I'm working on a presentation I'm giving at the eMINTS Winter Conference about Web 2.0 Tools. My focus is not what they are, but how to use them to encourage higher order thinking skills, engagement, reflection, and questioning. I finally finished up the agenda today, so now I've started working on putting the plan together. In the process, I decided to update my classroom wiki and found the plugins on pbwiki. Very cool!
I finally feel comfortable about my presentation, but have a long way to go to be ready. I still need to update my website, but I'm thinking about just using my blog on 21 Classes instead. More people can access it that way and I can save some time, too.
Unfortunately, my students have just not been doing well (by my standards) with their blogs. More than once this week I've refused approval because they are being careless and lack detail. Makes me feel like a real schmuck to go present at a conference about how blogs are a great tool when my kids are not doing what I need them to. I try to think what's causing the problem but just can't put my finger on it. I hate to say they're being lazy, but that's all I can come up with. I've tried giving prompts, blocking approval and giving more prompts, giving an example, having others comment, and even used pictures within the blog. Maybe next week will be better. I certainly hope so.

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Tags: 2.0, blog, conference, presentation, web

Comment by Peter Lane on January 18, 2009 at 10:31pm
Klista, please know you are not alone when it comes to having students under perform to minimum standards. While I acknowledge I am a perfectionist, I too struggle with getting my middle-school students to comment on blog posts, send e-mails, etc. using basic English. I also fight with them to read for understanding, review directions when needed, and to think for themselves. As a schoo staff we have come to the conclusion that the students have been conditioned to be spoon fed everything... I am pretty sure their previous teachers felt the same way so I am not sure where the problem first began... Regardless, I have to work with what I have and, interestingly, the students seem to notice their lack of effort when it is published form.

What helped me let go of the "control" issue was reading Robert Barker's post Getting Back In The Water. I really like the part about recognizing that learning can be messy. I shared this with my students and it seemed to have a positive effect for all involved. I noticed that it immediately helped me understand that their work product should not be the same as mine... I am to work, over and over, with them to guide them to a point where their work becomes the best it can be,

While I am not sure how I will handle students publishing a student blog for the school, I know it needs to be a reflection of them and not me. As long as it is a reflection of them I will be able to have an open dialogue with them on improving the quality of their work. I am leaning toward creating a Quality Control team (made up of students who have submitted consistently high-quality work) that will review and approve others work. In this way it is not me saying no, but rather, their peers. There will be those that rise to the challenge... and those who will not. Either way, the work published will be theirs and not mine...
Comment by Klista Lawyer-Reynolds on January 19, 2009 at 10:37am
Thanks, very helpful! I love the idea about the Quality Control Team. I think that's something that I could use in my classroom. It sounds like you and I are very similar with our ideas and attitudes in the classroom.

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