Teacher Feature: SHDHS Grade 7/8

20151211-141208.jpgToday I had the pleasure of working with Julie Knoblauch and her grade 7/8 class at SHDHS. Julie and I spent the morning building content to support and enhance student learning on the class blog, taking into consideration who the users of the class blog might be (students, parents, other teachers/students, community members, experts, etc). Here is a screenshot of the before and after:

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Julie decided to make a number of changes – like updating her theme, which previously did not support pages, and adding a number of widgets:
*Links – Math Sites, Blogging Tools
*Recent Comments
*Twitter feed (see instructions here!)*Subscribe by Email

And she also added some pages:
*Google Calendar (see instructions here!)
*Helpful Documents

In the afternoon, the kids were presented with a Design Challenge: Build a CD Tower/Rack

Julie’s doc outlines the Success Criteria, along with the Materials, Suggested Steps, and (my favourite) – the reflection/ Blogging Activity.

One of the elements we were most about was that the kids were required to document the process they followed from beginning to end. It was up to the kids to choose how they would document their learning:

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Some kids chose to use stop motion video, while others took pictures which they would later annotate using apps like Explain Everything.

Once the CD Racks/Towers were complete (in 75 minutes!), the kids were then asked to share their documentation with one another by air dropping an image or video of their initial plan, and completed project.

The next activity required students to share their learning on their blogs using the documentation to tell the story. Students were also asked to create some form of reflection. The Blogging Activity Julie presented to the class is outlined here:

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One of the reasons I am a huge proponent for blogging as pedagogy, is that the platform gives you a place to share your documentation, and ultimately, the learning that took place. And when you take the time to reflect on that shared learning, the blog is a space for you to document those reflections and engage others in conversations about the learning.

It wasn’t until I started blogging that I became more consciously aware of that fact that prior to blogging, I didn’t give kids a lot of time to reflect. As a teacher who always struggled to understand how I would teach “metacognition”, little did I know that all I needed to do was provide kids with a space, some guiding questions, and time – time to document their learning – time to reflect the process they followed to complete a challenge – and then time to communicate their thinking with others. When we provide kids with a blog – or a public platform to share their learning – not only are kids communicating their learning with a real audience, but they are reflecting on that learning and inviting others to collaborate with them. Sounds like a win-win doesn’t it???

How has student metacognition changed since you started blogging with your students?



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