Posted by: Kathy Cassidy | April 4, 2009

Starting Out Right

I’ve done several sessions to introduce teachers to blogging in the past, and have usually walked away wondering how many were going to keep it up. Beyond the technical aspects (which are huge issues if you’re not yet sure how to do basic things such as copy and paste) there is always the worry that teachers will not see the potential, but will just see it as “one more thing” to be added to their already busy day. At a fairly recent session that I did, I guessed that only about one third of the participants would actually follow up on the work we did together.

Yesterday I did a daylong session about using blogging to meet your curriculum with about fifty K–2 teachers. This session was the brainchild of Donna Desroche and JoAnne Kasper, and involved teachers from almost all of the schools in their division. It was one of the most enjoyable sessions I have ever done. I loved it because I went away feeling like all of the participants there would actually use what they had learned. I think it worked well for several reasons:

Preparation – All of the teachers came with a Classblogmeister blog already set up. We didn’t need to take time to go over basics, but could instead focus on making it work in the classroom.

Time – The teachers had a whole day of release time to learn about, talk about and feel comfortable with their blogs.

Ownership – We spent some time talking about how to customize their blog and then let them have time to add widgets, change templates and make their blog their own. I don’t see this as peripheral. I think this is an important step in ownership for teachers as well as students.

Curriculum Connection – As you can see from the wiki that I used, we also spent some time talking about specific ways they could use their blog to connect their students with our Saskatchewan curriculum. When I showed them how to embed a video, and some examples of curriculum-related videos that they could use, I could see their eyes light up.

Ongoing Support – At the end of the day, Donna asked them to talk in groups about ways that they felt they could use the blog in their classroom, and then asked them to email both herself and JoAnne to let her know their thoughts about the day and what further support they needed to help implement their goal for their blog. Some of them took the opportunity to find other classes to connect with and begin a blogging buddy exchange.

Well done, JoAnne and Donna. You’ve created a great model that’s worth following. I can’t wait to see the great stuff the teachers and their students will do.

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Responses

  1. Kathy,
    Congratulations on leading a very successful day, and thanks for sharing it. Truly uplifting, way to go!!

  2. Kathy, thank you for your comments on how we organized the workshop day. I was completely amazed at how much our teachers accomplished. I believe that having the blogs set up prior to the workshop allowed them to focus on the message and information you gave about the curriculum connections. They did not have to worry about getting the blog set up but were immediately able to add a video, insert a picture or do something that was relevant to them. Although some teachers admitted to feeling a bit overwhelmed none said “this is beyond me” or “Kathy Cassidy is a technology wiz and I am not” – they saw classroom connections and commented that with some support they would continue. Kathy, you worked your magic! You were genuine and approachable and a 100% primary teacher with whom they could relate. At the end of the day all I could say was, “primary teachers rock”!

  3. Saskatchewan Rocks. Way to lead the way and show others how to connect and be networked learners.

    You are decades ahead of the rest of the country!!

  4. Kathy,
    Thanks so much for the day. I know you made a difference in many teacher’s perceptions of what they can do in a primary classroom using technology. As always it was great to hear you present.

  5. I attended this workshop and I walked away with a number of ideas to try in my classroom (which I did try with my students the next day). I always find PD days worthwhile when I walk away with a couple of great ideas – I walked away with a basket of goodies! Thank you!


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