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I can't leave without mentioning my very favourite student blog: Laura's Life. An avid reader, Laura set a goal in second grade to read all of the Newbery Award winning books and blog about them on her site by the time she reached middle school in fifth grade. Isn't that quite a lofty goal for a 7 or 8 year old? Believe it or not, Laura reached her goal. Every Newbery winner has been read and reviewed by Laura on her blog (beginning with 1922 Newbery winner, The Story of Mankind). Laura continues to read, read, read and I am sure that seeing her blog will inspire your learners, young and old!
Blogs... for professional learners
This week, I really enjoyed reading and reflecting on Dean Shareski's November 18th blog, How to Make Better Teachers. Shareski opens with a very powerful opinion statement:
"Want to instantly create better teachers? I know how. One word. Blogging."
Shareski gives a convincing and thoughtful post, and along with comments from bloggers in the field, I hope this post sparks up further global conversation about the power of blogging as a professional learning tool. As a staff developer myself (on leave), I agree wholeheartedly and have recognized the potential of blogs for some time (despite being a non-blogger at the time for which I am ashamed to admit). My colleagues and I tried to initiate a culture of blogging last year through the creation of an Edublog for grade 3 to 5 learners in our professional learning group (http://teachersrlearners2.edublogs.org/). As you will see, it was a bit of a bust. One comment was received. Where did we go wrong? I wonder if our own lack of blogging played a part in this! Ah, yeah! I wouldn't doubt that. How can you sell what you don't own for yourself? Along with that, I see a few added glitches. Edublogs, I mean 'Ad-You-blogs' was certainly not the best platform. The design... not so great. I also don't think the power is there unless teachers take ownership for themselves... and create their own! But they have to see the potential and want it for themselves first. Then we have to provide the resources (support, training and TIME) to make it happen, too! Finally, we have to ask ourselves critically what can we take off the teacher's plate at the same time. Why would they still need to do a written professional learning plan for starters?
Richardson also writes of additional benefits of weblogs for teachers which include:
- logging experiences
- unit plan details
- reflecting on what worked/didn't work
- sharing tips, tools, insights, ideas,how-tos
- exploration of issues in education
For further learning about Google Reader, a great website:Google Reader for Beginners
Finally, have a great week. Next week, I'll be making some final reflections on my learning this term and plan to create a little Do You Know Web 2.0? quiz. Should be a fun way to celebrate my learning!
In closing, I leave you with these wise words from What Ed Said.. equally fitting for me today!