Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach

Monday, October 23, 2006

Extra Extra, read all about it!

As I was studying last night for a quiz, my mind began to stray off to think about units I would like to teach next semester when I am student teaching full-time. My cooperating teacher said that he always welcomes enthusiastic student teachers who like to think of creative lessons, so I went ahead and e-mailed him with what I had in mind.

I was a yearbook editor in high school for a nationally renown yearbook staff, so I figured, hey, why not pursue this interest in the classroom? I thought it would be neat to modify what I learned in high school journalism to my fifth grade class and develop a mini staff to create a fifth grade paper.

Because of the variety of learning styles, I thought it would be interesting to assign students different tasks, based on their strengths and interests. For instance, I could have some students take pictures, others write sports stories, others do special features, cartoons, etc. I want to create an editing table, so whenever there is free time, students are working on editing the work of their peers by providing positive feedback.

Because this is a SOL year in the state of Virginia, it is imperative that this incorporates SOL's...editing is the primary skill I want students to develop throughout this unit, because by the time they begin, they will already have a solid understanding of what makes a good paper.

I am still in the process of conceptualizing this unit; I think the best thing for me to do is to begin to outline tasks for each student and assign students to these tasks based on ability. For instance, high ability students can be given the role of editors, since they may finish their work more quickly. Students who have difficulty with writing may work with a co-author, or have the opportunity to take pictures or express themselves using an alternative means.

I will have students type all their work, and I will copy/paste all their items into a newspaper template in Publisher. I think this will be a great thing to send home toparents and to have as an artifact when I apply for jobs.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Webquest about Blogging? http://anne.teachesme.com/2006/09/19/webquest-on-blogging/

In my educ 401 class, we are currently working on webquests, and I happened to stumble upon a great webquest about blogging...This webquest is designed for students to understand the essential elements of blogging and how to maximize its potential.

I agree that technology should not be taught in isolation, but in this instance, this webquest is a great tool for providing background information about blogging, which will become a springboard for future application to core subjects. For students who have never been exposed to blogs, this is a fun way to introduce them to the topic. In the elementary grades, modeling of work is essential, and what better way to show students your expectations for them by providing a webquest?

I was really pleased that the webquest included steps for safe blogging. How imperative it is in this generation to teach proper internet etiquette. It would be a shame to completely isolate children from the vast amount of information on the internet; instead, we should empower them by providing them with the tools to protect themselves. I was also interested to read about the think-pair-share. This tactic has been used in multiple education classes, and I am always interested to see real-life application of concepts taught in class.

Also, I might add, that I think this webquest would be great to show to parents! Parents can be reluctant sometimes to have their children exposed to the web, but it will provide them with a better knowledge and understanding of the uses of blogging in education.