Keeping Kids First
For this C4T's assignment, I was assigned the blog page "Keeping Kids First." Kelly Hines is the author of this blog. She is a fourth grade teacher in Washington, North Carolina. The blog that I commented on was Read Across America Day. In this post, Kelly talks about Read Across America Day (March 2), which celebrates Dr. Seuss's birthday. In order to celebrate this day, Kelly decided to allow her students to "read across America." She did this by inviting classes from around the U.S. to join in by Skype to talk about, and read, their favorite books.
The response was astounding! Several classes were interested and Kelly set up intervals of thirty minutes to talk to each class. The next thing Kelly did was to get her students prepared. She helped her "tudents to prepare for their conversations with writing book talks, practicing read-alouds and honing our skills on being respectful listeners." "Over the course of the day, we shared favorite books with Dan Callahan and Sarah Hayes’ class in Burlington, MA. Eric Biederbeck’s 6th grade class in Essex, Vermont read us a favorite picture book, Bigger, Better, Best, that tied into our current study of Geometry. We read a favorite Cherokee cultural story, The First Strawberries, to a third grade class in Verona, New Jersey. A high school class in Sterling, Kansas, led by Carol Prather and Dean Mantz, even read a few of their favorite books to us." Here is what I had to say in response:
Hey Kelly, my name is Jenna and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class in which we get to comment on other teacher’s blogs. I was assigned to follow your blog and a summary of my comments will be posted to my blog by May 1.
First of all, let me say thank you for allowing me to follow and comment on your blog and congratulations on the addition to your family! I think your idea of using Skype to allow students to talk with other classes from around the U.S. is amazing! What at great way to celebrate such a wonderful day as Read Across America. Keeping students interested in reading is a wonderful way of assuring a lifetime of learning. What better way to get students interested in reading, then allowing them to use technology to reach people from other classes. It seems like you are doing a great job of introducing technology into the classroom. Keep up the great work and I look forward to using this idea in my classroom!
The Sum of the Parts
Since I commented on the only recent post left by Kelly Hines for the last part of this assignment, I had to go further back to find a post to comment on. The last post that Kelly left was from November and it was titled "The Sum of the Parts." In this post, Kelly talks about having to temporarily take a break from part of her PLN. As part of her PLN, Kelly has a group of friends and colleagues that she does a group chat with. She knew she would miss talking to the group as a whole, but she still planned to keep in contact with them individually.
What Kelly did not plan on is how much she would learn during her break. While Kelly did keep in contact with most of her group individually, it was not the same without the group dynamic. For the first time Kelly realized that “The value of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” Kelly saw that ealized that "the power of this group wasn’t in the individuals that composed it. It was in the collaboration that stemmed from the group interaction." This is truly what a PLN is all about. Here is what I had to say in response to her post:
Hey Kelly, my name is Jenna Baxter and I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to read and comment on your blog and my summary will be posted to my blog.
Let me say that reading about your PLN really helped me understand the whole concept behind establishing a PLN as an educator. Another assignment in Dr. Strange’s class was for us to create our own PLN. I know see how important they are and want to strive to make my PLN just as instrumental in my life, as yours seems to be in your life. I liked how you said that the collaboration between your group members is what made the conversation so important. What people can do as a group has so much more impact than someone working alone. Thanks again for the great post!