Thing 4: Blogging Begins With Reading

The first blog that I read was “Why I don’t assign homework” by Dan Meyer.  There are a lot of different opinions regarding giving homework  to students.  When I taught 8th grade Math at a title 1 school, a majority of the students did not do their homework.  Most of the student’s parents were unable to help them, especially the Hispanic students.  This was unfortunate because we only had 50 minute classes and the students were not able to master the large amount of  material that we were required to teach.  Several students stayed after school 2 days a week to get help and extra practice.  That was 3 years ago.   Today, at the same school, the math classed are 90 minutes long  and the students have more opportunities to get extra help.

I have taught at a private school for the last 2 years.   I give a small homework assignment after each class period, to see if the students understood or mastered the concept that we were working  on in class.  Unlike public schools, our student have an opportunity at the end of the day (study hall) or during a break time to get help if needed.

The second blog that I read,  “Spies Like Us”, by cool Cat Teacher “Vicki Davis”, deals with the inappropriate use of technology by students.  Vicki sites several examples where student have used cell phone to record teachers yelling at students  after they have been set up and provoked. Several of  these recordings were then displayed on YouTube.  Vicki wants teachers to be aware at all times and to always use ethical behavior.  She also recommend that students be educated about appropriate ethical behavior when recording other students and teachers and that school administrators set up policies with consequences for inappropriate use of technology.  Most of the comments to this blog were from other teachers and administrators thanking Vicki for researching and writing about a very “though provoking” issue.

Engaging your Classroom:  How Jim Cramer Made Me a Better Teacher of English Language Learners.” by Mathew Needleman, was the third blog that I read.   Mathew Needleman models his teaching of ELL students by watching  Jim Cramer on the “Mad Money” show.  Mathew uses props (physicals that are used as symbols) and sound effects to engage the ELL students that he teaches.  He makes the statement in his blog that teachers today need to “entertain” their students in order to get them to pay attention in class.   There were many comments in this blog from teachers agreeing that teachers need to be more entertaining in the classroom.  Several teachers thanked Mathew for the link to the “Sound effects board”

The fourth blog that I read,  was  “Patrick’s Update“.  This blog was  about an at risk fifth grader (Patrick) who struggled with reading an writing in school.  Patrick’s brother told him he would fail 5th grade.  This comment made Patrick determined to prove to his brother that he was not stupid.  Many of the comments in this blog were words of encourage from other students and teachers to Patrick.  Many felt that the writing that he displayed in his blog showed that he was a smart student and with a lot of effort, he would pass 5th grade.

The last blog that I read was “duck with a blog”.  This blog consisted of writing responses (fictional or nonfictional) from second grade students about the missing duck in a picture.

After reading 5 different blogs,  I noticed that the type of writing used depends on the purpose and style of the author/writer.  A blog can be used to help spread information to a specific group of people, such as teachers and administrators (  Spies Like Us”).  It can be used as an interactive teaching tool ( “Duck with a Blog,  “How Jim Cramer made me a better teacher”); it can be used for encouragement ( “Patrick’s Update”); and it can be used to share an opinion or  try to persuade the way people to think  or feel about a certain topic (“Why I don’t assign homework”).

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