Category Archives: Kudos

The worldwide classroom

It’s nice to see Jo McLeay’s good work spotlighted on an article entitled The worldwide classroom in The

Quotes from the article:

Her blog, The Open Classroom, seeks to construct “an identity in the blogosphere while reflecting on learning and teaching and technology”.

“People comment and join in the discussion – it is like the conversations you would have in the staff room or at a teachers’ conference but these are with professionals from all over the world. It is a wonderful resource,” Ms McLeay says.

And it is now a resource that is being shared with her students.

“I had one girl’s mum who was so thrilled because teachers from around the world had commented so favourably about her daughter’s writing,” Ms McLeay says. “It gives the students a more authentic audience for their work and enables them to communicate with kids their own age who are living in completely different environments to their own.”

“It is just such a dynamic, invigorating medium, not only for teachers but for the students as well,” she says.

Now I just pulled a few of the great quotes. Jo does such a good job. I love seeing her efforts recognized. Be sure to read the entire article. She talks about her years 9 and 10 writing students sharing blogs with a school in a remote area of northern Canada. This is what it is all about. Kudos to Jo and her kids!

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms

Wahoo! It was so exciting to recieve Will’s book in the mail. Finally, a book on blogging written from an educator’s perspective. Nobody could have written it better than Will. I know it will spark teachers on to go forth and blog and experiment with other powerful web tools for classrooms. Will has given educators lots of food for thought about how learning occurs with respect to the web. My desire is that they will start thinking about the possiblilities. I hope many teachers will read the book and think long and hard about education in our classrooms today. I especially hope that new voices will enter the arena and that there will be a learning explosion like none we have had before. I know, I am the eternal optimist but I say let’s dare to dream. The book is a great start. Well done, Will, well done!

Commenters who make a difference!

I’ve posted earlier about Lani and the difference she has made for my blogging students this year. Another person making a difference is Bronwyn G.

Bronwyn G’s profile tells me she is female, a writer, and from Australia. I could not find an email address on A Witness to Tolerance to write to her. I wanted to thank her for her comments. What a writer she is! You know, this is one of the best aspects of blogs, it’s the people you meet and then the conversations, connections, and learning that develop. I follow a lot of blogs, especially the student blogs and I have found Bronwyn G’s “blog-prints” on many of them. I’ve read her comments to these students: Chloe, Jadae, Jason, Derrick, Graciela, Marisela, Angel, Jose-Juan, Zachary, (on Zachary’s note the additional comment to his mom – awesome!) and Ellie.

I’m sure there are more. Of course, I have to follow them. I love her responses. She is so encouraging yet pushes the students to think and kindly offers gentle suggestions for improvement. She’s offered her thoughts on mine as well, like here when I was thinking about podcasts. That is so appreciated! She even extended a warm welcome to Miss Neville, a young teacher just starting a school blog.

Her blog is also a great model to teach writing. I plan to use her opening paragraph of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer as an example to show students how to really hook a reader. Her comments always lead me in different directions along paths I hadn’t anticipated. This is not aimless surfing but the following of connections and seeing how we learn from one another. I can’t foresee the results but almost invariably a new thought or a way of applying this learning will emerge.

There’s nothing more motivating for young bloggers than having mentors who are really listening, caring and responding. I wanted to extend a personal thank you to both Lani and Bronwyn G. I think they should both consider writing their suggestions for commenting. They are exceptional! I also think we need to spend more time teaching our students the value and the power of commenting back and forth on blogs. I’ve experimented with comment starters and had discussions about comments but I plan to do more exploring in this area.

Hillary Meeler featured in Education World!

My heart warms every time I read about J.H. House and the good work that is being done there. Education World in ”Writing with Weblogs’ features Hillary Meeler of BlogWrite. It spotlights the good work that Hillary and the students are doing with blogging. Just listen to her words in the opening paragraph:

“The best part of blogging for students is receiving the comments [from others],” says Hillary Meeler. “Every week, my students are filled with anticipation and excitement as they open their blogs to read the new comments. Having an audience encourages them to focus on their writing. They realize that people are reading their posts, and that they do have a voice. They enjoy being heard.”

Hillary describes the weekly sessions with her fifth-graders and explains the selection process, the learning connections they are making and her observations on the blogging experience. We all know how hard it is to get other teachers involved in the many
benefits of blogging so if I were asked what I was most grateful for in 2005 as pertains to blogging, Hillary Meeler would be top on my list.

She is continuing the blogging experience at J.H. House and getting many voices heard, as the article most aptly states here:
The blogging experience has convinced Meeler that even elementary level students can participate successfully in blogging. She believes that every student has a voice that can be heard through the instant publication of a post, and that everyone can learn something from the different voices of children.

So, keep up the good work Hillary. Next week Georgia State will be sponsoring another legislative event to thank our legislators
and spotlight some of the good things going on in technology with our Georgia students. Two of Hillary’s bloggers will be joining us at the event. I just know some legislators will see first hand the value of blogging that night. I can’t wait!

A wired success story featuring Tim Lauer

Kudos to Tim! The December/January issue of the Connected Newsletter from Classroom Connect features a wired success story featuring Tim Lauer of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School. He is interviewed about his school’s use of Instiki software.

Listen to his explanation of  how the wiki software works:

On their computers, students can click a bookmark that says rendezvous.

This lets them see their teacher’s laptop computer. It acts like a

server. Rendezvous takes them right into their wiki page on the

teacher’s laptop. The kids find their names, click the edit button, and

write. Then they update or save, and it’s saved on their teacher’s



night at home, the teacher can go through the browser, open each

student’s work, and type comments underneath their work. At school the

next day, the students can click on their wiki page and see the

comments that the teacher has writtten. It’s really simple.


the wiki saves every version a kid has done. The teacher can go back in

time and see if words were cut. The deleted words will be struck out

and if words are added, they will be highlighted.

How cool is this. The teacher can just open her laptop and run the

wiki. It’s great to see him recognized in the newsletter. I looked but

I don’t believe there is a copy online. Tim does so many good things at

his school and still finds the time to share some of the best and most

useful possiblities for the instructional use of technology.

 I always look forward to reading his blog, Education/Technology! And one of these days I AM going to learn how to use photographs the way he does.  I love the design of his blogs!

Teacher stimulates learning with weblogs

[Macro error: Can’t call the script because the name “pictureref” hasn’t been defined.]
She is a master of juggling and keeping all

the balls in the air,” said House Principal Joyce Hooper. “She has so

many projects going at the same time and does all of them equally well.”. 

That quote comes from an article, Teacher stimulates learning with weblogs.

It is a feature on Hillary Meeler in the local newsletter. She has been

doing a great job blogging with the kids and it’s cool to see the local

paper recognize her good work. 

In Hillary’s own words:

“The kids feel they have a voice and people care what they think,”

Hillary Meeler said about her students who post Web logs, or blogs, on

the Internet. “They don’t even know they’re getting excited about

writing. They are so motivated.”

If you haven’t seen the class blog, BlogWrite, check it out. The

article also takes note of House Highlights. On that blog she

spotlights all the many things going on at the school.

Kudos to Hillary! She deserves it! Also, Hillary and some other local

teachers are going to be presenting at GAetc and I bet we will get more

Georgia educators blogging. Hooray!  Great work, Hillary!


BlogWrite and Remote Access



Enter Blogging 101: Weblogs go to school

Among the youngest members of the blogosphere are these fifth-grade students

at J.H. House Elementary in Conyers, GA. Their blogs have attracted

readers from across the globe.

So reads the

caption for one of these great photos above. These students are none

other than Hillary Meeler’s blogging crew from J.H. House Elementary

School. See the class blog, BlogWrite, which links to all the student

blogs. They were spotlighted on CNet, along with Clarence Fisher‘s

combined seventh- and eighth-grade class in Snow Lake, Manitoba.

More from CNet:

As blogging enters the classroom and takes its place alongside reading,

writing and ‘rithmetic, adult Web surfers have the chance to relive the

trials and tribulations of the wonder years.CNet 

says the student  entries can amuse, charm and captivate with

their simplicity and candidness. The best of them approach literature,

with real-life voices reminiscent of the fictional creations of Lynda Barry and Sandra Cisneros.

The article includes

some excerpts from the students. It was great to read  an article

spotlightighting these two teachers. Other student bloggers were also

recognized. Hats off to Hillary and Clarence! Keep up the good work!

I’ve got lots more to say on the comments that followed this article but the night is late – a post is brewing!



Kudos to Hillary!

Hillary is getting the job done at J.H. House!  Hillary Meeler is the Instructional Technology Specialist. She worked with me last year on The Write Weblog. This year, the school purchased TypePad and Hillary is getting blogs up and going, one by one. It is so exciting!

First, here is her House Highlights. Then check out Principal’s Quest IICounselor’s Corner,  Get Your Blog in Shape, and Get Your Blog in Tune.I

know lots more will follow. Mrs. Goode of ‘Get Your Blog in Tune’ is

new to blogging this year so drop by and give her a warm welcoming


I was browsing the new J.H. House website. It looks spiffy – even has a ‘Meet Our Bloggers’ page. Kudos to Hillary!


Michael Lackner’s Poster Session

If you are at NECC I sure hope you got by Michael Lackner’s poster session “Weblogs in Education: Cutting Edge Uses of This Emerging Technology”.

Now I just posted I can’t be there but I am there!

Case in point……..this is yet again another way technology and those

creating the resources are making a difference. We can’t be there in

person but we get to participate. Of course, I’d rather be there

talking to Michael but this is the next best thing! Thanks Michael for

this terrific resource!

Here’s the outline:


I. Weblog background

a. Definition

b. Research and Pedagogy Behind Use

c. Examples of Practical Educational Uses and Applications

II. Sharing of Weblogs

a. Student use

b. Teacher use

c. Professional Development

d. ELL

III. Starting Your Own Blog

a. Review of Weblog providers

b. Provide handout with tips for starting your own weblog

Here’s a link to it.

It’s even got a downloadable

PowerPoint presentation. His web site is very comprehensive – and I

really like his reviews of weblog services, It has everything you would

want to know, even down to ratings for ease of use.

Bookmarks, definitions, quotes, instructional uses,  and my

favorite……… Bloom’s Taxonomy!  It is going to be so nice to

have this reference. He has answered many of the recurring questions

about blogging. Thanks again, Michael, for such a wonderful resource!

He also explains cool applications for blogs like Chatango,

TagBoard,  and Blogpoll.

Michael is going to be at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore as the

Upper School Technology Coordinator and Emerging Technologies Teacher.

He’s going to be able to put his passion  for integrating weblogs

throughout the curriculum next year. That’s way overdue and I am so

excited about that!  He has really been missed in the weblog world

this year!


Patrick passed!

I know those of you following Patrick‘s

progress never doubted this but he passed and will be in the 6th grade

next year. I received this message on a get well card from Mrs. Hooper, the principal.

Patirck scored a 3 (Exceeds

Expectations) in every area of the CRCT so he did way more than just

pass! Thank you for all you did to help him!

To which I say thank you to all of

my blogging friends who cheered him on! It was a team blogging effort!

It paid off in more ways than one. Ah yes, the joys of blogging!