Blog Action Day 2009

Blogging Action Day 2009 has drawn to a close and I’m tired.

I’m so sad…I accidentally deleted the post I wrote yesterday. That’s the disadvantage of having my tweets sent to my blog. My blog was overloaded with tweets and I decided to get delete happy.

Blog action day was interesting. The started blogging with their first post about climate change. I did peek at some of the posts already and they’re what I expected. Those that did decent research had a good grasp of what to write about. I ask a lot of them really — they have to multi-task and look for directions in multiple places, some of which I didn’t design. It’s hard to look at websites for instruction when the authors aren’t always the same.

The students that were digging deep often found themselves going back to look for more information. It was nice to see students get beyond the plight of the polar bear and think about how this issue applies to them. For some, I think they still have a lot of learning ahead of them, but at least today they hopefully learned something new if they tried. If I could do it over, I’d have an assignment asking them to search for something they didn’t know before. I’m not sure they really learned a lot of new information.

I’m finding that I’m still struggling to get them to reach new interests and get beyond the surface. Even when I do use Web 2.0, multi-tasking, and a higher level of thinking, I still can’t get 100% to complete the tasks. I don’t know the percentage, but I was hoping for everyone to get into this. They might not love it, but I was trying to adapt to their learning style. I guess one problem to consider is that the reading level of the sites I use might not be appropriate for my students. Sometimes the problem is excessive distraction in the room.

Even though not everyone is up for these challenges, I’m continously surprised by the level of engagement I do see. The technological skills of this age group are pretty amazing. In the past two days these kids have created blog posts, hyperlinks, cartoons, online quizzes, and  online polls. I gave no whole group direction instruction. They had to do this all themselves. All of their work had to be linked or embedded in their blogs. Seems pretty cool to me.

If I could do it over again, I would probably reduce the number of challenges (tasks) and focus more on the research part. I was hoping to count this for the research unit, but I can’t since the students just didn’t get into the task deep enough. That’s okay. Maybe the research unit will be a breeze after this. I think next time I’d set up a culminating activity. Now that the kids have blogged I’m left thinking, “Okay they blogged. Whoop-dee-do. Now what?” I haven’t processed all their ideas. The ending question has to be “What can I do about climate change?” and right now I don’t know that they have an answer yet.

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