Taking Baby Steps

My principal and assistant principal have been amazing in supporting me in trying to gain access for our students to some of the great web 2.0 tools that we are currently not allowed to use. I met with them yesterday to talk about our strategy. I’ve made my opinions known and shared some ideas, but they advised me to get more specific and start small. So here is the plan that I sent out this morning:

Technology Integration Proposal:

Goal: Allow students the opportunity to share, collaborate, and build relationships with a class in another area of the country

Tools: Edublogs and Skype

  • Edublogs is a free, safe, well-known blogging service created specifically for educators. The teacher will create a private account that students will post from so that no student accounts are created.
  • Skype is a free service that allows video conferencing.

Safety: Teacher will create and closely monitor the private blog used by the students. This blog will be password protected and not available for anyone to view without a password. Parents will be required to sign a release to allow their child to participate in the blog and Skype activities.

Concept: One 2nd grade and one 3rd grade class will be selected to pilot this program. I will work closely with these teachers to train them on these tools, set them up with a partner class in another area of the country, and lay out activity plans. Each class will blog at least once a week to share what they are learning in class, personal interests, and regional information on news and weather. Once a month, a Skype session will take place between the classes where they will have a discussion on a predetermined topic. This will allow students to interact with other students/cultures and share their accomplishments with peers. This will also provide teachers with the chance to collaborate with colleagues from another area of the country.

I’m hoping to get moving with this idea pretty soon. If you know of a 2nd or 3rd grade teacher who would be interested in connecting with these classes, please let me know! I think this will be a wonderful opportunity for all involved.

On a completely different note, I went to the library yesterday 🙂

I have SO been out of the middle school literature loop for a few years now, and I need to get my edge back. My goal is to read 20 YA books before the end of 2010. It’s a pretty ambitious goal considering grad school is sucking the life out of me (in a totally good way), but I’m going to try my best. If you have any books that you know 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are LOVING right now, please share those titles with me!