Category Archives: Best Practice

Bloggers who make a difference

Harley is one of my favorite bloggers. He puts a lot of joy in classrooms and really gets kids actively engaged in learning. Recently he posted about the process of making maple syrup for a group of fifth graders in Georgia. He had read some of the analogies that the fifth graders were creating and he incorporated that into his post. What great reinforcement for these kids! They got to think and apply their learning in such a fun way and many of them tossed analogies back to Harley. Harley’s first post brought 53 comments from the students and his second post now has 41 comments! I’m betting we will see even more comments. Plus many of the students went on to create their own posts as they excitely shared all that they were learning. Wow! Talk about connections!

I love blogging with kids! I love the connections, the joy, and the thinking that abounds. Just think of all the neuroscience that is getting applied here:

Making it relevant….

Harley made the lesson personally interesting and motivating to the kids.

Giving them a break….

Blogging like this gives kids a break from the normal routine and it was a pleasurable activity that reduced stress and let them experience novelty.

Creating positive associations……

Kids developed associations by practicing creating analogies with a positively reinforcing strategy. (See Fifth Grade Webwriters Are #1)

And the best one, allowing independent discovery learning! These kids will no doubt remember and understand this experience becaue they had a part in figuring it out for themselves. There were choices of places to go to learn and they got to use their imaginations in the process.

Harley is not only a great blogger but has the makings of a neuroscientist too! Thanks Harley for putting all that joy into learning.

I also owe a tremendous thank you to Lani whom I had the good fortune to meet through a comment on one of my classroom blogs back in 2005. We have collaborated and learned much since that time and she personally has put a lot of joy into my learning and reflecting. Lani truly makes a difference in the lives of many….

What matters?

I read Karl Fisch’s post about What Matters? with great interest. I think Karl and his group of teachers are really doing a fantastic job with their students. We need to hear more about what is going on with our students. I recently skyped with Karl and Anne Smith. It was great to connect and talk possibilities. Anne Smith has the most amazing blogs. I have poured over them and I think the thing I like the best is the way she includes her students in the reflecting and thinking process. It is front and center and the focus is always on the students. Anne says:

I am just having a difficult time trying to find the line between feeling like I am leading them to the answer I am looking for (i.e. my what matters example) and having them struggle to find their own understanding – what I feel like they should be looking for.”

That really resonates with me. I have exactly the same feeling when I work with my elementary students and push them to reflect about their own learnings. It is not something they are used to doing. Also getting them to be risk-takers and not focus on what the teacher wants with their answers but instead what do they want? What do they think would work? I think it is a scary process at first for the students. Yet I believe with all my heart that if we worked at getting more responses from them, help then learn how to write reflectively and honestly, and give them opportunities to do this frequently…..we would all learn much that would help us in this journey. They need to be in on these types of conversations. And what better place to have these conversations than on blogs!

I am working with a language arts teacher, Mary Ann, who is just beginning to blog. She has read through Anne’s blogs and I can just see the light bulbs going off in her head. See her first two posts, Water, Water, Everywhere! and Say it in your own words! Great posts for a beginner, right? She is still pouring through Anne’s blogs and those light bulbs keep flashing! I know we will be starting Mary Ann’s students out on some type of “What Matters?” post. What a model from which to learn! (Thank you Anne!)

Tomorrow I go back to the school. As usual, I can’t wait!

K12 Online – I can’t wait!

k12online.jpg

This announcement needs to go far and wide over the blogosphere! Last year’s conference was outstanding and I am still learning from it. If you missed it you missed out so get prepared to attend a conference organized by 4 top-notch edubloggers who make it happen! You will be amazed at all you can learn! I think it is the best conference around and can you believe this – it is free! Make plans to attend or present. All the details are below! Feel free to distribute the information below on your blog. Let everyone know!

Announcing the second annual “K12 Online” conference for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice! This year’s conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, October 15-19 and October 22-26 of 2007, and will include a preconference keynote during the week of October 8. This years conference theme is “Playing with Boundaries.” A call for proposals is below.OVERVIEW:


There will be four “conference strands”– two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday – Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two-weeks. Each presentation will be given in any of a variety of downloadable, web based formats and released via the conference blog (www.k12onlineconference.org) and archived for posterity.

FOUR STRANDS:
Week 1
Strand A: Classroom 2.0

Leveraging the power of free online tools in an open, collaborative and transparent atmosphere characterises teaching and learning in the 21st century. Teachers and students are contributing to the growing global knowledge commons by publishing their work online. By sharing all stages of their learning students are beginning to appreciate the value of life long learning that inheres in work that is in “perpetual beta.” This strand will explore how teachers and students are playing with the boundaries between instructors, learners and classrooms. Presentations will also explore the practical pedagogical uses of online social tools (Web 2.0) giving concrete examples of how teachers are using the tools in their classes.

Strand B: New Tools
Focusing on free tools, what are the “nuts and bolts” of using specific new social media and collaborative tools for learning? This strand includes two parts. Basic training is “how to” information on tool use in an educational setting, especially for newcomers. Advanced training is for teachers interested in new tools for learning, looking for advanced technology training, seeking ideas for mashing tools together, and interested in web 2.0 assessment tools. As educators and students of all ages push the boundaries of learning, what are the specific steps for using new tools most effectively? Where “Classroom 2.0” presentations will focus on instructional uses and examples of web 2.0 tool use, “New Tools” presentations should focus on “nuts and bolts” instructions for using tools. Five “basic” and five “advanced” presentations will be included in this strand.

Week 2
Strand A: Professional Learning Networks

Research says that professional development is most effective when it aims to create professional learning communities — places where teachers learn and work together. Using Web 2.0 tools educators can network with others around the globe extending traditional boundaries of ongoing, learner centered professional development and support. Presentations in this strand will include tips, ideas and resources on how to orchestrate your own professional development online; concrete examples of how the tools that support Professional Learning Environments (PLEs) are being used; how to create a supportive, reflective virtual learning community around school-based goals, and trends toward teacher directed personal learning environments.

Strand B: Obstacles to Opportunities
Boundaries formalized by education in the “industrial age” shouldn’t hinder educators as they seek to reform and transform their classroom practice. Playing with boundaries in the areas of copyright, digital discipline and ethics (e.g. cyberbullying), collaborating globally (e.g. cultural differences, synchronous communication), resistance to change (e.g. administration, teachers, students), school culture (e.g. high stakes testing), time (e.g. in curriculum, teacher day), lack of access to tools/computers, filtering, parental/district concerns for online safety, control (e.g. teacher control of student behavior/learning), solutions for IT collaboration and more — unearthing opportunities from the obstacles rooted in those boundaries — is the focus of presentations in this strand.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS:
This call encourages all, experienced and novice, to submit proposals to present at this conference via this link. Take this opportunity to share your successes, strategies, and tips in “playing with boundaries” in one of the four strands as described above.

Deadline for proposal submissions is June 18, 2007. You will be contacted no later than June 30, 2007 regarding your status.

Presentations may be delivered in any web-based medium that is downloadable (including but not limited to podcasts, screencasts, slide shows) and is due one week prior to the date it is published.

Please note that all presentations will be licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

As you draft your proposal, you may wish to consider the presentation topics listed below which were suggested in the comments on the K-12 Online Conference Blog:

  • » special needs education
  • » Creative Commons
  • » Second Life
  • » podcasting
  • » iPods
  • » video games in education
  • » specific ideas, tips, mini lessons centered on pedagogical use of web 2.0 tools
  • » overcoming institutional inertia and resistance
  • » aligning Web 2.0 and other projects to national standards
  • » getting your message across
  • » how web 2.0 can assist those with disabilities
  • » ePortfolios
  • » classroom 2.0 activities at the elementary level
  • » creating video for TeacherTube and YouTube
  • » google docs
  • » teacher/peer collaboration

KEYNOTES:
The first presentation in each strand will kick off with a keynote by a well known educator who is distinguished and knowledgeable in the context of their strand. Keynoters will be announced shortly.

CONVENERS:
This year’s conveners are:

Darren Kuropatwa is currently Department Head of Mathematics at Daniel Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is known internationally for his ability to weave the use of online social tools meaningfully and concretely into his pedagogical practice and for “child safe” blogging practices. He has more than 20 years experience in both formal and informal education and 13 years experience in team building and leadership training. Darren has been facilitating workshops for educators in groups of 4 to 300 for the last 10 years. Darren’s professional blog is called A Difference (http://adifference.blogspot.com). He will convene Classroom 2.0.

Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach, a 20-year educator, has been a classroom teacher, charter school principal, district administrator, and digital learning consultant. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member teaching graduate and undergraduate preservice teachers at The College of William and Mary (Virginia, USA), where she is also completing her doctorate in educational planning, policy and leadership. In addition, Sheryl is co-leading a statewide 21st Century Skills initiative in the state of Alabama, funded by a major grant from the Microsoft Partners in Learning program. Sheryl blogs at (http://21stcenturylearning.typepad.com/blog/). She will convene Preconference Discussions and Personal Learning Networks.

Wesley Fryer is an educator, author, digital storyteller and change agent. With respect to school change, he describes himself as a “catalyst for creative educational engagement.” His blog, “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” was selected as the 2006 “Best Learning Theory Blog” by eSchoolnews and Discovery Education. He is the Director of Education Advocacy (PK-20) for AT&T in the state of Oklahoma. Wes blogs at (http://www.speedofcreativity.org). Wes will convene New Tools.

Lani Ritter Hall currently contracts as an instructional designer for online professional development for Ohio teachers and online student courses with eTech Ohio. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who served in many capacities during her 35 years as a classroom and resource teacher in Ohio and Canada. Lani blogs at (http://possibilitiesabound.blogspot.com). Lani will convene Obstacles to Opportunities.

QUESTIONS?
If you have any questions about any part of this, email one of us:

  • » Darren Kuropatwa: dkuropatwa {at} gmail {dot} com
  • » Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach: snbeach {at} cox {dot} net
  • » Lani Ritter Hall: lanihall {at} alltel {dot} net
  • » Wesley Fryer: wesfryer {at} pobox {dot} com

Please duplicate this post and distribute it far and wide across the blogosphere. Feel free to republish it on your own blog (actually, we’d really like people to do that 😉 ) or link back to this post (published simultaneously on all our blogs).

Conference Tag: K12online07

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Tell the stories

If you haven’t seen this post, There’s something happening here!, by Lani of Possibilities Abound you need to. It tells a story, a story of learning that is so compelling that I wish classrooms around the world would take a look at and indeed see the possibilities. Darren Kuropatawa of A Difference is an amazing teacher. This is just one example of the many things he is doing.

He has his students reflect on their learning prior to unit testing. Lani explains it so well in her post and points to posts that capture the student voices.. Darren calls it Blogging on Blogging and his students shortened it to Bob. Now the students are taking over and telling the story. You can feel the electricity in the air that is alive with students postings, their feelings, and learning on their blogs. They are not only learning math but their writing on their blogs pulls you right into the classroom with them. It is the kind of writing/blogging that hooks me immediately! I love stories like these.

Then Lani shares another story about Eddie, a fifth grader here in Georgia. He discovered Darren’s blog, then the students’ blog and an incredible communication has evolved. They all are learning from each other. I was fortunate to be in the classroom and see Eddie’s face as he listened to the podcast where he was the topic of their conversation in class. Here is the excerpt of the part about Eddie (AboutEddie.mp3) but I would encourage you to listen to the whole podcast . Being able to enter a class of learning like Darren’s is made possible by all these incredible web tools that Darren so effectively weaves into his classroom learning environment.

As Lani says, “There’s something happening here. Are we listening?”

Tell the story to those around you. Tell your own stories. How could anyone not be amazed by stories like this?

Darren is truly making “A Difference”

Recently I presented a workshop session on blogging at the GaETC conference. I had a Skype call with Darren Kuropatwa. I wanted him to share the positive aspects of blogging that he had experienced with his class. Some amazing things came out of that call. First, Darren shared how his students summarize what they are learning through the scribe posts on the class blog. He explains it so well on the podcast. He uses a paradigm he borrowed from med school – watch it, do it, teach it. His students are writng the textbook for the class. The examples he shared were fantastic. He shared how he uses the chat box so his students have homework help 24-7. The students use delicious to create a resource file to help each class member. Then the wiki solutions manual is the space where students solve, annotate, and correct each others’ work. Listen to the podcast to get his explanations. What is so impressive to me is that Darren has truly put this in the hands of his students. They have ownership of their learning. They work as a team. It is the best use of blogging that I’ve seen in a classroom.

Then another story developed as we were skyping. I commented on the first time that I had seen Darren’s blog and how it blew me away. I am not and have never been a good math student but as I was reading his blog I got so excited because it made me feel that I could still learn these math concepts that had alluded me in the past. See my post here: A Math Weblog to Note. I can still remember that day and how I explored his blog in depth. It was exciting. Now the neat thing here is I heard the other side of that story, as did my workshop participants. Darren recalled how how intense the feeling was for him hearing how someone a half a continent away had been impacted by the work he was doing. Now here’s the best part of the story. Darren said his first reaction was “My students need to feel this.” His first thoughts were how to give that to his students. A true teacher! Now that’s a feeling that many of us have had and have seen firsthand when students blog. I’ve had many moments to share with students when they were just blown away that someone thought something they wrote was good or someone added to the conversation about something they were blogging about in class. Darren said in the skype call that this was what blogging is all about, that motivation from an authentic audience. I thought it would be good to share this piece because it could be used to share with administrators and others to get an idea of what blogging can be all about. Teachers need to set the stage and guide it. No one does that better than Darren.
I’ve thought about it a lot since the workshop and I’ve also thought about how Darren has captured the essence of blogging and then gone that extra step to share it all with others. Then each year he has built on the pedagogy and shaped and reshaped his learning and teaching. Darren is not just a math teacher. He is an incredible writing teacher as well. He knows how to use writing, blogging, and the Internet to learn. He guides his class and steps aside to let them own it. Just check out Living in Whoville and you’ll see. It gives me chills.This digital story is a class project. You can see links to some of the other projects that tell the story of what his kids have accomplished. It is awesome.
Now listen to the podcast, DarrenAnne.mp3, and listen to the two sides of the story. Just think what could lie ahead for our students! It is inspiring. He is really empowering the student in a way that totally focuses on the pedagogy – no small task. Plus the work is in the hands of the students. They own it! It is a model to follow. I can’t wait to cast my vote this year in the EduBlog Awards 2006.

Another best practice

I got a call from Patrick McCloskey, a reporter for Teacher Magazine who is writing an article about Will. He was asking me questions about the Georgia-NJ Collaboration. It’s really funny how things work out sometimes because last evening I had been going through some boxes from my recent move. I came across files I had saved from that collaboration. The conversations between those students were exceptional. Even though this is from the 2002-2003 school year I thought it would be great to post as a best practice. Kristine was a high school students from Will’s journalism class who was mentoring Lucy (my fifth grader). She took a “Free Speech” article from Time for Kids and used the article to show the different elements and parts of the story. Not only did she explain what each part does but also what it should include. It was color coded and Kristine’s thoughts were put in “bold”. It was outstanding. It is worthy of being reposted:

Note:  The colors show up much better on the pdf file link which is at the bottom of this post. Copy and paste on a different template brings less than desirable results! 

March 19, 2003
Kristine

Free Speech From Time For Kids

Using this article we have broken down the different elements and parts of the story and explained what each does, and what it should include.

*My comments are in bold

Stephen Downs, 61, and his 31-year-old son, Roger, went shopping at a mall in Guilderland, New York, last Monday. They got a lot more than they bargained for.

The two had T-shirts printed. Roger’s said, “No War with Iraq.” His dad’s said, “Peace on Earth.” They put on the shirts over their other clothes. The antiwar messages caught the attention of a security guard, who asked the men to take off the shirts. They refused. The guard came back with a police officer, who asked them to remove the shirts or leave. Roger took his off, but his dad still said no.

“I said, ‘All right then, arrest me if you have to,'” Stephen Downs recalls. “So they did. They put the handcuffs on and took me away.” Two days later, about 100 protesters marched in the mall to support Downs. A trespassing charge was dropped, but both men were upset.

“I think he’d like an apology,” Roger said of his father.

-The lead of the article ends here and this lead does a good job of setting up the article so the reader knows what its going to be about. At the same time it tries to grab the reader’s attention by describing the situation and including an arrest and police involvement. It does its job because everyone wants to know what happened to these people after they got arrested and what exactly they got in trouble for.

Americans treasure free speech and expression. Our right to share our ideas–by writing them in books, shouting them at a rally or ironing them onto T-shirts–is protected by the First Amendment. The amendment is one of 10 in the Bill of Rights, added to the Constitution in 1791. Lawmakers of the day passed the Bill of Rights because they believed that some key freedoms, including speech protection, should be part of the Constitution.

-This is what is called a nutgraph. It’s purpose is to clarify what the story is about, and explain it in further detail then the lead did. It clears up any unanswered questions that the lead might have created.

But First Amendment experts say that the right to speak freely comes with an unwritten requirement to act responsibly. “Many Americans have an overdeveloped sense of rights and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility,” says Sam Chaltain, coordinator of the First Amendment Schools project. “Our rights are spelled out in the First Amendment. But the amendment will work only if we guard the rights of those with whom we disagree.”

-The first sentence in this paragraph is the set-up of the quote that follows it. It prepares the reader for what point the quote will be proving. This particular quote works well because it further explains what the writer is trying to convey to the reader. Immediately following the quote you name the source who said the quote.

With a possible war in Iraq looming, emotions across the country are running high. Last Wednesday, tens of thousands of high school and college students all over America left their classrooms and staged large antiwar demonstrations. Other Americans feel just as strongly about expressing support for our leaders’ decisions. Those groups also held rallies and spoke out. When the two points of view clash, trouble can follow.

Take Toni Smith, a basketball player for Manhattanville College in New York. Because she objects to certain U.S. policies, she does not salute the flag as the national anthem is played before her games. (this paragraph gives examples. lets the reader know that there are other things that relate to this story that have happened in the past)

Some opposing teams’ fans began to boo Smith. They wore American flag pins and waved the flag to taunt her. On February 23, a Vietnam War veteran came onto the court and held a flag in front of her. He was thrown out of the arena–not for expressing his view but for disrupting the game.

“Toni Smith was being patriotic by doing what she felt she must,” Chaltain told TFK. “Every person who chose to stand and put a hand over his heart during the anthem was exercising the same freedom.” (A good quote backs up the statement)

The First Amendment is often amended itself. Court decisions have limited its freedoms to protect individuals’ privacy or national security, among other goals. But speaking out, whether in favor of the government’s policies or against them, is among the fundamental rights–and responsibilities–of every American. It is, in fact, at the very heart of our democracy.

-The final paragraph of the article should sum up all of the points made within it. No new information should be added Free Speech From Time For Kids

Lucy shared it with all my kids and we had the opportunity to really share ideas, thoughts, and new learnings. What was really terrific was discovering later that Will did not even know that Kristine had done this until after I told him about Lucy’s blog. Kristine had the initiative to do this on her own, and on her own time. Will’s day was made (good teacher that he is) and boy, mine was too. I still get charged each time I read it!
There are other examples like this throughout the project. The learning and colloboration was personalized. Here’s the original link

Here is a link(LucyJNJ.pdf )to the pdf file where I had transferred the blog posts. I think when I get a few moments I will add all of these GA/NJ files to my weblog projects page, in case any of you are interested in reading more. The possibilities that blogging bring about are limitless!

A best practice

If you haven’t read Ewan’s post, Does blogging affect attainment? Yes!, and its comments, you need to! Take special note of Ewan’s reply to the comments.

Stephen’s right that we need more examples – although I read examples every week in my RSS feeds of where social software have improved the learner experience. I do have a question though, which might need to be a blog post: how can you link attainment to social software? I don’t think you can, because there are so many other factors at play, including the quality of the teacher.

Researchers tend to have a disrespect for anecdotal evidence yet, when it comes from experienced teachers, it’s worth far more than stats from someone who doesn’t really know where those students have come from.

Like Ewan, I frequently read examples in my RSS feeds and on my blog comments where social software has improved the learner experience. Note this most recent comment from Brandi.

I felt like that was the richest discourse we had ever had.

These kind of comments are heard over and over. I’ve got to get back to this and will but what I wanted to point out was a best practice that I observed as I followed the links on Ewan’s post. Progress Report is a blog that is written by a student who talks about her tutoring experiences. Her tutor is Chistine McIntosh, none other than Ewan’s mum! The comments Chris has made to the student on her blog are one of the best examples of “best practice” that I have seen. Check out all the great comments Chris has given “the teens”. What a great model for other edubloggers to see! Her blog, blethers, is a great read, too. Check it out!

NECC 2006 Notes

I spent some time over the weekend following all the NECC postings. It really is terrific to be able to attend in such a way. It seems the conversations were the best part. I’ve listened to podcasts, read posts and viewed some great pictures. It really is like being there.

There was great coverage from so many bloggers. Wow! Have we come a long way! One standout for me was Julie Lindsay of elarning blog . She did a terrific job of posting about many of the NECC sessions. Thanks Julie, for such great coverage.

Check out these podcasts from K12.org:

Will Richardson on Learning with Blogs

Tom Hoffman on School Tool Project

Michelle Moore on Moodle Course Managment System

Adam Frey on WikiSpaces

Webcasts of many of the sessions are located here and bloggers are listed here. Rolly Maiquez took picture after picture, even one with the url for a great catalog of Open Source Sofware for Education. It is fun seeing all the pictures so thanks to all who took the time to include those.

One of the best parts of blogging is the lessons you can learn from those who are taking the time to enjoy some side trips during the conference. Eric Langhorst of Speaking of History provided a great podcast of a tour he and another educator took of the USS Midway. Eric said:

It was such a thrill to walk on the flight deck and think of all the amazing history that took place on this ship. Not only did this ship see action in war, it also picked up the astronauts as they returned from the moon. The Midway was in service for 47 years and was home to over a quarter of a million sailors in her career.

The podcast is great. Don’t miss it! Eric is an eight grade history teacher from Missouri. He has a great blog.

Jen W of technospud provided an interesting male vs. female post that is an interesting read. And the NECC Edblogger meet up at Rock Bottom sounded like great fun. I wish I could have been there.

And Kathy Schrock closed the session with a wrap up that is highlighted by Suzanne on In the Heart of a Teacher is a Student. Now the fifth grade blogging video that Kathy used just happens to be my kids from J. H. House Elementary School so even if I couldn’t be there, my kids were! How cool is that! Here’s the video, Possibilities, from my Wrinkles blogging group featuring Emily and Jennifer!




Blogging policy at its best

In my workshop last week I had referred to the AHS blogging policy. It
is an excellent example. One feature of it that I really liked was the section
on “Successful bloggers”. This approach is so much more uplifting than a list
of “do not’s.” Approaching blogging from the angle of what bloggers should
aspire to achieve. It doesn’t get better than that. An example of what
appropriate blogging for schools looks like is provided. This tangible example
really helps. It is actual work taken from an AHS classroom blog, with typos
corrected. This policy is a model for us to aspire to achieve. You may want to
adapt parts to fit your school’s needs and reshape it to meet your objectives. 

Through some conversations with Karl Fisch I learned how they developed the policy. Karl intitially developed the blogging policy (researching heavily from sources around the web). He is the Director of Technology and did the initial legwork. Then he asked his teachers who were going through staff development to add their suggestions at this pbwiki. Then they posted it and shared it with the students in their classes who were blogging and asked for their feedback. Karl told me that they only made minor changes based on that feedback. However, they envision this as a “living” document – anticipating that they will need to make changes as they learn more and as the technology changes. Karl was attempting to setup some guidelines that would help, without getting too rigid or leaving themselves open to problems if they didn’t have something out there. Karl also wanted to stay away from anything too formal (like school board policy or anything) because he feared that could lead to a shutdown of blogging altogether should they have a problem. I had a previous post, Teachable Moments and Building Models about a problem that they had which they handled so well through conversations with staff and students These conversations took place on blogs and on a personal level. Then the other aspect of this blogging policy is the inclusion of students in the process. That is top-notch! Thanks Karl for sharing and pass on the thanks to your students and teachers.

Parent voices on blogs can be profound

Zachary’s weblog has so many outstanding posts. He is a fifth grader from J.H. House who will be moving on to middle school next year. He is one of the student bloggers in Hillary’s Blog Write group. I believe Zach will continue blogging. I sure hope he does. He has quite a voice. His mom, Robin, has commented frequently on his blog and entered the conversations throughout the year, not just with Zach but with other students as well. I wanted to point you toward his blog because it is an excellent model to share with other parents or others who are interested in commenting on your student blogs. I remember when I first started blogging with elementary students, the parents were so excited to have a window into their child’s world. Now that was four years ago and try as I did, I was not successful in getting them to enter the conversations. Now if I had had Zach’s blog to show them I think it would have helped give them ideas and let them see a “real-life” example. Here’s one example but the blog is peppered with them and they are all terrific. Check out this one where Robin talks about a comment another blogger made that some thought might be hurtful to Zach. Yes, parents’ voices on blogs can be profound. What a great avenue to let them be a part of the conversations. Hmmmm, I hope Robin starts a blog, too. I’d quickly add her to my Bloglines account.