Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Science Court

I started a Science Court dvd today. It really seemed to interest the students. In the past I have had a tough time getting the students to work in the groups of four required to do the assignment, but I spent extra time today preparing the students for what they needed to do. I think it worked out much better because they really seemed to work well together to get the information.

I really am trying to keep in my mind the capabilities of my students. I always expect them to be able to do things they just don't show me they can do. I spent a lot of time giving the students instructions about how they needed to read their worksheet carefully and then share the information they have with the rest of their group.

If they really "get it" they will be able to do it again tomorrow without being prompted.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cornell Note Taking

We did two days of Cornell note taking in class. I found that is seemed to help the students find the information in our science books. The system is easy to use and implement and works well when the information is given systematically. I am hoping that I can incorporate this into my class's toolbox.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Reflections on My Students' Blogs

My students have been blogging for a few weeks now. They are not quite where I would want them to be at this time. Too many of them are making simple convention mistakes. I remind them to capitalize and use end marks, but they don't even capitalize their own names. I guess I should continue to emphasize the need to use good conventions.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This is Gratifying

What's Good for the Goose!

While studying Robert Marzano's book Classroom Instruction that Works, I came across a chapter on encouragement.

After thinking about things I do (or more likely don't do) to encourage my students, I stumbled upon an idea. When I found I was a finalist for an Edubloger Award I was extremely excited. I decided to try to give my students that same feeling.

I created the Blogging Tiger award to encourage my students to work hard on their blog posts.

I didn't know how this idea was going over until today. When I told my students that they would be writing a story they were happy. I am fortunate they like to write and share their own stories. When I told them the winner would win a Blogging Tiger Award I was surprised, they really seemed excited. I hope that they really work hard and make me work hard to decide who should win.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Why My Class Blogs

My students have been told that creating content for the web allows people from all over the world to view and critique their work. Although my students have not really internalized the fact that their work will be viewed by people, this photo explains their need for a better understanding.

This poster is hanging in our hallway at school. Notice the problem with conventions? The student did not feel the need to check her work to make sure that it was correct. Why? I suspect it is because they feel no one will notice or care.

I think my students need to know that people do see their work and they do care about the quality. Putting their work on the net should make them more careful about what they do.

I bet the student that created this poster is going to wish she had made sure it was correct!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Slow and Low (that is the tempo)- Beastie Boys

I am not good at long term projects. I have a lot of problems maintaining my momentum and interest. (I think I am ADD!) I want to create podcasts with my students. I want my students to blog regularly. I want my students to create audio/video content that can show their talents. I want the time to do it.

Instead I need to focus on what my students need. They need a purpose for learning other than because I said so. They need to think and they need to produce content that shows what they think. They need to work with their hands, minds, and hearts. They need me to focus on them.