Most of my learning comes from extending my school day into conversations on twitter, and I enjoy when we just start tweeting a topic. Last week, we were tweeting how to build stronger comments on a blog, and I tweeted about how I taught this skill in my class and a blog entry was born. Thanks Mary Lee, Karen, Franki and Gretchen for the conversations.
Having students leave comments on our class blog or on our favorite website Wonderopolis is a skill that I needed to teach my class. I have to admit at the beginning I didn't even consider that I needed to teach this skill until I was reading their comments and honestly they were very weak. They were short and not reflective. I wasn't even sure if the students were reading their own comment let alone pulling new information from the WONDER article.
I have had the most success with using students' work as models, so we started looking at past comments on Wonderopolis and discussing which comments were strong and most important WHY?
From that point, we started a class chart about what makes a STRONG comment. This chart really helped the students begin to focus their comments as well as evaluate their friend's comment. I was very excited to see that they are connecting the WONDER to our word study as well as our word wall. Many students commented that the links from the WONDER created questions for them, so they thought they could post those questions back to the website. The student who suggested taking the new knowledge and transferring it to another area was very excited about learning about idioms and then using them in her writing. How cool is that!!!
Finally after creating our new chart this week, I typed it up and gave it to everyone to refer back to as their own personal anchor chart at home. Tonight's HW was to go home, choose any WONDER and leave a thoughtful comment. I can't wait to read their comments and see how they applied the new anchor chart.
As we dive into this new and exciting medium of teaching it can be difficult to remember what we know best about teaching, scaffolding and explicit teaching. Digital teaching is no exception to good teaching. We must remember to support our students along the way. We can't assume they know how to use these new tools well. I am taking it much slower with VoiceThread this year too, for the same reasons.ReplyDelete