Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adult Proofread from Germany

When I ask my students to get an adult to proofread their writing, the adults are never mom or dad. I work on a residential campus for foster youth. Translation: my students have all been taken away from their families or abandoned, so they now live at a group home/boarding school. Since transitioning to a paperless classroom, I have modified my writing process to include an online adult proofread. Before I could even suggest it, one of my sophomores exceeded my expectations by having a family member edit her writing online.

Normally, my students ask their house parents, tutors, staff, or other teachers to proofread their work. Before I changed the paper proofreading handout to a Google form, I required my students to get an adult signature. Now, the adults can view the paper in a shared Google Doc or on a house computer, follow a Google form guide, and verify their work by providing the time and location of the proofread.

Chanda took it one step further. Since her supportive older sister’s husband is stationed in Germany, Chanda publishes her writing on her blog, adds her sister as a writer, and allows her to make corrections. She figured this out on her own. I am impressed and can’t wait to see what will happen when Chanda teacher her sister to use a shared Google Doc. (Please read and comment on Chanda's essay on her blog.)

My classroom walls are falling down.
My students are one-step ahead of me.
It’s working.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Second Quarter Staff-Teacher Conferences

I enjoyed speaking with my students’ houseparents, social workers, and CASAs at staff-teacher conferences this week. Even though I had to break from my paperless system to distributed paper handouts containing my contact information, study tips, and screen shots explaining how to comment on students’ blog posts, I still incorporated technology into the conferences. I had everyone sign-in using a Google Form. It was amusing to see their reactions when their submissions instantly appeared in my spreadsheet.

To share their work during the conferences, each student selected his/her favorite blog post from the last few months. I linked these posts together creating a blog jog. I hoped adults would have time to view their students’ blogs, but we did not have time. However, I am emailing the blog jog to campus adults with the intention of gaining a few comments.  You may view the blog jog here.

SPAENG- Conference Handout b

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Saved by a Freshman

While using Voxopop in class for the first time, I hit a glitch. I couldn’t figure out how to approve students’ requests to join my talkgroup. I fumbled around for a few minutes searching my account, exploring the FAQ’s, and Googling solutions while my freshmen began to fidget. As I was about to give up and just open the entire talkgroup to the public, one of my girls raised her hand, “Ms. Priester, if you just go to your profile and click admin, you can accept us all from there.” It worked. I don’t know how she figured it out, but she took the initiative to voluntarily solve a problem so we could continue learning. And, she out-teched me. Success.