Monday, February 2, 2009

When the Cat's Away, Web 2.0 Saves the Day

I am attending the eTech Ohio Educational Technology Conference on February 2-4. As anyone who has ever been a classroom teacher can attest, one of the biggest problems of being out for professional development is school still goes on. The teacher must write plans for the substitute teacher, explaining the daily routine in detail, and plan lessons so that the sub can understand them (lucky for me that I have a great sub. Thanks Mr. Fraley), and in such a way that learning will still take place.

This is a tremendous challenge for all teachers, to the extent that many just choose not to be out of the class. However, many of the best ideas I use in my class every day originated at the eTech conference. In fact, I wrote a post previously, discussing many of the contributions the conference has made to my school and my classroom. Consequently, I find myself traveling to the 2009 conference.

So when the cat's away, the mice will play. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for the mice er students, in Reading Workshop, everything they are doing while I am gone can be tracked. Thanks to the Internet, and using Web 2.0 in the classroom, all of their work is "out there."

Students took a Study Island Benchmark Test today. Great job to Lily, Bree, Austin, Makayla, Christian W., Desire', Heather, Rachael, Ryan, Jessika, and Kayla. As I sat at home and looked at your test results, I can tell that you worked hard. In fact, GREAT JOB! If you are one of the students I just named, you will be successful. You obviously do not need a teacher breathing down your neck to make you work. You are succeeding for all of the right reasons.

Students had the option of commenting on the blog when they finished with their benchmark test. Some students had insightful comments that were worth reading and thinking about. Thanks to Heather, Desire', Christian W., Bree, and Sam. However, there were a few comments that students would never have attempted to post, if I had been there. That tells me that these students need to raise their standards, for their own sake, instead of just doing a good job when the teacher is watching.

Tomorrow students are writing a letter about their SSR book. This is an assignment that they have done a few times in the past. They know how to do it. The key will be, how much effort they are willing to put forth to do a good job. If they save their work on LEWriting, our Google Writer website, I can easily check their progress.

Students are also logging on their online journal on wikispaces each day. In just a few seconds, I can check and see how much they read, their response to what they read, and if they are comprehending their SSR book. Plus, if someone (like Rachael) decides to make the extra effort and log on at home, I will be able to check this, and know a student deserves credit for putting forth the work to be successful.

Thankfully, I can spend three days learning, and still know everything that takes place in the classroom. A connected classrooom leaves no doubt in my mind what students accomplish each day while I am gone. When they cat's away .... some mice keep working hard--WOW, do they deserve a good job.

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Anonymous said...

When the cats away do the mice work hard or do they goof off and play?