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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Wikis and Blogs at Westwood This Week



I love teaching! It is one of the great joys and delights of my life. Here is what has happened this week in our world of Wikis and blogging:

Wikis
  • My ninth graders used wikis to review for their test on Microsoft Excel.
  • Ninth graders continue to update their study hall. (Homework for the week.)
  • Some of my kids continue to enjoy working on their riddles project.
    I love the optical illusions and the jokes are hilarious. These three boys have scoured the Internet and found some great riddles and mind benders. You may want to use some with your students.
Blogs

This week I spent setting up my students on blogs at classroom blogmeister. Here are some things of note:
  • I posted a Class Blogmeister how to article here at cool cat teacher if you want to get started.
  • I mentioned to my students that basic HTML tags work and some of them have been using the IMG tag to add photographs to their posts.
  • My ninth grade is doing a joint project between my class and the English department. They are reading a "motivational" book that they have selected and had to post a synopsis on their blog. (If you take time to read, I hope you'll comment to encourage them.) Here are some great ones:
  • My computer science classes had to post their response to a question about cell phone spoofing on my blog.
    I am quite concerned about the services that are offering cell phone spoofing combined with voice changing. I believe this is going to be the next myspace scandal and have urged all of my students to have a "codeword" they can share with their parents to confirm the identity of the person they are talking to.
  • My eighth grade is beginning to keep their journals online. It is the next step in typing to move from typing from text to typing "off the top of your head." We use our textbook, but we also use journaling. I am moving these online with a question of the day. The first question was "What do you think the most enjoyable thing is to do on the Internet or computers?" They had interesting answers:
  • Also notice, that I taught my eighth graders the HTML to make hyperlinks. I always have introduced this during the eighth grade year. In Computer Science we actually write HTML in notepad, but prior to then, I teach basic tags. This is useful for many online things but builds a comfort level with programming!
I am not leaving wikis for blogs. I just think they are good at different things. It took me a bit of time to set up and integrate the blogs into the class. I always teach my objectives and these are things I teach on top of what I already do.

I am most excited because my eighth grade keyboarding class has reached 59 gwam. I had a student break 101 gwam. He is a big football player with big old hands! I've told the whole class that he has just broken the stereotype that guys with big hands can't type. It has become cool for the athletes to type quickly and they eagerly listen to my coaching. That is great because I've only had this class since January 4th! They are a great class!

Have a great weekend and enjoy teaching next week! Teaching brings youth and joy and excitement to my days. I've spent more time grading this week than I like but that's the nature of it.

My students and I are starting a new online newspaper next week using a collaborative blog model to feed our school web page. I'll let you know how it goes! I'd love to hear your questions and answer them! Give me an e-mail!

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