The Power of Modeling Blogging and Commenting

I am continuing to feel excited and inspired by my ever growing PLN/PLC. Today I was reviewing my students reading responses they did on another classes Harris Burdick stories. As I was reading through them, I noticed a lot of University of Alabama education students commenting on my students’ blogs. I have to admit I was a little leery, so I looked into the comments and the students a little more closely and saw that our class blogs were assigned by their professor teaching EDUC 310. The university students were asked to comment on the blogs, and I have seen that the comments are thoughtful and fantastic examples of good comments. Our class is currently working on developing our know how on creating a good and thoughtful comment to blogs. The comments left by the university students have provided my students with some wonderful models. I have already seen the results of having the models available for my students to see. The students have become more engaged with what they are reading and are creating some wonderful comments that have left me thinking! I do need to comment on the fact that Twitter has played a huge part in my learning this week. I have seen just how powerful Twitter can be and I have been sharing what I have learned with my class. My confidence in teaching writing has continued to grow, as I see my students’ confidence blossom. I truly believe that having the support, especially from around the world has not only inspired me but has gotten me much more excited about how I use writing in my practice.


The Give and Take of a PLC/PLN

This past week I have been having many moments of clarity on what it mans to be a part of a learning community. What it means to support, teach, question, and admire when working with other educators. I guess you can say I am finally “getting” the importance of being a part of a learning community/network.


Being a part of a community of learners is about give and take, and I will admit for a little while there, I felt that I was doing a lot of giving and not any taking. This week I realized I should not be expecting to take, that in fact it is up to me on what I want to take away with me when collaborating with others. I am not into giving new teachers stacks of resources and paper hand outs to support their teaching. I am more about encouraging the new teachers to ask what is it that they want to learn and why do they want to learn it. Being a part of a learning community is very personal and it is up to us to take what we want and need to better our practice.


This week I took so much away with me after mentoring teachers on math, planning, blogging, and management.  The biggest thing I walked away with was excitement and enthusiasm for bettering my practice.  For the first time in awhile I was feeling excited to try new things with the class, and to try new things with the mentees. I can not wait to find out what more we can explore and discover in this ever changing world of learners.


On a side note, I have to say I tweeted today. I tweeted my students Harris Burdick stories, and William Chamberlain tweeted back! He gave me more resources on Harris Burdick and he told me his wife just came across a new book where famous authors have done just what my students have done, they finished the tales.  I have done this writing activity for years, and what makes this kind of neat is that I read about William Chamberlain doing the exact activity but through blogs, in William Kist’s “The Socially Networked Classroom.” It was him who inspired me to ask my students if they wanted to blog their stories. It seems that this little assignment has made a complete circle in my personal learning community. And yes, I am so excited to try more!


I would like to send out a thank you to all those involved in my learning communities, whether you know you are a part of it or not, you have made a huge difference in mine and my students learning.

Harris Burdick Writing – Inspired by Chris Van Allsburg

A great lesson that I have done for years has been the writing lesson based on Chris Van Allsburg book, “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.” As is in past years, the students love this lesson and are inspired to write at great lengths. This year, I noticed my non-writers and ESL writers were more engaged in their writing. They wanted to know more about the Harris Burdick and what happened to him.

Watching all the students get immersed into the assignment, I had a great idea to think about how I can take the content of the lesson and intertwine technology into it. I had read William Kist’s book, “The Socially Networked Classroom,” and saw that Wiliam Chamberlain had created project similar to mine, however it involved technology. I was inspired to see what we could do with the students.

I asked the students how they felt about posting their stories on their blogs. At first there was some hesitation, however after they all started talking they really liked the idea that other people around the world would be reading their stories, and maybe they could inspire others to write their own.  We have just starting posting them, and I have to say it is a great way to assess! Next week, once all the stories are in I hope to tweet their stories on #comments4kids and hopefully we will get some comments from other student writers.

A great sample from one of the authors in my class.