Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Staying On My GAME

In working toward my Goal of designing and developing digital-age learning experiences, I continued exploring opportunities to enhance learning and promote critical thinking by seamlessly integrating technology into my daily instruction. This week I continued to focus on developing authentic problem solving experiences set in a real-world context in the content area of reading.

The first Action I took this week toward reaching my goal was locating resources for age appropriate student participation in blogging. Through exploring the Scholastic News Online website, I discovered several opportunities for students to blog on school related issues presented in our weekly news magazine subscription. This is the perfect opportunity to integrate communication tools into reading content. Within this site, students can also post blogs on top news stories. Additionally, Scholastic Online offered two important resources for implementing blogging in the classroom. The first resource I used with my third grade students was Blogging Rules. This reference sheet outlined rules for Internet Safety and rules to follow for Quality of Work when posting online. The second resource I used with my students was served as an extension of the Quality of Work rules. In the computer lab, my students located a blog at Scholastic Online, and then used a rubric to score the blog on quality of work. For my students, it was authentic application of using a rubric to score another student’s blog. This exercise also helps further the understanding that this experience might be reciprocal in that another student might be on the Internet scoring my students’ blogs as well. Again reinforcing the importance of responsibility when you post on the Internet, because the world is your audience. After scoring a blog, my students selected a story that caught their interest, and submitted their first blog! As they exited the computer lab, I overheard a few students saying how fun that was.

While Monitoring the progress of my game plan, I have identified additional support and resources that are either necessary and/or will enhance the effectiveness of my goals. Although I located an additional computer for my classroom last week, it is evident that the computer needs more TLC than I am able to offer. Another computer in my classroom frequently displays an error screen. I will be submitting a request for service for both computers to my district Tech Support.

I am also gathering resources and materials for a project based learning unit I am developing for this year. I am changing and existing biography research project to incorporate cooperative learning groups and a wiki for the final product. Students will work in partners during the research phase, and then groups of four to develop their wiki. I am currently trying to purchase another set of age appropriate biography books for partners to use as one source of information.

As stated previously, I don’t plan to wait until I have the latest technology resources before I put my GAME plan into action. When Evaluating my GAME plan although I know there will be set backs ahead, I feel excited and motivated about my progress this week. And yes, teachers always have a wish list. As part of my long-range goals, the following resources would increase the type of enriched learning experiences I can offer my students:

  • interactive white board
  • microphones
  • video cameras



  1. Donnel

    The blog activity you did recently sounds terrific. I especially like the element of students evaluating other blogs. As you suggested, this is good training in how to appropriately communicate--perhaps even globally. Even though my students are older, I will check out the sites you mentioned to see how I can adapt them for my classes. Thanks for sharing.

    Also, you are so right that we all have a "perfect classroom" list that will probably never happen. Waiting is not an option, and I admire you for finding ways to begin to work with what you have while still remaining strong on what you would like to have. Good luck on your upcoming research/wiki project.

  2. Wanda,

    As always, I appreciate your thoughts and words. If I was ever lucky enough to actually get a smartboard for my classroom, I afraid I'd be so excited I might not be able to compose myself. However, I'd sure like the challenge. One of the first things I plan to do when I complete this master's program is to pursue grants for a whiteboard and one-to-one laptops for my classroom. We have the knowledge, ideas, resources and motivation. All we need now is the equipment.


  3. Donnel,

    I am so excited that you shared the information on the scholastic site. I would love to try the activities that you did with my third grade students!I especially like how you let them explore a blog and assess it on quality. It is so important for students to see good quality work so that they know what to strive for themselves. Thanks for sharing!