Many days when I come home, I am warmly greeted with a big grin of a two-year old and a devilish “ha ha” laugh at the door. After my wife and I exchange stories about our work day, my daughter and I sit on the couch together. A few months ago I would read to her (sometimes the same story multiple time) for about 20-minutes or longer. Many of her books focus on basic letters, sounds, colors, and animals.
Shortly afterwards, a nursery worker at church complimented my wife because of how well our daughter could read her letters at such a young age.
Being an overachiever father, you can see how we work daily on basic letters and sounds. Reflecting upon my daughter’s learning, I can recall a quote which I read from both Patrick Larkin and Eric Sheninger, “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will tell it for you” which many more and more educators are now echoing. My daughter’s actions at nursery are telling the story of her learning being modeled at home, but how can I tell the story of the learning in my classroom?
Sharing the story of Room B217
This fall students are going to share their work with the rest of the school community. The class bulletin board has lost its purpose because only those for physically enter the room see it; parents, fellow students, and community members (grandmas and grandpas of the world) never get to embrace and share in the learning artifacts. By extending learning beyond the classroom walls, student work can be valued by so many more people — classes across the hall, across the county, across the state, across the country, or even across the world.
Parents are now going to have the ability to access their child’s work (as well as other students), creating transparency throughout the school community.
I want my students’ to constantly reflect the learning in my classroom.
How are we going to get there?
1-Digital portfolios through hosting individual student blogs. Each student is going to walk through the steps of making a blog and sharing their writing with the world. Communication, collaborating, and critical thinking on topics allows them to achieve some of the essentials of learning (see previous blog post) in the 21st century.
2-Class Blog, which is already setup for the year, is going to highlight student work outside of writing (i.e. activities, projects, interactive videos, etc.). I am going to be constantly sharing some of my top work with my PLN, colleagues, school administration, central office personnel, and community stakeholders.
3-Social Media branding through Twitter and Instagram. Last year I had an inappropriate video of students fooling around in my classroom with a substitute via Intagram. I reamed my students out on the situation because I trust my students. However, reflecting upon their poor decisions, I want to make it a lifelong learning opportunity. This year I am going to have a class account (@ndmsELA — Twitter/Instagram) to keep track of our learning and share it within the realm of students.
4-Remind is an awesome tool to communicate directly with parent and students regarding anything in your classroom. It has showed promise of the years in the classroom and with my athletic teams. This year I have other colleagues attempting to use it as well (baby steps).