Monday, September 24, 2007

Writer's Workshop

The first several weeks of school are so exciting for me because I get to explore and experiment with a brand new group of students. I observe and listen to every detail and try to use their stories they think I didn't hear when setting up a mini-lesson of some kind.

These kids have taken off with their writing and it seems that I too have become much more comfortable as a "writing teacher." I am still using journals and they are using the infamous no. 2 pencils, but I truly believe that we will have some superb writing this year. A big thank you to those fourth grade teachers, a job nicely done.

At any rate, while setting up my writer's workshop I have been following much of what Lucy Calkin's has to say and enjoying every moment of it. At this point, the students are picking their own topics that interest them and I think that because of this I am getting some authentic stories. During their writing I am in search of what my next mini-lesson will be on and trying desperately to help the "writers" and not fix their "writing piece."

This is all a wonderful journey and I do hope that at some point this year, I will be able to setup a blog for each student to transfer this great learning experience to a global audience.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Going Global with Alan November

I just listened to Alan November's podcast about "Going Global." He mentions that he has had the opportunity to travel to various countries and has witnessed the sense of urgency that teachers have that many American educators may be missing. I believe that during this podcast he was speaking with a principal who asked what he can do to build capacity and instill this sense of urgency that is desperately needed. Alan's response:

1. Skype ~ download skype and begin having conversations with people/educators from other countries.

2. Podcasting Workshops ~ send two students from every class to a podcast workshop with the teacher

3. Blogging~ personal, professional, and get students blogging.

I have heard Alan speak at our school last year, and I have since read The World is Flat and my teaching practice has changed. I am hungry to learn more and eager to let the students "own" the learning. I am still fumbling with trying to make this work in my class but I am taking baby steps and making progress.

I believe American educators are beginning to get it... the more blogs I read the more I am exposed to some incredibly innovative teachers that are blazing the path for the rest of the world. The message is clear: we as American educators have our work cut out for us to be able to empower students to compete in a global community. I am up for the challenge, are you?