Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Blogging Rules!

My students love to blog. They love connecting and commenting on blogs of students from around the world. When they are blogging a pin could drop in the room and you'd hear it.  3B was blogging so quietly that I thought it of the poem Twas the Night Before Christmas (and the quiet mouses etc) by Clement Clarke Moore and I decided to adapt his poem for our situation even though it isn't Christmas time. Way to go 3B bloggers.

Twas the Morning before Blogging-adapted from Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore:
Twas the the morning in 3B, when all through the classroom
Not a student was making a sound, not even a mouse.
The netbooks were going tap, tap on the desks,
In hopes that I (Ms. Bettess) would love their blogs like she always does.

The children were nestled all snug in their desks,
While visions of stories danced in their heads.
And me in my scarf,

Had just said thank you for your great blogs.

When out in the hallway there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the door I flew like a flash,
Tore open the door and threw up  my hands.

The sunlight from the hallway
Gave the lustre of the shiny students outside
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature group of kids, eight tiny fourth graders wanting to blog with 3B

With a little teacher, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be the grade 4s.
More rapid than eagles their teacher they came,
And the teacher whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Bob! now, Jon! now, Patty and Victoria!
On, Colet! On, Carla! on,on Donny and Blair!
To the hallway, to the gym!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

Adapted from Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

Friday, 1 March 2013

Twitter Love and Teaching Digital Citizenship

Today  I was defending my love of  Twitter and using it in the classroom. I was talking about how I recently started using Twitter personally and in the classroom.The background story is as follows:  I created a class account to use with  my class. We have connected with three other classes that we Tweet with on a daily basis (3:15 is Tweet Time in 3B). The three classes share; what they are learning, anything interesting that happened, and ask each other questions. On our end, all of Tweets are composed by my students but, I type and send them through the social media manger site hootsuite (which allows for us to Tweet without having to have Twitter unblocked). We ask questions to students in other countries to help us with our research projects. This gives my students answers about what kids their age like to do for fun and what they think about their country. It brings the learning down to their level. We wouldn't be able to do this easily or as quickly as we can with Twitter. I understand that there are predators online but, I am very careful with the Tweets we send  and I monitor all Tweets sent to us. Of course, my showing them how to use these technologies can lead to them using them at home and not being safe but, it is my job as an 21st Century educator to show them how to be responsible digital citizens. I'd rather that they learn from me instead of doing it at home (considering some of them have already have various social media accounts) that aren't being monitored. Of course, some parents may not like this if they start doing it at home but, I have the curriculum outcomes to prove that it needs to be taught. As teachers in the digital learning world we need to expose them to all of these different types of media and make them become responsible digital citizens at an early age before they are exposed without the knowledge and understanding behind being digital citizens.

On another note, today we connected with Sean Quigley (singer of the empowering "Our Generation") on Skype (who I connected with through Twitter). My students asked him some great questions about making change and how we can help out with our make change social action project for our local homeless shelter. He answered all of our questions and gave us some great advice. You would never know he was only 17. It is nice to see a young person with such a drive to make change and make a difference in the world.

We will continue to use social media in our room as it is an amazing way to learn in this digital world.