A Ray of Hope For Educators

Well, I am back from a great vacation and feel rested and recharged.  Over the past few days as I began to catching up on my reading and correspondence it did not take long for my frustration with ed-reform and other educational issues to once again frustrate me. Then I found a ray of hope.  Matt Damons speech over the past weekend on saving our schools and his defense of teachers really made me feel better as an educator. If you have not seen these videos I have embedded them below for you to watch. I highly recommend you watch them.

Matt Damon‘s Defense of Teachers

Matt Damon’s speech at the Save Our Schools March in DC

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

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.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]