Category Archives: Connections

Student-to-student blogging questions

Students in my elementary blogging group compiled questions to ask Mr. Fisher’s class. I love the questions. I thought it might be fun to post them here and if any of you would like to tackle one of the questions yourselves it would be fun to compile those answers to share with students and others.

  1. What strategies do you use in blogging?
  2. How does blogging help you as a writer? As a reader? As a publisher?
  3. What are some tips on how to proofread on a blog?
  4. When you post how do you get the ideas to post about your topic?
  5. What is your favorite blog, your favorite post, and your favorite comment and please give your reasons for your choices?
  6. Has anyone given you tips about blogging? What would be the 3 most important tips you would give?
  7. What is your favorite or the most interesting thing you like about blogging?
  8. What makes you want to comment to a blog?
  9. What is the worst problem you have in blogging?
  10. How does blogging help you in school or anywhere?
  11. How has blogging gotten better since you started?
  12. What is your perspective on blogging? What does blogging mean to you?
  13. How have other people’s comments helped you in blogging?
  14. What are some verbs you would use to describe blogging? Some adjectives?
  15. What inspired you to do blogging? Do you think you will blog later?
  16. How do you feel when you get comments?
  17. What have you learned in blogging?
  18. How does blogging help you make friends?
  19. How have other people’s comments helped you in blogging?
  20. How did you feel when you first started blogging? Were you nervous, scared, happy? How do you feel now?
  21. Does blogging help you learn more in writing and language?
  22. What do you think of your blog?
  23. How has your blogging gotten better since you started?
  24. Is blogging a part of your life?
  25. How do you respond to other blogs (what sequence)?
Flick Photo –
So step right up, pick a number (more if you like) and post your answer in a comment. Thanks for giving a little time to share your thoughts and ideas with these “budding” bloggers!

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?

The Dunoon/Georgia Connection in San Francisco

I love this blogging world. Where else can moments like this seem to keep happening? I keep getting blown away by such moments. A couple of weeks ago I found out that since NECC was in Atlanta this year my travel budget was letting me attend another conference. Several searches later I found a conference in San Francisco that fit the bill with what I wanted to learn. I only had a week to make it happen and the fares were out of sight. Yikes! I have some travel funds but they weren’t going to stretch to cover expenses with fares topping out at 5 or 600 dollars. I tried Hotwire for the first time and found an incredible fare through some special offer. You have to book it before you know the schedule but they guaranteed no more than one stop and that you will arrive on the same day. I went for it and lucked out with a non stop out and one stop returning with a fantastic fare of $269 round trip. I took that as an omen that I was meant to go and little did I know what was going to unfold. The conference has been absolutely awesome. I’ll be blogging about it for a while because my schedule has been jammed packed with some of the best sessions I have ever attended. I haven’t had many moments to stop and blog but the blogging will follow over the next few days. I want to share.

Then to top of a spectacular few days this comment arrived on my blog from Ewan McIntosh, one of my most favorite Scottish edubloggers.

My mum’s in SF, too! If you want to hook up send me/her an email . In the meantime I’ll find out where she’s staying and when. I’m sure she’d find it cool to meet up if you’re both around long enough.

Another comment followed:

She’s there from Friday well into next week. Drop a line if you want to meet her up for a drink or a meal – she’s up for it!

Wow! I was up for such an encounter! Ewan’s mum Chris and I have struck up a cyber friendship through our mutual love of teaching and learning. She is my kind of blogger. I love her spirit and think she has a voice that needs to be heard. She connects with my students and really makes a difference through her excellent comments on their blogs.

So Chris and I connected through numerous emails and had a smashing good time last night eating at a great restaurant, the Palomino, right close to the Golden Gate Bridge. (The website doesn’t do this restaurant justice so try it out if you are in San Francisco.



I also got to meet Ewan’s dad John. He’s pretty special too. AnneChris1320.jpgChris and I described ourselves to each other and met in the lobby of the Hyatt. You can tell from the pictures how much fun we had. You would have thought we had all known each other for years. We had great conversations ranging from family, to W, to stateside driving, to blogging, to learning, to education, and oh I could go on and on. It was non stop and so much fun. I find it incredible that our paths crossed in San Francisco and that we had the chance to meet up. Chris and John came back to my room so Chris could blog and write some emails. It was sad to part but I can’t help but think that we’ll meet up once again. Meanwhile we’ll keep connecting through the blogging. We took time out for Chris to record a podcast for my kids so I’ll be able to take this special connection back to share with the kids. How cool is that? Take a sneak preview here:Chris.MP3 The kids will hear it on Tuesday. They will love it! Where else but in cyberspace and how else but through blogging could such encounters occur? Good on you Ewan. Now how are you going to top this? Chris coined it as one of these strange flukes of fate that seem to accompany Ewan’s activities, I say bring on some more of those moments Ewan. It was grand!

Julie Coiro


One of the highlights at this conference was getting to meet Julie Coiro. She is at the University of Connecticut and is part of the New Literacies Research Team. See the link here

This is an excerpt on this site about what they do:

We engage in systematic inquiry to define what students need to learn and how best to assess and teach these new skills. What also defines us is our extraordinary collaborative approach. We work as colleagues, recognizing the valuable insights that each person brings to the inquiry process. Professors, graduate researchers, teachers, school leaders, and others work shoulder to shoulder, equally contributing to the inquiry process and respecting one another as colleagues.

Her handout link from the session is here. Julie talked for a bit, then we participated in an activity. She talked about some things related to evaluatiing on the internet and we took a look at some scary things about kids on the internet in terms of what they don’t know. Most of her work has been with 5th to 7th graders.

She began her session with three stories that will really get your thinking. Take a listen to NewLiteraciesPerspective.mp3 .

Julie’s site has some dynamite activities with lessons to help our students evaluate relevancy, accuracy, reliability and point of view. She has tables showing student responses to some good questions. Ask your students some of the questions. You may be surprised at their answers. Students know you can’t believe everything on the Internet… but they do! She talks about how the authors shape the information and then hones in on the conversations we need to have with our students and questions we should be asking.

There is so much to share from her session and I am just beginning but another session calls for now.

I have so much to blog about from this wonderful conference. It’s going to take me a bit. Plus it is so encouraging to talk to the participants who are out there working for many of the same goals we’ve been talking about the past few years. You should consider attending this conference next year. It will be in January back in San Francisco!

And I had a fabulous night last night connecting with Chris and John McIntosh. It was such a special evening and I’ll be blogging about that.

I’m soaring!

What a day!

The night is late but I wanted to make a quick post. Today has been fantastic. This is one of the best conferences I have attended! I got in David Warlick’s session and Julie Coiro’s session. Both were excellent presentations and my head is spinning with so many ideas. I’ll post about both later but here’s an excerpt from Davie’s sessions that will whet your appetite.

I’ll post an excerpt from Julie’s session as soon as I can edit it. Then Ellin Keene’s keynote “To Understand” was outstanding also. There’s much to share from her session. Unfortunately my Edirol was zonked after running for 6 hours!

Then the day ended up with a comment from Ewan telling me that his mom Chris was going to be in San Franciso tomorrow so it looks like we are going to get to meet! How cool is that! This is going to be a conference to remember!

I can barely hold my eyes open so I’m off to get some rest so I will be ready for tomorrow…..a day of learning and then connecting and meeting face-to-face with one of my favorite bloggers from Scotland. Awesome! A special thanks to Ewan for making it happen!

Posts that will make you think

Obstacles, challenges, questions, and many other issues are being blogged about in this professor’s class. Take a look at these post titles:

What 2 do a/b IM-Spk

Teaching Writing and Pulling Teeth

Choice withing mandated curriculum

Challenges of the technological age

In defense of PowerPoint

Technology and Language

Thoughts on the Art of Wrangling 6th Graders

Teaching with Technology: Harmonious Chaos

The Practical Impractically of Technology

To be technical, or not to be technical? That is the question.

How much is too much? 

Now one or more of those just have to whet your appetite. Travel over to the student blogs and give them some input on many questions that we have already tossed around over the past few years. It gives you a good view on what’s going on inside the heads of our students who are face-to-face with some of the obstacles we have encountered. then just hearing another view can help with their learning. This class has just started blogging this semester. Hearing from others outside their class may just keep those voices in the arena! Help them overcome their obstacles!

New takes on tipping points

See Graham Wegner’s interpretaion of the Web 2.0 Tipping Point For Education which was adapted so well by John Connell on his post, What if…? Graham liked John’s improvement, I do too! This got me thinking about the obstackes we still face. At times they can really get you down. However, Graham’s comment pointed to Rachel’s take on both images. Rachel is tipping us in the right direction:

Very good John I saw this on Graham’s site but you add an interesting dimension to it that shows how we really have to put ourselves out their on the edge if we want to make a difference. It’s a little scary sometimes and requires determination & self belief but i wouldn’t be anywhere else!

So I’m staying up even though from time to time we can tip in “down” mode when thinking about the obstacels. I love fusing the humor in with the learning. Humor synthesizes learning. We need more of it. This puts me in the right frame of mind as I am thinking about the K12 Online2006 Conference coming up. Keep all this in mind as we head towards the last part, the obstacles!

I’ve been thinking of ways to take obstacles and turn them into opportunities. I encourage you to do the same. Got any ideas, pass them this way!

Writing on Educational Blogs

The professor I’ve been working with who has just started using blogs with her students this semester poses the following question on Bridging Literacies:

I would like to invite the readers of this blog to join us in defining the kinds of literacy and writing expected from teacher educators and their students on educational, as opposed to personal, blogs. What kind of writing and social practices should educational blogs model to teacher and student bloggers?

Read her entire post here. She is exploring the world of blogs and is seeking to have responsible, thoughtful blogging with her students on course content .  If you have a moment, share your thoughts with her.

Join the comment parade!


I’m joining in on this parade to send accolades to Lani, Nancy, Vicki, and Chris! They took the time to comment to the new bloggers from the EDLA 7550 class. It looks like the class is getting ready to beginning to strike up some interesting conversations on music in Shakespeare’s language. Can’t you hear the band? The professor asks this question on her blog:

How can you help students understand the power of his language, appreciate the beauty of his speeches and recognize the universality of characters and themes in Shakespearean and contemporary discourses?

Now I know you don’t want to miss out on these conversations. So join the parade and add your own thought provoking comments.

Again, thank you Lani, Nancy, Vicki and Chris for leading the way!

It made me think about a previous post I made, Comments make a difference.

It is the connector for our students and students of all ages will appreciate you joining the parade.

An uplifting comment

I received a nice comment from John Connell, a blogger from Scotland, telling me not to get too down in the dumps about DOPA. He notes that there is a groundswell of disapproval for this dangerous piece of legislation from outside the USA too. You just have to love this blogging world! In particular, I have special places in my heart for Scotland, Canada, and Australia! And to think that our students may be prevented from having such connections of support and learning in our schools! Grrrrr!

I am moving forward with some renewed vigor to plan and IMPLEMENT some good blogging models. My next few posts will be some think pieces of various aspects of blogging and social networking that I want to share. I welcome feedback.

So thanks John for the comment. It was just the spark I needed!