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What's Happening?

After reading Jeff Utecht's blog yesterday titled "We're gettin there" before leaving school, I knew I had to write the new going's on here at Carol Morgan. I'm not sure what is going on here in terms of tech. integration, but I have a really good feeling about the way things are going, especially in the last week. I have been working with teachers both in the elementary school and the middle school the last few weeks helping them develop projects. It has been great for me to get back with some of my old middle school colleagues after being in the elementary school and to catch up with them and see what they are doing this year. Here is a snapshot of what is going on.

  • Lissa Swiryn our 6th grade Language arts teacher who routinely uses literature circles in her class decided to give blogging a try. You can view her blog HERE. I set up her blog account with her, gave her a crash course on posting and showed her how kids can make comments and...BAM. She is off and running now. Here is a little blurb about how she gave the kids an option on what mode they could keep track of thoughts while reading

    • "Students are involved in literature circles and come together as a group each class to discuss literary concepts and answer questions. They read independently the night before each meeting. As they read, the students write down questions, connections, or emotions about the book. They have a choice to record these notes in the form of sticky notes in the book, in a written journal, or in a journal response on the blog."
I really appreciated Lissa's willingness to try blogging for the first time, but even more, I appreciated the fact that she did not force this new method in her class on her kids, instead she allowed the the choice to try it out voluntarily (See "Power to the Students"). She know tells me almost 100% of her kids are using the blog. Of course when pressed why they are using it more than paper pencil methods, most answer,"I don't know...It's just cool." Hell, if writing in response to a novel is cool in 6th grade, I'm a happy tech. facilitator.

  • Kathryn Wagner our ESL Specialist in the Middle School has just finished her first podcast with her students and is, I believe, a first here at Carol Morgan. You might say, Ok, podcast big deal, but if you know what a technophobe Kathryn WAS you might get how cool this one really is. Obviously as a first try the podcast is a little rough, but it is well thought out and the writing and composing and speaking (what I feel to be the real value of podcasts) have been worked on and revised over the span of a few weeks. Here is a little blurb from her SharksCast blog (the Shark is our mascot by the way).

    • "My Literacy Skills class is now working on the writing section of the year. One way that we are doing this is by writing for a podcast that we have created pertaining to CMS middle school news and a bit of the outside world. The name, structure, and segments of the podcast were all student generated. Each child is responsible for researching, drafting, editing, and finalizing their writing for their specific segment. After much listening and critiquing other podcasts, we have finally completed our first one. Because this is our first it’s very, very rough, but the kids are pretty proud of their work. To make this even more meaningful, I’m asking those of you who have speakers to share the podcast with your homebase today. Please inform the students that because the first time process was longer than we expected, much of the information is out of date. We plan on doing this every two cycles and we’d love to have the other 6th graders be a part of our process as we continue to get better, smoother, and more creative. I’ve attached a link to our blog which has the podcast link. Also, please encourage your students to log on at home and leave us a comment. Within no time, my students will be posting their own comments on the blog as well."
I am really proud of both these middle school teachers for taking the risk to try out new things in class, to push themselves, and to learn some new skills which hopefully will be incorporated regularly into their classes now. However, i think the bigger issue here is that there is a new spark going on here that is starting to catch fire. Of course we have a long way to go until the majority of our staff uses Web 2.0 daily in their classroom delivery, but I am really excited at this start we have going.

  • Mark Picketts, our HS tech facilitator is working with his students on presentation skills. Taking a nod from Chris Craft's blogs about presentations (Read, 'Don't read to me...") He along with our Seniors are working on perfecting their presentations for their Senior Extended Essay (Read S.E.E. on Mark's Blog). As a content advisor for one of these students I look forward to seeing and hearing the final products that the students have poured so much effort into.
I guess that's it for now, I have some good new stuff to update on Kim Cofino's wiki-Tech in the Middle. Before signing off, I would like to give a shout out to David Warlich's and Viki Davis' blogs today as they both have posts dealing with the devastation in Alabama and Georgia from the recent tornadoes. Take a look at David's picture he posted, it is worth way more than 1000 words.

1 comment:

Kim Cofino said...

Lots of great things going on at CMS!

I saw your edits to Tech in the Middle - thank you so much for sharing and participating!