Breaking Down the Walls

It is a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I am sitting on my front porch.  I have a beautiful view of one of the best parks in my town and it is bustling with children playing, tennis players grunting, and people walking the track.   I am feeling pretty darn happy and well, lucky…  First of all, I completed my Masters Degree in Educational Technology this summer so I have a lot more time on my hands to enjoy afternoons like this:))  Second, I am quickly approaching a school year that I will be spending a good portion of my day doing what I LOVE… working with students on projects and integrating technology into all subject areas.  Last but not least, I was fortunate enough to present some sessions at our district’s professional development technology day.

I co-presented a session with one of my amazing friends – who in my opinion (and many others) is a complete stitch!  Not only is she caring and compassionate towards her students, she is one of the hardest working teachers I know,  one who is always willing to take risks and try new things, she is also extremely entertaining!  I had a GREAT time preparing our presentation together and an even better time presenting with her.  Please follow her on Twitter @JenPierson1.  Our presentation was about creating a “Global Classroom”.  We talked about Author Skype, Mystery Skype, Blogging, Twitter, and something new we are both trying this year, The Global Read Aloud.   Click on the links to find out more about these programs to help you create a global classroom.  Here is a link to our presentation with a bunch of info, links to resources, and some funny teacher ecards from :)) I will talk about these topics in more detail as the year goes on!

The next two sessions I talked about student blogging.  I have a strong passion for student blogging in the classroom.  I started blogging with my students in January of 2014.  Right away I could see the amazing changes in my students as writers.  They were more motivated, engaged, and actually tried to produce better writing!  I attribute all of those positive changes to the fact that they were writing for an authentic audience.   Now, students aren’t just writing for a grade, me, or their parents.  They are writing for their peers and if you do enough “PR” for your student’s blogs, the whole world!  Each year I set new goals to add more to my student’s blogging experience.  This year, I am going to connect with other classes through  This is a service that connects you with three other classes from around the world and you each take turns commenting on each other’s posts.  I am really excited to start this and will keep you posted!!  This will definitely show my students there actually IS an audience out in the real world who wants to read their writing.  I really am excited!!!!  Other ways I have ensured an authentic audience would “find” my student blogs is through Twitter.  If you use #comments4kids and include a link to your blog, there is a good possibility, but no guarantee that your students will receive comments. I have used this hashtag on numerous occasions and finally had a connection at the beginning of the school year.  A group of college students were assigned by their professor to make comments on my student’s blogs.  The smiles and excitement my students felt was priceless!  I have also found authors on Twitter, Facebook, and through email and invited them to read book review posts my students have written.  I had two students last year whose author actually shared their iMovie book trailer on their own website!  Now that truly motivated the rest of the class to write more and more!!  I highly recommend you try blogging with your students.  Here is a link to my presentation with loads of ideas for blogging in all subject areas and a ton of resources.  Also, check out my iTunes U course called “Blogging in the Classroom” for a step by step guide to get you started blogging in your own classroom.  There are permission slips, rubrics, and links to all of the resources I have used to get me started!!

I always felt a little guilty, asking my students to blog and share with the world their ideas when I wasn’t doing the same.  It feels great knowing I can model and share my experiences with my students this year and I hope to motivate them more than ever through my example.

Now that is Positively Techie…