Candice joined Eric Johnson for his session, Blogging Isn’t Just for 6 yr-olds! Eric shared some of the benefits of blogging: enhancing peer interaction, allowing for synthesis of course content, helping to sustain student engagement, improving critical and reflective thinking, learning becomes…a community. Eric pointed out that all the verbs we are chasing from Bloom’s Taxonomy, ie: analyze, evaluate, create, are present through blogging. Eric had great step-by-step information on how to get blogging going in the classroom. He uses KidBlog with his students. #Comments4kids is a great hashtag to follow for others educators’ using blogging in the classroom. Follow along to connect with others that empower students’ voice through blogging. “The power and influence of an authentic audience is immeasurable!” Also, be sure to follow along the adventures of Mr. Johnson’s Gnome!
Tara Ulmer is a world history teacher from Southwood High School, and in her session, she shared her passion for powerful primary sources. According to Arne Duncan, we spend 7-9 billion dollars on textbooks nationwide. Ulmer made the point that these textbooks are never our curriculum, and that all good teachers bring in supplements to their content. But with abundant access to primary sources, her current teaching has little need left for the textbook. She taps into resources like the Library of Congress, which among other things, has more than five million maps! Check out their section especially for teachers. It is clear that her class content is a rich tapestry of resources that she has curated to help students learn, and she is eager to share these with her colleagues. Check out Ulmer's guidance document on finding primary sources for some great links to get started.
Diane Baldessari from Achieve3000 led a session about leveling the playing field for our readers, and how their program is gaining results and testimonies all over our state. Some Indiana implementations show students who are using Achieve3000 increase their lexile level at more than 4 times the normal rate. Achieve3000 redefines differentiation by providing text that meets a student at their level. Without being pulled out, students can all read the same content rewritten at various lexiles, and also translated into Spanish.