Sunday, July 28, 2013

Beginning of the Year Prep

I've gone to school one time. I've gone to training multiple times. Now is the time that I really have to buckle down and start thinking about what I'm doing this coming school year. I've decided to incorporate more ways to connect with my students and parents. With all the technology available to my students and their parents I feel as though I should really utilize it.

Our students will each have a Dell tablet. I'm going to have them blog for their Reader's/Writer's notebook again. It was pretty successful last year and I've learned a lot. I have a much better idea of what to expect from them and what I need to do this time to start them off. I loved seeing the progress they made. It was such a great journey we had together. My favorite moment was when one of my students who was dead against blogging at the beginning decided to start a story. She had submitted multiple chapters and I had been getting behind in approving posts. So she came to me and asked me to hurry up and at least approve hers because she had people who were asking when the next chapter would be out! I loved that! From not wanting to blog to having fellow classmates waiting for the next chapters? That to me was awesome!

I still haven't decided which blogging platform to use. We used kidblog last year. It worked. It was easy to use both for students and myself. This year, I've been seriously thinking about Edublogs. It gives my students a little more options with widgets and personalization that they didn't necessarily get with kidblog. If anyone has thoughts on that, please comment below! I would love to hear about your experience. If you have never blogged with your kids and want a place to start, I would recommend using kidblog. It really is super easy!

I've made an additional Twitter account where I'll be posting upcoming assignments and reminders for parents and students to follow. From last year, I learned my students are using Twitter more than Facebook and I really do like being able to shoot a quick tweet about what we're doing. This would help communicate with parents and hopefully allow my 8th graders a way to take some ownership over what they're responsible for.

I also added an additional Instagram account. This is going to be more of a headache for me going back and forth between my personal Instagram and school one. I think I'll manage though. I want to use this to show parents the work their kiddos are creating as well as a place for my students (and parents) to reference anchor charts over what we're learning. My kids rely on the anchor charts and I have them create them as well. The anchor charts at school aren't helpful when they're working on something at home and don't have that visual reminder.

Due to all these places to connect, I plan on making these magnetic business cards for parents to pick up at Open House. It gives them access to all of it conveniently placed on a magnet! I'll have this information on my school website for parents that can't make it.

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