for implementing blogging, parent letters, and vidoes. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Great blog site for younger students

Last week I posted my concern for the safety of blogs with fourth graders.  Today, I found a great website today targeted for teachers blogging with students.

This site allows me to create accounts for each of my students without creating individual email addresses.  By default, this blog site only allows the teacher and students to view the page. There are additional options for parents to gain access through a password and to invite other classes to view and comment.

Students each have their own blogs within the class. However, instead of pushing a "Publish" button, they have to click "Submit for Review."  I review their post and publish it.  You may be thinking that this strict access takes away from the blogging experience.  In some ways it does.  However, I feel this is a great beginning experience that is safe for my students. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Starting small...

Like any tool, I think using blogs has to be built upon. My main goal in the beginning is to have students pay close attention to grammar! Sometimes I feel like a broken record... "Capitalize the beginning of a sentence! If you capitalize your name, why wouldn't you capitalize your friend's name? You just wrote a paragraph and have no punctuation!" I believe it would be beneficial for students to see what and how their fellow classmates write.  Most of the time they know that I am the only one who is going to see their writing.  If they know their friends will see their responses, maybe they will spend more time with capitalization and punctuation.  And maybe, just maybe, some of them will try and write more than a couple of sentences!

After tackling grammar, I will start out having students respond to stories I read aloud or stories we read together.  Students can discuss their favorite characters, parts in the story, or even change the ending to a story.  Since I teach reading, language, math, science, and social studies, students could also create a hypothesis on experiments or become a character in history.  Eventually, I hope that we can work our way up to more critical thinking questions but I have to begin somewhere.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blogging with fourth graders?

I am really torn with whether or not I think it is appropriate to have fourth graders blog.  It makes me very nervous that they are only nine and ten year-olds and placing something on the Internet that is open to everyone. As a parent, I am not sure if I would be comfortable with my own children doing this.  I love the idea of using it in the classroom  but do you think it takes away from the blogging experience by restricting it to the classroom students only? 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My beginning journey into the blogging world...

Technology is everywhere. While I love learning new things, I do not seem to have a gift for picking up on technology quite as quickly as my son. He is six and if you give him an electronic device, he can show you how to work it within the hour. This is the generation we are now teaching. They are growing up in a world where technology is a way of life. Whether teachers like it or not, we have to embrace this new form of teaching.
I feel overwhelmed when I read about all the different resources available to use with students. However, I have taken the step to learn about wikis, podcasts, digital storytelling, etc. And yes, I am putting myself out for display in the blogging world, which intimidates me greatly.