Looking for Student Input Use Wallwisher

Over the past year I have incorporated more student advice in the development of course work. One of the ways that I have done this is to ask for ideas and thoughts from students. I have used forums, blogs and wiki’s to attain information from students in the past about upcoming topics and assignments. Lately, I have found a simple and effective way to get student comments that students seem to enjoy called “Wallwisher”. Wallwisher is a simple virtual post it board where students can easily leave their idea or thought on a bulletin board for others to see and read. It is simple fast and my students seem to really enjoy this web tool. I have used this to get help from students in creating assignments and creating grading rubrics. The level and quality of students response has been very interesting. The rubrics and assignments that they help to create are often more complex and involved than the ones I had created previously. “Wallwisher” is a great tool to get this type of information from students quickly and is fun for them in the process.

Check it out at http://www.wallwisher.com/

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Blogging an Essential Part of a Successful Learning Environment

Over the past year I have begun to use blogging in my classroom as a way for students to communicate with each other and me.  I have found that it can be an engaging and useful tool for students.  I often use blogging to have students answer sample test questions  to prepare for their upcoming state standardized tests.  I have found that students seem to put forth more effort into their writing in this type of medium.  Students also seem to really enjoy looking at other student work and commenting.  So I have begun to put out grading rubrics to the students and have them grade each others work.  This has led to some heated discussions about different topics that have been incredible learning environments for these students.  This has also helped them prepare for their testing by making them well aware of the grading criteria on our state standardized tests.

The key to blogging in the classroom seems to be timely responses to their posts.  As long as students feel that someone is reading their posts they see a real world connection and this really seems to motivate them to keep writing.  Blogging as become a big part of my classroom learning environment and one that I will continue to use in my classes.  Here are some great resources for more information on blogging in the classroom.  They will provide you with ideas and how to write  and comment on blogs.   Blog Basics; Blogging Support

If you are looking to try blogging in your classroom here are some great places to setup a class blog.

  1. KidBlog.org http://kidblog.org/home.php: This site is designed for elementary and middle school students.  It allows the students to create unique blogs with no email addresses.
  2. Class Press http://www.classpress.com/: This site does require a reasonable yearly fee.  They however do monitor the writing and will send you emails with questionable content. This site also also allows kids to create their own unique blog.
  3. ClassBlogmeister: http://www.classblogmeister.com/
  4. Edublog: http://edublogs.org/
  5. 21Classes: http://www.21classes.com/ This site does require a monthly fee but provides lots of storage and tools for your students.
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