Saturday, January 30, 2010

Is there a connection between Reading and Blogging?

Blogging helps 1st graders improve their literacy skills. I had to watch a video "We Like Our Blogging Buddies: The Write Stuff with Blogging Mentors for my technology 4 teachers.

I learned from this video. I was surprised at the abilities of the first grade students and how much their skills were improved by blogging. Pre-service teachers, from a local college, were paired with first grade students in a Canadian classroom. I was surprised to learn how much the first graders literacy had improved after a year of blogging and interacting with their blogging mentors. All of the students learned three major points from their blogging experience. They learned that every sentence must start with a capital letter and each sentence has to have punctionation. If nothing else, there has to be a period at the end of every sentence.

The video did not mention an area that I felt the students grew in and benefitted from by blogging. Writing skills were also improved. Students went from typing in their thoughts or sentences and then just posted their blog. Working with their blogging buddy taught them to proof read their work before they published their blogs. They learned to correct punctauation and spelling errors. The first grade students loved blogging with their blogging mentors so much that they wanted to do their best on everything they wrote and posted.

Pre-Service college students became, the first graders, motivators and it gave the first grade students an audience for their writings. This, in turn, motivated the first graders to put their best efforts into all of their blogging assignments. A safe place was created for constructive critism. The Pre-Service college students also grew and learned from being a mentor. Their skills at commenting on students blog sites were improved. Both sets of student were able to bond with each other in a manner that gave the first grader's someone to look up to and that cared about them. The Pre-Service college students got a first hand experence with how blogging can improve reading skills; and how important it is to have someone special care about and believe in you.

There were not computers anywhere in the school I attented, so this was not available for teachers to use. All of our feedback came from our teacher. I always had the type of teacher that, I felt, no matter how I tried I could never submitted a writing assignment that was good enough. Every writing assignment was covered with red ink when it was graded and returned to me. Usually this was not done in a positive manner. I think that blogging buddies is a great way to accomplish positive constructive critism.

I did have one concern that came to my mind when watching this video. I worried about the first graders or other students receiving negative feedback from their mentor. I would have to have the commentator on so that I could see every students comments before it showed up on the first grader's page. Words are powereful and can not be taken back. I would want to do my best to make sure my students are not getting negative or hurtful feed back. A child's self-estem and confidence are very fragile. It woud only take on wrong word or hurtful word to cause a child pain.

I am not sure if I want to incorporate this concept into my classroom. It seems like it is a very consumering project and I would feel bad if my students came in touch with someone dangerous. Even with all the progrees we have made to keep the internet safe, for our children, there are still dangers with blogging and internet usuage. I don't want to take the chance that my classroom blogging assignment might or could put one of my students in contact with some that could harm them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to link twitter to blog spot

I learned how to do this during lab hours with Wesley this morning. Thanks for asking how to do it because it helped me reinforce what I learned today.

When you login to your blog spot page there are links across the top of your page. Click on the customize link. You should get a page that says add and arrange page. On this page there is a link that says add a gadget. Click on the add a link gadget. On the left side of this page there are links on the left side. Find the link "featured "and click on it. Scroll through the choices until you find the one for twitter that has the blue bird on it. I believe it is the tenth icon and choice. Click on the plus sign and you should be taken back to the Add and Arrange page. This time you should see the twitter link where you had originally click on add a gadget. I then clicked on the twitter link and dragged it to a spot on the right side of my page. When you have done all of this the last step is to click save.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reading Clubs online

I just had the wonderful experience of attempting to post a constructive comment on a student's blog. I say attempting, because I am not sure that I have chosen the blog correctly and that it is the student's post and not the teacher's post I have commented on. I chose a reading club post.

This was hard for me to do. I know that words can be very powerful while at the same time they can be very harmful also. Keeping this in mind, it made me a little nervous because I didn't want to say anything that might hurt instead of helping.

When students become the teacher

I watched a video for a homework assignment that I would like to share because it made me stop and think about what we (as teachers and future teachers) can learn from our students. I watched Digital Generations Project Youth Portrait: Cameron.

This video reminded me, that teachers and adults in general, have a wonderful asset when it comes to surviving and learning the new technology of the world we live in. Our children are extremely adapt at understanding the technological world. Society tends to forget that our children usually have a better grasp of technology than we do. Cameron's video is a great example of just how adapt they have become and are becoming. It was mind boggling what he is able to do. I was just in awe of his skills. I could not believe all the things he is capable doing while I am still in the Technology for Dummies or Pre-Technology 101 levels. Cameron was able to help some of the teachers at his school have a better understanding of the technology available today that can be integrated into the classroom. I found this part very interesting also.

I loved how Cameron showed his teacher how she could use videos to demonstrate multiplication concepts. Students and teacher learning about and using technology together was appealing to me. I feel that it is important for our students to understand that yes , we are professional but that we are also human. Teachers make mistake just like everyone else and we do not know everything. There are still several things that we can still learn from our students.

I would have loved to have the technologies available today when I was going to school. I would have never wanted to go home. Sometimes I think it would be neat to be in grade school at this time in our history. When I was in grade school, the most advance piece of technology in our classroom was a very old overhead projector. There was not even on computer in the entire building. And no I am not extremely old either!

I will incorporate technology into my classroom on a daily basis. I love the idea of using technology for students homework and/or projects. I also noticed Cameron's body language during this video and liked what I saw. Cameron was very comfortable in front of the camera and the audience. He was confident and had a high level of self-esteem. This is an example of the type of environment I hope to create. Students love to help no matter what. When the situation is helping their teacher learn some new form of technology ,it is even better for them. Their eyes just light up and their self-confidence grows stronger. It is just so cool, to them, to know that they taught their teacher something for a change.

Friday, January 15, 2010

the beginning

I am an educator student and I would like to teach forth grade or fifth. I chose to go back to school, as an older adult, because of my love for children. I believe that our children are the most valuable possessions of the human race. The children of today become the adults of tomorrow and the cycle continues with each new generation. I feel that I can contribute best to our future by investing in our children. Helping a child reach their potential and believe in themselves helps make our future brighter.