Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Responsive Writing - Student Blogs


This website is wonderful. You can set up an account for a teacher blog and then allow each of your students to set up their own blog, which only the teacher may view. Very, very handy.

Students write responses to guest speakers, events in the news, a class topic etc.
Writing prompts

The teacher is able to leave comments that are private for each student or public for the entire class. The teacher can offer suggestions on how to improve writing, ask for revisions in a new post from the student, and use all the writing as EVIDENCE for student learning.

I would probably use this on a rotating schedule with a weekly theme or question. 5-6 students per day write for 10 minutes in their blog, so that all students will have a blog entry by the end of the week. Or once per week in the computer lab or laptops in the room. Whatever works best.

This also eliminates the need for students to be responsible for another journal.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Forward March

"I want to raise the bar for my students, so while their looking up at the bar, they notice the stars up there for them to reach." Mrs. O'Nan

I had some rough days with my kids this week. I had to get tough with three in particular. I need them to trust me, so I have to follow through and be consistent. They pushed the envelope, so I signed, sealed, and delivered their consequences. In the long run, I KNOW that I did the right thing, just hard in the moment.

My days were filled with some self-doubt and worry. I find myself constantly reviewing what I've done and questioning myself. I may be taking self-reflection a bit too far. So, I'm backing up a bit now and trying to recenter myself.

I am proud of how much I am making use of the little amount of time I am given. I finally found a way to have seven kids read to me, listen to the story, take a pre-test, and squeeze in Lexia over the course of 2 thirty minute periods. GEEZ!

I started tutoring J this week. His home life is AWFUL. I managed to have him reveal way more to me than he probably realized. I know we will make progress. I understand kids like J, and I work very well with them. Sometimes I question why I would want to knowing that he will be one of those kids headed to J.D. But I always want to fight for these kids who are so HARD HEADED and so beat down by poverty and parental drug abuse and neglect. They need some kind of window to let the light in. Even if its just to get their GED. At least if they ever hit a bottom from their self-destruction as young adults, they will have a platform to stand on. That's me: Platform Builder.

I probably come off as negative - but my heart sure doesn't feel negative. When I stop and think of all those kids in Alateen who had EVERY card stacked against them: genetics being the Ace of Addiction: I think of myself as a realist who better get in there and make a meaningful impact on their future lives before its too late. The ability to read and write AND know that someone cared enough about you to make sure you could do it, and do it well, could be a kid's deal breaker.