A Little Context
I have been working with the KAS students in Taiwan for the past two years. TW Williamson, a language arts teacher at the school, has been teaching blogging to his Freshman Language Arts class. He graciously shared his blogging unit lesson with me. Here is a website and review of our first two years of projects.
I’m in year two of blogging with my students at Bio-Med Science Academy, and I'm working with the same group of students this year, now Sophomores. As Freshman, I had just introduced a bit of blogging with these students, completing three blog posts.
This year, I decided to practice along with my students and have started my own blog. My first post on PBL training can be found here.
Let's Start Commenting!
Being part of George Couros Innovator's Mindset online community #IMMOOC George discussed the importance of commenting on each other's blogs. I was so excited to see my first comments! This spurred me to try commenting with my students.
Here is how I structured my class. Based on an assignment designed by TW Williamson
AGH! I was worried! KAS schools use their blogs extensively, I did not want a comment that corrected grammar or commented negatively or worse yet, commented negatively with horrible spelling and grammar errors showing up on their blogs! Fortunately, we discovered as we went back to “edit our comments” that Mr. Williamson is a pro, his students had their blogs set up to “moderate all comments” so KAS students review comments before allowing to appear on their blogs.
The Apology Email
My email to my KAS co-teacher TW went as follows.
So reviewing some student blog comments, I experienced many emotions, mostly embarrassment and horror. We had a few that are way out of line and the grammar and spelling! You will be receiving a few apology emails from my students.
I reviewed a few more and we have some great comments, but please let your class know. I could have set up my students more and had several in "peer edit" mode vs blog comment mode. The final teachable moment, when students tried to go back and edit or remove a comment they found errors in, they realized they did not have editing rights. Hope this helps with the "think before you post" movement.
Project Based Learning
Key takeaways that I want to start implementing immediately in my classroom
How can I frame my lessons so that students can understand how the skills they are developing will help them beyond their academic career? By reflecting on this idea, I am redesigning my curriculum to share with students our "big idea" project of year vs. waiting until after instruction to "launch" the project.
Sigh, yes rubrics. Typically the bane of any project I create. My opinion of rubrics transformed from a simple checklist to a powerful learning tool that will help students develop their need to know charts and help challenge students to move beyond standard expectations.
While many of these tools were not new to me, what was new was how they were being used, and that provided many "ah ha" moments. I appreciated experiencing the training as "student" living the process as it helped me gain a much deeper understanding of how we learn and how to teach more effectively using projects.