Saturday, February 26, 2011

1000 tweets and counting (My Twitter Journey)

      Last week, I reached a milestone in my career as an educator. I did not win any award, raise any test scores, or publish any material. Instead I tweeted. In fact, I made my 1,000th tweet. It means that I have interacted, shared, collaborated, and learned over a 1,000 times with almost as many people. It is a kind of magical touchstone that made me reflect on all twitter has done for me. Twitter has changed my life. And although this humble post will try to shed some light on how this has occurred, I really don't think words can express my thanks to everybody I have encountered and added to my PLN via Twitter.


      It all started in June of 2009 with this measily seven word tweet


  
       For the next seven to eight months, I used Twitter sporadically. Usually this was to inform people with updates on my sock color or the torture I felt being a Giants fan. While there is nothing wrong with this use of Twitter, it wasn't something that I felt necessary to my daily existence (oh have times changed). Then in March of 2010 I had the opportunity to be on an accreditation team where David Lopez (@Mister_Lopez) informed me of a Personalized Learning Network. He showed me how Twitter allowed him to connect, share, and learn from other teachers throughout the country and world. I was hooked. And everyday since my love has grown stronger. Here are just some of the things I have learned from my PLN on Twitter. (Mind you I finished grad school in the spring and almost none of this was discussed)

a) given me confidence as an educator
b) tips, tricks, and ideas for lesson plans
c) the term Web 2.0
d) shown me how to use Web 2.0 tools for authentic learning and sharing
e) made me a tech geek
d) share student knowledge globally 
f) connections matter
e) people are amazing in their ability to help strangers
g) made me an avid blog reader
h) inspired me to share my ideas on my own blog (beardedteacher.blogspot.com)
i) grades are often not true indicators
j) inspired me to let go and give my students autonomy
k) taught me why external motivation and rewards stunt creativity
l) attend conferences without pay or prodding (rscon and others)
m) most convention wisdom about homework is incorrect
n) passionate people and teachers make a difference
o) social media can be used in the classroom
p) learn from my students
q) project-based learning
r) student guided assessment
s) real reform is necessary
t) teachers not government officials should be in charge of ed reform
u) more tests does not lead to better accountability and education
v) some amazing people are educating our youth
w) collaboration is key
x) competition and schooling often don't mix
y) cell phones in the classroom should not be automatically outlawed
z) learning can be and ought to be fun


1000 tweets and counting (My Twitter Journey)

      Last week, I reached a milestone in my career as an educator. I did not win any award, raise any test scores, or publish any material. Instead I tweeted. In fact, I made my 1,000th tweet. It means that I have interacted, shared, collaborated, and learned over a 1,000 times with almost as many people. It is a kind of magical touchstone that made me reflect on all twitter has done for me. Twitter has changed my life. And although this humble post will try to shed some light on how this has occurred, I really don't think words can express my thanks to everybody I have encountered and added to my PLN via Twitter.


      It all started in June of 2009 with this measily seven word tweet


  
       For the next seven to eight months, I used Twitter sporadically. Usually this was to inform people with updates on my sock color or the torture I felt being a Giants fan. While there is nothing wrong with this use of Twitter, it wasn't something that I felt necessary to my daily existence (oh have times changed). Then in March of 2010 I had the opportunity to be on an accreditation team where David Lopez (@Mister_Lopez) informed me of a Personalized Learning Network. He showed me how Twitter allowed him to connect, share, and learn from other teachers throughout the country and world. I was hooked. And everyday since my love has grown stronger. Here are just some of the things I have learned from my PLN on Twitter. (Mind you I finished grad school in the spring and almost none of this was discussed)

a) given me confidence as an educator
b) tips, tricks, and ideas for lesson plans
c) the term Web 2.0
d) shown me how to use Web 2.0 tools for authentic learning and sharing
e) made me a tech geek
d) share student knowledge globally 
f) connections matter
e) people are amazing in their ability to help strangers
g) made me an avid blog reader
h) inspired me to share my ideas on my own blog (beardedteacher.blogspot.com)
i) grades are often not true indicators
j) inspired me to let go and give my students autonomy
k) taught me why external motivation and rewards stunt creativity
l) attend conferences without pay or prodding (rscon and others)
m) most convention wisdom about homework is incorrect
n) passionate people and teachers make a difference
o) social media can be used in the classroom
p) learn from my students
q) project-based learning
r) student guided assessment
s) real reform is necessary
t) teachers not government officials should be in charge of ed reform
u) more tests does not lead to better accountability and education
v) some amazing people are educating our youth
w) collaboration is key
x) competition and schooling often don't mix
y) cell phones in the classroom should not be automatically outlawed
z) learning can be and ought to be fun


Friday, February 25, 2011

Help bring awareness to modern day slavery



Student Wordle

Student Glog




     For my 8th grade U.S. history class we just finished the early to mid 1800s. In the unit we looked at the divergent paths of the North/South. We also started to look at the institution of slavery and how it developed to be so important in the south. After our final assessment, I took a few days to introduce the notion of modern-day slavery. The students were actually quite educated on the matter and named many issues that constitute slavery today. They named child labor, prostitution, farm labor, and others as examples of slavery today. I then had student groups research one area of modern-day slavery that struck them the most. In class today the assignment was to bring awareness to the issue of their choice. To do this students blogged, wordled, gloged, and power pointed. The intro lesson, research, and production all was done within two fifty minutes class periods and the students produced some very neat ways of making us aware to these issues. As social justice issues are something I am passionate about,  it was special to see my students engaged and eager to try and make change. Furthermore, I think this type of social education has an important part in the curriculum to create relevance and expose students to reasons we study history.


I have collected their works and links on a Typewith.me document and I invite you to share and use with your class. Let us know what you think.

 
Check out student examples at our Typewith.me 





Help bring awareness to modern day slavery



Student Wordle

Student Glog




     For my 8th grade U.S. history class we just finished the early to mid 1800s. In the unit we looked at the divergent paths of the North/South. We also started to look at the institution of slavery and how it developed to be so important in the south. After our final assessment, I took a few days to introduce the notion of modern-day slavery. The students were actually quite educated on the matter and named many issues that constitute slavery today. They named child labor, prostitution, farm labor, and others as examples of slavery today. I then had student groups research one area of modern-day slavery that struck them the most. In class today the assignment was to bring awareness to the issue of their choice. To do this students blogged, wordled, gloged, and power pointed. The intro lesson, research, and production all was done within two fifty minutes class periods and the students produced some very neat ways of making us aware to these issues. As social justice issues are something I am passionate about,  it was special to see my students engaged and eager to try and make change. Furthermore, I think this type of social education has an important part in the curriculum to create relevance and expose students to reasons we study history.


I have collected their works and links on a Typewith.me document and I invite you to share and use with your class. Let us know what you think.

 
Check out student examples at our Typewith.me 





Monday, February 21, 2011

The worst part of the job? Germs!

I am lucky. I thoroughly enjoy being a teacher. In fact, if it I didn't have to grade and had one more prep, I wouldn't even call it a job. Beside those two annoyances, there is one part of being a teacher that really does stink. The major downside to being a teacher is the seemingly incessant drive of children's colds, flus, and bugs trying to hunt you down. When these winter months come around, there are just weeks were you are battling to stay afloat. You are hoping, praying, and airborning that the innocent sniffle doesn't turn into a contagious virus. Last week, I got hit and I got hit hard. For a few days, I managed to make it to school, but the aches and pains, cough, and weaknesses made me long for the day to end. I was a corpse whose mission was to get through the day and the freedom of 3 o'clock. It was almost as if my students could feel this as well. Maybe, it was my illness, but the students seemed on edge and frustrated last week as well. The normal engagement wasn't there. The reason is simple to point to. My engagement wasn't there. Sometimes we (myself included) look for these huge big changes to education. But really wanting to be there, being engaged, and smiling go a long way. It is amazing how students seems to display these traits if the teacher models them. So, I am excited that I get to go back tomorrow and return with my usual excitement and eagerness. I have a funny feeling that the students will be ready as well, now that grumpy, sick Mr. Monreal feels much better.

The worst part of the job? Germs!

I am lucky. I thoroughly enjoy being a teacher. In fact, if it I didn't have to grade and had one more prep, I wouldn't even call it a job. Beside those two annoyances, there is one part of being a teacher that really does stink. The major downside to being a teacher is the seemingly incessant drive of children's colds, flus, and bugs trying to hunt you down. When these winter months come around, there are just weeks were you are battling to stay afloat. You are hoping, praying, and airborning that the innocent sniffle doesn't turn into a contagious virus. Last week, I got hit and I got hit hard. For a few days, I managed to make it to school, but the aches and pains, cough, and weaknesses made me long for the day to end. I was a corpse whose mission was to get through the day and the freedom of 3 o'clock. It was almost as if my students could feel this as well. Maybe, it was my illness, but the students seemed on edge and frustrated last week as well. The normal engagement wasn't there. The reason is simple to point to. My engagement wasn't there. Sometimes we (myself included) look for these huge big changes to education. But really wanting to be there, being engaged, and smiling go a long way. It is amazing how students seems to display these traits if the teacher models them. So, I am excited that I get to go back tomorrow and return with my usual excitement and eagerness. I have a funny feeling that the students will be ready as well, now that grumpy, sick Mr. Monreal feels much better.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wondering what to teach a class...just ask them!

     I have tried many things to give my students choice and voice in the classroom. This is important to me because I think it helps foster higher thinking skills, creativity, engagement,  and intrinsic motivation in the classroom. I do this in many ways, but I was recently inspired by a post by Josh Stumpenhorst at his blog Stump the Teacher. He ran an experiment based on Dr. Sugata Mitra's Hole in the Wall theory of learning. He wanted to test Mitra's theory that kids learned best in a small group of four around a computer. In order to to this he split children up and asked students to create a research question based on standards. The group then needed to choose a method to gather information and create learning evidence. I was struck by the amount of autonomy he gave groups and how much control he gave them to learn what they wanted within the standards. With this in mind I recently designed a lesson that gave students complete choice and freedom and the results were stunning. I didn't concentrate on groups of four, but rather on the amount of freedom I was going to give students.


     A couple nights ago I was trying to come up with a lesson for Women in Medieval Europe. There seemed to be so many routes I could take and I was stuck trying to figure out how my students could discover this. After reading Josh's post, I decided I would let my students decide. The next day in class we broke down the standard and I modeled a question. It was "What was marriage like for Medieval Women?" I told my students that they could group up and ask any question they wanted about Women in Medieval Europe. They would then be responsible for answering their own question. They were jazzed and the questions were great. One group wanted to investigate hygiene, one education,  and another early witchcraft. We went to the computer lab and they dove right in. It was even better as I just showed my students how safari will read highlighted text for them. This made some of my learning different students excited for the web research as reading material was much easier.


     Beside the great questions they asked, I was equally excited by their thought processes and engagement. One group started to ask me about women's rights in general and suddenly they wanted to change their focus to a comparison  of women's rights then and now. I told them it might be tough given the timeline for the mini-project, but nevertheless they went for it. That question calls for tough analysis and I was simply awestruck on how they decided to attack it (these are seventh graders, mind you!). I also saw students wrestle with tough vocabulary words like grandeur and inferior. Instead of me dictating a definition to them, they ran up and asked me what it meant. Imagine that! They were dying for the answer. I even had to help explain supply and demand to a group because they needed it for understanding the economic chances for women. The bottom line was that I was merely a facilitator of knowledge. All of this and not one mention of a grade. They found motivation in something other than the grade; they found motivation in their own learning. They were doing the work and it was important to them. Why? Because the questions were relevant and they found worth in answering them. 
  
     So if you are ever wondering what to teach a class, just ask them?

Wondering what to teach a class...just ask them!

     I have tried many things to give my students choice and voice in the classroom. This is important to me because I think it helps foster higher thinking skills, creativity, engagement,  and intrinsic motivation in the classroom. I do this in many ways, but I was recently inspired by a post by Josh Stumpenhorst at his blog Stump the Teacher. He ran an experiment based on Dr. Sugata Mitra's Hole in the Wall theory of learning. He wanted to test Mitra's theory that kids learned best in a small group of four around a computer. In order to to this he split children up and asked students to create a research question based on standards. The group then needed to choose a method to gather information and create learning evidence. I was struck by the amount of autonomy he gave groups and how much control he gave them to learn what they wanted within the standards. With this in mind I recently designed a lesson that gave students complete choice and freedom and the results were stunning. I didn't concentrate on groups of four, but rather on the amount of freedom I was going to give students.


     A couple nights ago I was trying to come up with a lesson for Women in Medieval Europe. There seemed to be so many routes I could take and I was stuck trying to figure out how my students could discover this. After reading Josh's post, I decided I would let my students decide. The next day in class we broke down the standard and I modeled a question. It was "What was marriage like for Medieval Women?" I told my students that they could group up and ask any question they wanted about Women in Medieval Europe. They would then be responsible for answering their own question. They were jazzed and the questions were great. One group wanted to investigate hygiene, one education,  and another early witchcraft. We went to the computer lab and they dove right in. It was even better as I just showed my students how safari will read highlighted text for them. This made some of my learning different students excited for the web research as reading material was much easier.


     Beside the great questions they asked, I was equally excited by their thought processes and engagement. One group started to ask me about women's rights in general and suddenly they wanted to change their focus to a comparison  of women's rights then and now. I told them it might be tough given the timeline for the mini-project, but nevertheless they went for it. That question calls for tough analysis and I was simply awestruck on how they decided to attack it (these are seventh graders, mind you!). I also saw students wrestle with tough vocabulary words like grandeur and inferior. Instead of me dictating a definition to them, they ran up and asked me what it meant. Imagine that! They were dying for the answer. I even had to help explain supply and demand to a group because they needed it for understanding the economic chances for women. The bottom line was that I was merely a facilitator of knowledge. All of this and not one mention of a grade. They found motivation in something other than the grade; they found motivation in their own learning. They were doing the work and it was important to them. Why? Because the questions were relevant and they found worth in answering them. 
  
     So if you are ever wondering what to teach a class, just ask them?

Friday, February 11, 2011

This whole self-assessment thing actually works?

Russian essay draft
CC Image: quinn.anya
I have always struggled with the grading component of my classes because the highest levels of assessments tend to lead to the highest levels of subjectivity. Since I really try and structure my classes around such high level thought, I feel that I am stuck in this quagmire. Therefore, I am doing my students a real disservice when I simply write a letter grade or circle boxes on a rubric. This occurs because I just don’t have the time to write authentic comments for these assessments. The student doesn’t get any feedback and learning stops when the assessment is completed.

Inspired by many of the progressive educators I follow through my Personalized Learning Network on Twitter, I have seriously rethought my grading procedures. I have realized that it is necessary to include student voice in the grading process. Throughout the first half of my school year, this meant an admittingly superfluous student “reflection” on their project based learning experiences. While I took this reflection seriously, it was often unstructured and didn’t call for much student metacognition. Based on the wonderful blogs I read on a daily basis, I finally just decided to let my students grade their own work. I decided to completely let go and let my students really reflect on their work. Regardless of how many people claimed this worked, I was still nervous.

It wasn’t just me who was nervous; I could sense my students were apprehensive when I announced they would be grading their own essays. A final essay in 7th grade is a big deal and they were shocked when I revealed I was entrusting the grading process to them. I had numerous students tell me it was dumb and that everybody was going to give themselves an A.  I brushed these comments aside, took the rubric we created and handed it to them. I gave them 30 minutes to circle the portions of the rubric and write detailed comments on why. I then scheduled a time where I could have a 1-2 minute conference with them about their self-assessment.

What happened was truly one of the better experiences of my short career. First, the students were enthralled with the idea of grading their own essays. They were completely engaged in the process of reviewing their work and were brutally honest (if not too harsh) when assigning grades. When we talked about their grades it proved to be a wonderful learning experience. They told me strengths and weaknesses of their essay. They honestly explained what they needed to work on and how they planned to improve in the future. Many students told me that they wasted class time and could have used their peers and teacher to produce a better essay. In effect, the grading process and ensuing mini-conference ensured that learning did not stop when the essay was turned in. Instead it was the exact opposite. The learning process had just begun. Furthermore, I was able to “suggest” that students raise some of their self-appointed grades and this made students feel positive and excited. I think it also finally made students understand what I mean when I constantly say it is not about the grade but the learning. The students got authentic feedback (mostly from themselves) and realized what they need to do in the future. I even had students who wanted to start a whole new writing project because they finally figured out the things they had been doing “wrong” all along. It was awesome and I will continue to cede this responsibility to my students.


PS- It also proved to be a wonderful lesson on social skills. Students were forced to have an academic and profession conversation with the teacher. Because of this many had to overcome shyness and others began to see that I am really on their side. This type of mature conversation is a skill that students need to learn. This was an unintended, but equally important outcome. 

This whole self-assessment thing actually works?

Russian essay draft
CC Image: quinn.anya
I have always struggled with the grading component of my classes because the highest levels of assessments tend to lead to the highest levels of subjectivity. Since I really try and structure my classes around such high level thought, I feel that I am stuck in this quagmire. Therefore, I am doing my students a real disservice when I simply write a letter grade or circle boxes on a rubric. This occurs because I just don’t have the time to write authentic comments for these assessments. The student doesn’t get any feedback and learning stops when the assessment is completed.

Inspired by many of the progressive educators I follow through my Personalized Learning Network on Twitter, I have seriously rethought my grading procedures. I have realized that it is necessary to include student voice in the grading process. Throughout the first half of my school year, this meant an admittingly superfluous student “reflection” on their project based learning experiences. While I took this reflection seriously, it was often unstructured and didn’t call for much student metacognition. Based on the wonderful blogs I read on a daily basis, I finally just decided to let my students grade their own work. I decided to completely let go and let my students really reflect on their work. Regardless of how many people claimed this worked, I was still nervous.

It wasn’t just me who was nervous; I could sense my students were apprehensive when I announced they would be grading their own essays. A final essay in 7th grade is a big deal and they were shocked when I revealed I was entrusting the grading process to them. I had numerous students tell me it was dumb and that everybody was going to give themselves an A.  I brushed these comments aside, took the rubric we created and handed it to them. I gave them 30 minutes to circle the portions of the rubric and write detailed comments on why. I then scheduled a time where I could have a 1-2 minute conference with them about their self-assessment.

What happened was truly one of the better experiences of my short career. First, the students were enthralled with the idea of grading their own essays. They were completely engaged in the process of reviewing their work and were brutally honest (if not too harsh) when assigning grades. When we talked about their grades it proved to be a wonderful learning experience. They told me strengths and weaknesses of their essay. They honestly explained what they needed to work on and how they planned to improve in the future. Many students told me that they wasted class time and could have used their peers and teacher to produce a better essay. In effect, the grading process and ensuing mini-conference ensured that learning did not stop when the essay was turned in. Instead it was the exact opposite. The learning process had just begun. Furthermore, I was able to “suggest” that students raise some of their self-appointed grades and this made students feel positive and excited. I think it also finally made students understand what I mean when I constantly say it is not about the grade but the learning. The students got authentic feedback (mostly from themselves) and realized what they need to do in the future. I even had students who wanted to start a whole new writing project because they finally figured out the things they had been doing “wrong” all along. It was awesome and I will continue to cede this responsibility to my students.


PS- It also proved to be a wonderful lesson on social skills. Students were forced to have an academic and profession conversation with the teacher. Because of this many had to overcome shyness and others began to see that I am really on their side. This type of mature conversation is a skill that students need to learn. This was an unintended, but equally important outcome. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Race to Nowhere Plea

For a great list of quotes that may help to put this documentary in context, please see this blog post by Dangerously Irrelevant. 

I recently saw Race to Nowhere, a wonderful documentary on the high stakes culture we have constructed in American life and education. As I tweeted earlier this week, “If you really love kids, heck if you really love people you need to see this movie.” After watching, I called my family and begged them to see this (I have younger siblings in high school and elementary school). And now I beg you.

The movie shows that the only way we measure success in school is straight A’s, high-test scores, and admission to a top university. We tell our young people that if you don’t achieve this model than you will not be successful and your life chances are slim. Teachers, parents, society and peers push this one-size-fits-all model to every single student. We don’t ask young people to be creative, to think differently, or to be engaged. We teach them to be a good test-taker, a good performer.  In effect, we are telling them this is the only way to be happy. We are asking our young people to sacrifice the natural happiness and joys of childhood, in order to aim for these unrealistic expectations and faraway adult constructs. To achieve this model of success we are pushing our children to hours of homework, tutoring, sports, music lessons, and extracurricular activities. Children have so much on their plates that stress, anxiety and even physical sickness are skyrocketing. All because of this ludicrous expectation that they will be letting people down if they don’t push themselves to these extremes.  And while young people are busy putting together their college resumes at 11, they are staying up that late to try and finish everything. While they are running around from activity to activity, we never stop to ask them, “Are you happy”? We are dehumanizing our young people, so based on the movie I would like to make this plea (Some of these are things I need to work on myself).

Teachers: High expectations do not mean pushing more and more pointless, robotic, mind-numbing worksheets and review questions on to children especially as homework. Research shows that homework is unsuccessful as a learning tool and as a gauge for understanding. Think about it. If a student does not get the concept he or she is simply practicing it incorrectly at home. If they get it, they get it and it is worthless repetition. More homework does not mean higher-achieving kids. If homework is necessary, look for ways to give students choice and make it brief, but though provoking. As one parent says in the movie, “Since when did schools dictate how my family spends its time?"

Show students that learning is more important than grading. Do this by de-emphasizing the amount of mega-tests you give. Move toward a more authentic assessment plan where students display mastery and higher-level thinking skills in a myriad of ways. Try letting students do things just for the experience of learning: for example, non-graded blogs. Don’t be afraid to let students “grade” themselves. This produces a remarkable amount of reflection and students tend to discover what mistakes they made, rather than throwing out the graded paper you gave them. Encourage students to be creative, to think differently and ask questions. One way I have started to do this is by implementing Project Based Learning. When I actually have a successful project (much tweaking in the future), teamwork and engagement replace the grading trap.  Make it your personal mission to find “success” for all students and model that “success” can only be defined by one person: yourself. Teach them that “outside the box” is a good thing.

Finally, ask them “Are you happy?”

My Race to Nowhere Plea

For a great list of quotes that may help to put this documentary in context, please see this blog post by Dangerously Irrelevant. 

I recently saw Race to Nowhere, a wonderful documentary on the high stakes culture we have constructed in American life and education. As I tweeted earlier this week, “If you really love kids, heck if you really love people you need to see this movie.” After watching, I called my family and begged them to see this (I have younger siblings in high school and elementary school). And now I beg you.

The movie shows that the only way we measure success in school is straight A’s, high-test scores, and admission to a top university. We tell our young people that if you don’t achieve this model than you will not be successful and your life chances are slim. Teachers, parents, society and peers push this one-size-fits-all model to every single student. We don’t ask young people to be creative, to think differently, or to be engaged. We teach them to be a good test-taker, a good performer.  In effect, we are telling them this is the only way to be happy. We are asking our young people to sacrifice the natural happiness and joys of childhood, in order to aim for these unrealistic expectations and faraway adult constructs. To achieve this model of success we are pushing our children to hours of homework, tutoring, sports, music lessons, and extracurricular activities. Children have so much on their plates that stress, anxiety and even physical sickness are skyrocketing. All because of this ludicrous expectation that they will be letting people down if they don’t push themselves to these extremes.  And while young people are busy putting together their college resumes at 11, they are staying up that late to try and finish everything. While they are running around from activity to activity, we never stop to ask them, “Are you happy”? We are dehumanizing our young people, so based on the movie I would like to make this plea (Some of these are things I need to work on myself).

Teachers: High expectations do not mean pushing more and more pointless, robotic, mind-numbing worksheets and review questions on to children especially as homework. Research shows that homework is unsuccessful as a learning tool and as a gauge for understanding. Think about it. If a student does not get the concept he or she is simply practicing it incorrectly at home. If they get it, they get it and it is worthless repetition. More homework does not mean higher-achieving kids. If homework is necessary, look for ways to give students choice and make it brief, but though provoking. As one parent says in the movie, “Since when did schools dictate how my family spends its time?"

Show students that learning is more important than grading. Do this by de-emphasizing the amount of mega-tests you give. Move toward a more authentic assessment plan where students display mastery and higher-level thinking skills in a myriad of ways. Try letting students do things just for the experience of learning: for example, non-graded blogs. Don’t be afraid to let students “grade” themselves. This produces a remarkable amount of reflection and students tend to discover what mistakes they made, rather than throwing out the graded paper you gave them. Encourage students to be creative, to think differently and ask questions. One way I have started to do this is by implementing Project Based Learning. When I actually have a successful project (much tweaking in the future), teamwork and engagement replace the grading trap.  Make it your personal mission to find “success” for all students and model that “success” can only be defined by one person: yourself. Teach them that “outside the box” is a good thing.

Finally, ask them “Are you happy?”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tweets from Feudal Times

Last week my students (7th grade History) used Today's Meet to simulate a Twitter conversation between people from the Feudal period of European history. The students loved it. They were highly engaged and they enjoyed the learning process so much that many complained when we ended it. I even had students look up how to make posts in Latin (apparently they had taught themselves that priests would have known it). Below is the basic outline of the lesson. Would love to hear how you use it.




Here is an example of how students used the social media/backchannel client Todaysmeet.com to produce an online conversation.

Day 1/2: Student get assigned a role in Feudalism- They read/researched about their daily life (There are many wonderful sites for this and here is a resource I provided them with) They then put together a twitter wall on butcher paper for their role. For example, the nobles made a Twitter wall for nobles, peasants for peasant. They were quite comical. They also went around and "posted" (wrote) on other people's walls.(Pictures are below)






Day 3: Students take their role and engage in a conversation on TodaysMeet.com. It is a website that allows for Twitter-like backchannels without sign-in or sign-up.




ENJOY!!!!!


Tweets from Feudal Times

Last week my students (7th grade History) used Today's Meet to simulate a Twitter conversation between people from the Feudal period of European history. The students loved it. They were highly engaged and they enjoyed the learning process so much that many complained when we ended it. I even had students look up how to make posts in Latin (apparently they had taught themselves that priests would have known it). Below is the basic outline of the lesson. Would love to hear how you use it.




Here is an example of how students used the social media/backchannel client Todaysmeet.com to produce an online conversation.

Day 1/2: Student get assigned a role in Feudalism- They read/researched about their daily life (There are many wonderful sites for this and here is a resource I provided them with) They then put together a twitter wall on butcher paper for their role. For example, the nobles made a Twitter wall for nobles, peasants for peasant. They were quite comical. They also went around and "posted" (wrote) on other people's walls.(Pictures are below)






Day 3: Students take their role and engage in a conversation on TodaysMeet.com. It is a website that allows for Twitter-like backchannels without sign-in or sign-up.




ENJOY!!!!!