Post #1The author wrote about an experience with students attending a STEM function (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The goal of the STEM "stations" is to have an interactive way for students to learn about these topics using a hands-on, fun approach. The blog post describe one station in detail (the station he worked). Students were given paint sticks and washers and basic instructions on the building goal. Students were encouraged to use their own wits and imagination. The author was amazed at how long the students would stay just to try and figure out the best way to accomplish the build.
I told the author I had the privilege of participating in a STEM function through volunteering with our company and the excitement of the kids was contagious! They were so curious and ready to explore so they could learn. I said it was a great program to show kids that learning about science and technology can be fun!
Post #2Becky G is in in IOWA, Waukee Middle School, teaching Leadership Development and communications to 6th graders. Her latest blog post was a reply to a chain letter answering personal questions about herself. Although entertaining, it wasn't helpful in learning anything about teaching or technology. I read a few of her prior posts and enjoy one about helping the class create a rubric for 3 identified behavior issues and a method of assessment. I visited her classroom blog to discover she just finished a module on effective discussions.
I told her it was a nice change of pace to learn about the blogger personally and related to her that I have only one dog (only to rescue from a bad situation), because she was not a "dog person".
I commented to her Leadership Development and Communications class for 6th graders, that I didn't recall ever having a class like that offered to me as a student, and my 7th grade son had never seen a leadership/communications class either, but how necessary these skills are not only in everyday life, but in the working world as well. I said I find myself teaching basic skills of communication and conflict resolution to that, unless they have some college background, have never been formally introduced to these skills.
The New NCLB: No Curler left behind
by Karl Fisch
This was an interesting and timely post. Karl provided some information about the USA's Olympic athletes performance and how they compared to other countries, not by medal count alone, as the press generally reports, but as the number of medals per 10 million people (USA ranked 22nd) and medals per $100 billion in GDP (USA ranked 23rd). The blog took a sarcastic tone about how our Olympic athletes should be measured by the standards we use for our students, hence the creation of the No Curler Left Behind government program which would provide states incentives to produce better quality Olympic athletes. Of course his proposals sounded ridiculous. It was meant to be satirical and certainly got his point across about how our society and government's solutions have not produced the results they were intended to produce.
I told him I appreciated the sarcastic tone of his post and liked the reference to the creation of the No Curler Left Behind government program which would provide states incentives to produce better quality Olympic athletes. I told him of course, his proposals sound ridiculous as they were meant to be satirical and he certainly got his point across.
I asked him how DO we change this educational system to one that is more learning centered and less "assessment" driven?
Post #4The author, Brian Crosby, posted about how important it is to not only use blogs in the classroom, but to use the consistently! He compared a blog to a piece of exercise equipment: no real results if it isn't used consistently. He also shared the fact that so much more learning happens when students are allowed to blog, like reading, writing, critical thinking, publishing media, and learning how to have discussions.
I responded by telling him his blog about blogs was inspiring to me since I have been out of the classroom for nearly 16 years and that to be an effective teacher, I would have to use a variety of technologies. Blogs do seem time consuming, but as he pointed out, checking blog posts is no different than collecting papers to grade!