Beth Holland

Food for thought…

Teaching with Web 2.0

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I’m really flustered. Flustered with myself, with my curriculum, and with school in general. See, I want more. I want to teach with blogs and wikis and podcasts. I want the kids to get creative and take on the world. Thing is, I can’t seem to really do that in 45 minutes a week.I’ve had a great start to the fall with my 8th graders. They learned a ton about the election and the candidates, and even got excited enough to do an after-school project. In September, we learned about the issues: what is a political issue, what is politics, what are the current party platforms, what are the major issues for the ’08 election. Then, in October, I split the grade into parties. Each class voted on a person to represent the candidates (both chose female students), and then they all served as advisors to the candidate. As a final event, the candidates delivered stump speeches to the entire middle school after they had been briefed by their advisors. You can read some of the position paragraphs and see their  NY Times Polling Places photos on the student website.

Some of my other classes have also started out pretty well. I’m using the Learning at the Extreme website with 6th grade. 5th is currently creating virtual explorations of the ancient caves of France and Spain. Lower school kids are doing lower school things: making fossil puzzles, learning geography, playing “regions riddles.”

However, I still come back to the idea of the Read/Write Web. I’m really not taking advantage of it, but without tying my 45 minute per week class to a larger project, I’m not really sure how I can. I had a great idea for our 6th grade science teachers. They do a huge Global Warming project. I thought about having the students engineer an eco-friendly town. I got a response of, “I really don’t know how to do that with a computer. I’m not very good with computers.” Ugh.

Thoughts? Opinions? Ideas? Any one out there?

Author: brholland

EdD Student, Writer, Speaker, Consultant

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