Friday, November 5, 2010

November Blogger's Cafe Update

November Blogger's Cafe Update

I wanted to give everyone a little update on how the Blogger's Cafe was going.

The Good

Well, it is still going very well. I still have students that are excited about blogging and want it to be their turn every day. I have even let some students grab an extra laptop and blog because they have done such a good job in class. If it is a student's turn, but they are out sick, all arms are raised to replace them on the stage. It is just so exciting to see kids pumped to take notes and share them with the rest of the class.

The Bad

My laptops provided by the school stink. Some of them literally take over ten minutes to load up at times. They are slow moving and their battery life is next to nothing since they are 5 years old or older. Some kids have lost work when the computer just shuts off for no reason. I know this happens to many of us from time to time, but in a 48 minute class, these things can be brutal. I need to keep searching for grant money and begging the school board for cash to give me the tools necessary to really engage my students fully in the digital learning world. I know, there are schools and teachers that do not have a single computer and I should not complain. I'm lucky to have what I have, but it is not wrong to want to provide more for my students. If you know of someone who is handing out grants, please direct them my way. I've got some great ideas to share with them.

The Blah

I had a parent express a concern that their child, who struggles with typing and dyslexia, should be possibly excused from blogging because they could be embarrassed by their typing mistakes when seen by peers. I would never want to place a student in a position where they could be embarrassed, but asking a student to take notes twice a month is not a crazy expectation as far as I'm concerned. Less writing will not make the student a better writer. All blog posts can be typed in MS Word first and edited later. I understand the want to protect kids from embarrassment, but it is also important to have kids work on things that are tough so they can improve. As the semester has progressed, I've seen improvement in student writing on the blogs. Nothing huge, but little things that show they are adjusting and learning. As a teacher, that is huge. I guess that should go in the Good section. Oh well. ;-)

Summary

Things are going very well. I like what I'm seeing from the kids and would love to expand the number of bloggers. An ultimate goal would be to have all of the students take notes and share them online in one space. A parent donated a couple of comfy chairs for the Blogfer's Cafe space and the students like them very much. I've commissioned three school artists to crest some paitning to hang on the walls. I'm excited about their ideas and I hope to have those by second semester.

That's it for now, stay tuned for another update in December.

-@TheNerdyTeacher