Tag Archive | blogs

Tech Task #7

What makes a good blog?

After searching through a few teacher’s blogs (both elementary and high school), I have formed my own opinion of what makes a “good” blog.  There are many components that make up a good blog, the first being that the blog is visually pleasing.  By visually pleasing I am referring to the blog having some colour to it (so not just black and white) and possibly some pictures and videos.  I found that with blogs with these factors, I was more willing to explore the blog and read the posts.

This is an example of a colourful blog full of photos (Shaelynn Sevyk’s blog).

The second component is the blog provided resources for both the students and the parents.  Providing resources for the students I think is extremely important, especially of the students themselves, because if students are having trouble in the class or just want to look up more information, they can do so easily from the blog and have accurate information since the teacher chose it.  As for the parents, the resources for them are on how to help their child with homework.  This is important because if a student asks his/her parent(s) for help with homework, the parent(s) will be able to provide the proper assistance for their child.

This is a screen shot of Ms. Cassidy’s Classroom displaying resources for parents.

The third component that makes a “good” blog is that it provides examples of students work.  First of all. This shows what students have done so parents know what their children are doing in class.  Secondly, the students can feel proud that their work is being posted online and that everyone can see it.  Lastly, this could be useful for other teachers to get ideas for what they could do in their class with their students.

This is an example of student’s work being displayed on Ms. Cassidy’s blog. If you go to the blog (see link below) you can see each individual student’s work under their own blogs with she has linked to her own blog.

Another component is to have a reminder’s and a schedule.  This I think would be great for both parents, students, and teachers.  For parents, they can see if their child has any homework due or coming up and what their children are learning.  For students, this could be a great way for them to remember what projects are coming up, what is due, and any other reminders they might need to know.  This is always good because then students don’t have an excuse that they didn’t know the homework was due.  For teachers, this is a simple and easy way to remind students about homework and any upcoming school events.  This is also a nice way for the teacher to stay organized and prepare for lessons.

Once again from Ms. Senyk’s blog, here is an example of a schedule (left) and reminders (right tab)

Lastly, using tags and categories to classify the blogs and posts are another component of a good blog.  If students, parents, or teachers want to look back at any blogs/posts but can’t remember the title or which section their found it under, they can just search any relevant tags or categories that it could be under (or even if they just want to search under a general category or tag then they can just search it and see what comes up).

This is an example of tags (words above the categories) and categories from Mrs. Rose’s blog.

(This may seem like quite a bit but one point I’ll mention and that you need to keep in mind is that no blog had all of these, this is just a compilation of what I found on the blogs that I liked)

As for things that I didn’t like about blogs, there were only two that I could think of.  The first was that some of the blogs did not make any posts, or blogs, and only had pictures and videos of students work.  Maybe I’m just hung up on the concept that I think a blog should have actual blogs or writing in it, and what I found was that there was maybe a sentence or two explaining the video or picture and that was it.  This might be great for the lower elementary grades but I guess what I was looking for was a bit more written explanation as to what and why they did an activity or something along those lines.  The second aspect of some blogs that I didn’t like was they they had pictures that were too big and either cut into words so I couldn’t read them or they were blurry.  It made the blog seem very unorganized and uncared for.  I know this was probably not their fault but this is how I was left feeling.

Here are a few of the blogs that I looked at that display what I’ve discussed:

Miller’s English 10 Classroom Blog  (High school)

Marvelous Math with Mrs. Rose  (High school)

Ms. Cassidy’s Classroom Blog  (Elementary school)

Shaelynn Senyk’s Classroom Blog  (Elementary school)

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Importance of UbD Lesson Plans

Lately I have been creating quite a few understanding by design lesson plans and this has made me think back to an experience a year ago I had that helped me realize the importance of using these types of lesson plans.  Before this experience, I had used a different type of lesson plan which did not focus on the assessment  and skills before designing the actual lesson (Here is a copy of the template used).

In this experience, I was working on a lesson in my business class and, to be honest, I was so proud of my work and thought I was going to do awesome on it  (this was the second lesson plan I had ever made and was a HUGE improvement from my first).  However, when I got my lesson plan back, the grade I received wasn’t much higher than my first and one comment that stuck out to me was about the activity that I had planned for the students.  As great as the activity that I thought I had done, it did not properly assess the students knowledge according to the outcome I was trying to achieve, which I had asked the students to create a fictitious environment and explain it’s structure.  However, the outcome stated to “use examples in our world.”  If you’re curious, this was outcome 3 in the Economics curriculum.  So a part of this lower grade was due to my lack of actually properly assessing what my students were supposed to know.

I had never known their was a different style of creating a lesson plan until the next semester when one of my other professors introduced me to the understanding by design lesson plan.  It took me a while to adjust to the new template and took a lot more work than the other template, but in time, I became used to the template and now I would never go back to the old template.  I have also felt comfortable enough to make a few adaptations to the lesson plan, which included adding mathematical strategies and concept categories since I hope to become a math teacher and changing the position of the adaptations (Here is a copy of my adapted version of a UbD lesson plan).

Since that one lesson plan, I have been conscientious about how I assess my students and glad that I was introduced this almost immediately after that.  I highly recommend teachers use this type of lesson plan and here is a link to reasons why you should!

Also, if you want to know how to create a UbD lesson plan, here’s a link!

Importance of Reflection

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately about how students are sick of doing reflections. Sure, I will admit, we do a lot of reflections in each of our classes but I think that reflections are really important, especially in education. Reflections can increase your learning from the experience, whether they were good or bad. If you were reflecting on a reading or a class, this could increase your learning because most times, you have to go over the information that you are reflecting on and so you are refreshing it in your mind.  This is the most effective when reflecting within 24 hours of the experience.  Like studies have shown, if you go over the material that you have just learned within that time range, you are more likely to remember the knowledge.  Also, reflections can help you to realise what was good, what wasn’t so good, and allow some time to think about alternatives to enhance your experience the next time it occurs (also it can enhance everyone else’s too!).  Also, sometimes writing down your thoughts helps to clear your head and allows you to look at the situation/experience in a different perspective.  For most people this works, especially for people like me.  I am someone who takes a long time to organize my thoughts and figure out my feelings on material that I’ve just learned or a situation that I’ve just experienced.  I find that things usually don’t seem as bad as I first make them out to be and it allows me to calm down if need be.  Also, I usually only see things from my perspective at first until I’ve either reflected on it or have spoke with someone who then suggests an alternative.  So I suppose for others, it might just seem like a big waste of time but I know for me it is a huge help!

I found a website that has a slide show about doing reflections.  Not all of it is really necessary to read to understand reflections but slides 9 – 14 list some tips for writing effective and practical reflections if anyone is interested.

http://www.slideshare.net/kheru2006/reflection-tips

 

Thanks for reading my blog! 🙂