Thursday, March 31, 2005

Blogger in school

We are talking about using blogs in the classroom in Educ 604 here at UMass Amherst. A thought: have a class blog and give extra credit for every post over 50 words. I think I want to use Task Stream and the internet in general in my class as much as possible, even down in Springfield. I know I expect too much of the kids right now...I really don't know what they can handle, but I am really just generating ideas now. Maybe I could use the computer lab once a week for my classes to be writing, researching, etc.

Bob Maloy just said that studies show that on the writing MCAS, student who write in class do better and kids who use powerpoint, internet surfing, or games in class do worse. Makes sense. Powerpoint, internet, and games are not high learning activities and every moment is important to use in a classroom.

Erica said something interesting today. She said that she usually doesn't try to lecture late in the week because students can't listen. It made me worried about how teachers ever can get in enough learning. Miss Stone was also talking about not being able to fit in enough material and how Springfield students cannot comprehend as much knowledge as other students in other places. Kathy also was telling me that the students usually fail the MCAS because a lot of them can't read. A lot of think about.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Kids need to take on their own problems and claim their responsibility for themselves. I learn about this conference tool from Four Rivers Charter School. Instead of parent-teacher conferences, the parents meet with the teacher and their child. The child does the presentation on how they are doing and why they got certain bad grades and what needs to happen to improve their grades. It puts the responsibility on the child and it teaches them self-reflection, which is crucial to every aspect of life. Growing means growing in understand of one's self too. I would like to try this concept in my classroom next year.

One idea I have is to have students fill out a conversation form every Friday. On this would be fun questions I want to know, questions to get them thinking baout themselves, and questions about what they are going to do to succeed (or something like that). It would be fun and then my job would be to give them back the next Tuesday with written comments. My second grade teacher did something similar to this, but without the idea of students taking ownership for their success. As much as possible I want to integrate the idea defining success and setting them on the right path in thinking about their futures.