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May 30, 2007

How Do We Move Students To The Highest Level?

Currently in my school we are working on Curriculum Mapping. (I actually can't believe that I am mentioning this...now it must be ingrained in my head?) Anyway, we discussed in class how it would be impossible to keep students at the higher levels for every assignment in a class. Now I am thinking that if curriculum mapping were to work as it should, then students could always be working at the highest level in at least one class. I think that would be kind of cool if the mapping were constructed so well that when a science and math class were working at a level one or two, then English could be at a level four or five. This might be too idealistic, but in a perfect world I think it could work.
In an imperfect world, I think we try to intentionally add some of the higher levels to each class and then see what happens. I am sure that there are opportunities for higher level activities in most classes already, they might just need a bit of tweeking/rewording.

Most Valuable During Week #1 of Tech Tools

I enjoyed reading the article on the various Levels of Teaching. It is always interesting to me to see how other people view the world of technology education. In this article, technology is not the main focus, but it can be easily transferred in. I see technology as having different roles in the classroom. Up until this point I was viewing the role of technology as Replacement, Amplification and Transformation. I also see technology as Mindtools. Now I believe there is another level in which we can "rank" technology. I don't think we should just be using one "level", one "mindtool" or one "RAT category". I think in order to get the most out of our money and the most student learning out of our students we need to use a variety of tools and use them effectively and efficiently.

Role of Blogging in a K-12 Classroom

I've done a little bit of research regarding blogging in a K-12 Classroom. Currently our district is using this in a pilot program as our AUP is somewhat limited as far as posting student work online.
* My research is not very scientific, but what I've found is that when students are asked to blog they actually do their homework. One teacher told a class they were going to start a blog the next day and by 9pm there were at least 9 entries on the next days assignment. My experience says that most students do not work on homework over 24 hours ahead of schedule.
* In addition to this, I've found readings that indicate how much students are online in the first place. Allowing them a new avenue for doing homework that is "up their alley" means they will do homework at all times of the day (and night). Blog postings by students are not just during normal "homework hours".
* English teachers want their students to write and blogging allows students a new avenue for writing. Those who have assigned a blogging assignment have found students are willing to write more often, and for a larger audience.
* Often teachers find students will participate more when they have time to think about what they are saying, rather than speaking during a larger class discussion.
I think blogging is a good idea because it gets students to write and write in a different setting. The more practice they have at communicating by writing, the better for them!