My name is Adam Waxler. I am currently teaching 8th grade social studies and also work as an adjunct educatiion professor.

I have been blogging now for a couple of years. I have a simple classroom blog that I use to keep parents informed about homework, important dates etc.

I also have a blog I use for professional development where i post weekly tips.

I am hoping to find some great ideas on this site to help me with my blogs and for ideas to use in the classroom.

Looks like a great site.


P.S. Hope I posted this i nthe right place :-)

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Hi Adam! You are going to just explode with bloggable ideas if you look around in CR2.0 a bit. Post a question? It's got a response in minutes, if not MOMENTS! This site has changed the way so many teachers have begun to "do business" an it seems as if you're open to these types of experiences already!

Good luck! My best advice? Look through the forum posts, read and comment (comments gets you friends and connections. The best social networks have people offering an equal amount of give and take with advice and feedback.

Most new folks start out by writing as you did in "Introduction", but never mind. We will find you and welcome you here.

I am curious. You use the term "blog" in the same way that I refer to my "website". Is there a distinction between a blog and a website. Both are esentially one-way transmissions.

My website is a stash spot for resources created for use in the Ki12 classroom. I'm sure you will find some things that will make your life easier on http://www.educationalsynthesis.org ... My Own Books is popular, and lets you create individualized books for students to learn about other times and places. It started out as history stories, I added the Alphabet stories, then let myself fo into any format that seemed to suit the individualization. They are basically short stories that can be printed and bound as a book.

Also popular in elementary and secondary classes are the Famous Americans. These are webpages for people we typically have students study in history. A few of them are still alive, but most are folks who are known from history. The webpages on Famous Americans features a simple summary of the person and why they are "remembered", with a list (long or short) of links to more information on the person. Some of those links, as for Pocahontas, lead to other media I've used to tell the story of that Famous American.

You may want to check out the Printables. Thse are resources that can be printed on (typically) a color printer and used in the classroom. There are math manipulatives, science manipulatives, reading materials, coloring pages, and more under that heading.
oops...thought I was posting under "Introduction" :-(

Anne, my blogs are not just one-way transmissions. Parents, students, teachers, or anyone can post comments in respone to my blog posts...although most do not...they'd rather just send me an email.

Also, with my blog I can can have people (parents, students, teachers) sign up/subscribe for automatic notifications. This way every time I make a new post they are automatically notified. Since it is a blog I can use feedburner.com and they can subscribe via email or through their favorite newsreader (i.e. MyYahoo).

Also, a blog is much easier to update on a regular basis...I don't have to go to my cPanel and upload files...I just write and click "publish"

I've also just started playing around with video as well. There is a wordpress plugin for revver which allows you to easily post videos to your blog.

Here are the two blogs I am refering to so you can see for yourself:

My Classroom Blog: http://www.MrWaxlersClass.com

My Professional Development Blog: http://www.Teaching-Tips-Machine.com/blog

I like what you've done with your blogs! I think they're great "teaching by demonstrating" where a lot of people can make the connection on their own that you're leading by example. Most don't need a long, drawn out explanation of what you're doing. :-) You weren't looking for a critique, were you, but rather ideas for blogging?

Keep looking around the network. You're doing great and will continue to grow and learn with the rest of us!

Incidentally, are you familiar with Twitter? There are an amazing number of Edu Bloggers there who post links to their blogs. It's TERRIFIC food for thought. My Twitter ID is GingerTPLC; feel free to begin following the people I follow, to get your jump-started into that world. You can "unfollow" whomever you'd like once you get your feet wet!

I checked out the two links you provided. Your weekly blog is interesting, but I guess I've been making web pages so long that I really don't see any advantages to a blog. I use dreamweaver to create and update a page, which remains on my computer until I have changed it and need to upload, at which time I use a free ftp program to zip the new file up, replacing the old file. Check out http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/mrsp/socstud/gov/ to see the last website I created for a class I was teaching. Look at the dates at the bottom of the pages to see when I started the site and when I last updated it. I am not using it myself, but as I do the stats on my website, I notice that there are some teachers using the website step by step. A website can be more dressed up than a blog, if you are into graphics and such. In the event I was still teaching government, the site would be updated each semester (it was a semester block course), and would probably have grown larger by now. As you can see, link to email me is at the bottom of most if not all pages except the word docs. It would be easy, if I had had the resources available at the time, to have included video, audio, and other multi-media.

I alsos took a look at your professional development video. I would like to offer you some suggestions for improvement. First of all, the screen for the finished video on the page I accessed it was too small to read anything at all on the website you accessed. You said the address, but it is not visible anywhere for a teacher to write down. Further, I am on dialup (live in the boonies), and the video did not do right. It took a long time to download, and played while it did, leaving significiant gaps in the audio. When it finished and I clicked to replay it, I discovered that whatever method you used to make it didn't do as it should. It did NOT play through smoothly, but again, downloaded and brought it in in little hard-to-understand chunks.

I am a bit amused by the subject. Perhaps because I've been a teacher a long time, but it seemed to me that back in the cave-man days of teacher preparation, teachers were taught that providing an introduction to a reading, by "tapping the students' prior knowledge and experiences" was essential. I'm not sure where there would be teachers who needed to know that was "proved by research". What you did not do was explain how the small video clips accomplish this task. You seemed to grab at any old video that was available, rather than deliberately choose one that was a true introduction to the reading you were assigning. You may want to explain how the method works, either including or before such video clips were available, which is undoubtedly when they did the "research" on the method. Not every teacher (and in fact perhaps many/most of the teachers) who need to reach children with comprehension problems may not have access to streaming video in their classrooms. Also be sensitive towards thos teachers who work in schools where the answer for anything different will be NO, followed by seeing pockets pulled out, no matter what you have said and even yourself proved, about the advantages.

Your video did not suggest that there are other places on the Internet where you can find short videos to use to introduce reading selections. It came off as a commercial for the one site you illustrated.

But, I do not want you to feel discouraged. It was a great example of what will happen in education in the next couple of decades.

In my opinion (for whatever it may be worth), I think you could do a better job of convincing teachers to use video clips to introduce difficult readings by showing a full lesson that includes a well-chosen video clip. The teacher can then assess whether she/he has the technology to do the same, or what adaptations need to be made for her available resources. It might be well, in such a video, to show unrehearsed kids responsiding to the video and the lesson.

Oh, and a suggestion on your lessons. I am doing a lot of reading (one of the perks of retirement) on the intersection of the white and the Native cultures in colonial times and during the emerging republic. One of the questions you could include in your study of the Revolutionary War is to discuss not only the point of view of the Americans and the British, but also the perspective of the Native inhabitants of the land being fought over. Alan Taylor write excellent books on the subject, and if you go on Amazon and show interest in his books, they will recommend some of the others. Or, you could just ask me what titles I've been reading! .


Thanks for your feedback...

Just to let you know there are many, many teachers who do NOT "tap into students prior knowledge" before reading about a topic. There are many, many teachers who have never even heard of that concept...just think, there are new people entering the profession everyday...it is not something you are born knowing. Also, many teachers who do understand the concept are looking for new ways to do just that. Most teachers I know use video clips at the end of lessons in an "if you're good we'll get to it" sort of way rather than at the beginning of lessons to tap into and build upon their knowledge base.

I also work as an adjunct education professor and can assure you that this concept is completely new to many teachers.

Also, the video was not intended to be the "end-all" in how to improve reading comprehension, but rather a teaching TIP on how to use an awesome tool that many, many teachers have access to, but do not utilize to their full advantage.

As for the size of the video...there is a button that makes it full screen.

Here's another video I created: http://teaching-tips-machine.com/blog/?p=78

The idea again is to show how to use a cool piece of software to make playing Bingo review games easier with your students. Obviously, not everyone will be able to purchase or even download the software for all sorts of different reasons, but that doesn't mean it is not valuable to those that can.

Please feel free to tell me how "amusing" you think it is...



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