I finally got around to setting up a class blog this summer, and I have it running pretty efficiently right now.
Check it out: nrenglish.wordpress.com
On the first day of school, I showed kids the blog and asked them to take a Google docs survey that I created and embedded into wordpress–yes, it sounds complicated, but it was much easier than trying to embed a prezi into wordpress
By 4:30 on Wednesday, 30 kids had hopped online to take the survey. Awesome!!! From their answers, I was able to pull some immediate realizations: they wanted to choose their own seats, they were pretty honest in answering their questions, and many of them said they wanted to sit in the front so they could “actually learn something.” That last realization was pretty fantastic to me because I realized I have to stop using “buffer” kids seated between talkative kids to quiet them down; that technique isn’t fair to the “buffer” kids because he or she may truly want to sit closer and get away from those talkers.
Kids admitted that they are obnoxious at times; they told me about their families; they even told me outright about their likes and dislikes in English class. I should add here that a number of them asked to choose their own books to read–another awesome!!!
The blog is great, and the feedback I got from the kids today was great. I asked them if I had posted this on a school site like our online grade book, would they have used it? They flat out told me no. They said they can’t even remember their access information to the grade book. Interesting….school-sponsored site = kids won’t access it; teacher-developed site = they do the homework. Pedagogically, this school year is looking up.
Oh….I’ve also mastered the Mimio, which is another fantastic tool. The kids are amazed by the fact that I can write on the white board, save it to the desktop on my computer, open it again, and switch through various browsers and documents without being connected to my desktop or having to walk near my desktop.