What I’m Trying This Year

Richard Byrne recently posted a survey asking teachers what new things they were trying this year–a survey that I missed, unfortunately. However, in true “Free Tech 4 Teachers” style, he also made a slideshow of all the answers he got and wrote a blog post about it, where you can view the slideshow of all 140 answers.

So in the spirit of collaboration, I’m adding my answers here:

* For the first time this year, I’ll be keeping a teacher blog on my faculty website and blogging alongside my students, completing many of the freewrites or exercises I ask them to do as well as highlighting student work and adding important information. I was partly inspired to do this after reading Write Beside Them this summer and am looking forward to it!

* I’ve planned out ways to use wikis for the first time in my ninth grade classes, which I’ve never used before, and I’m adding more discussion boards as well (all through the functions on my Sharepoint site, which are much easier to implement in the newest version).

* All of my students will be blogging all year long–I’ve had classes keep blogs, but none consistently throughout the year. This will be a combination of journal and notebook for them, where they will do freewrites, classwork, homework and graded pieces of writing.

* I’m setting up a class wiki for each of my ninth grade classes, and will require my students to use this wiki as an e-portfolio. They’ll begin by putting up profiles of themselves, and will link throughout the year (or semester) to what they feel are examples of their best work.

* I’m hoping to encourage all my students to use more interesting ways to do visual presentations. I’m thinking particularly of Prezi and Tagxedo here, especially once I’ve made some sample Prezis and worked my way through 101 ways to use Tagxedo, as well as making some samples.

* I’m hoping to connect with another ninth-grade class in another state to study “Macbeth,” if planning goes well, but that won’t happen until fourth quarter

* I was also inspired by the FT4T slideshow to think about ways my ninth-grade students could incorporate current events in their blogging during our Bible As Literature unit.

Yes, it sounds like a lot, but especially with blogging, I’m just building on work I’ve already done.  I also think that these projects of mine will not only strengthen my student’s writing, but also help develop how they think about their own writing process in a more sophisticated way. Once I do the initial set-up work for the blogs and wikis, I think they will integrate smoothly into our coursework and really be useful for our class communities.

5 thoughts on “What I’m Trying This Year

  1. I absolutely love your first idea! When I started teaching a veteran teacher told me that “he never asks his students to do an assignment he doesn’t do.” I always keep that in mind when designing lessons for my classroom.


  2. Pingback: Blogging With My Students « A Patchwork Life

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