Friday, June 22, 2012

Hold me accountable!

Hi Classes,

I've spent the last three days in a Teaching with Technology course that is about using blogs and Flickr in the classroom.  It has been interesting and extremely relevant, so I definitely want to use it in our classes.

If we go a while without using these tools...remind me! Sometimes it can be challenging to keep up with managing this technology, but the benefits are immense.  Please hold me accountable for regularly using this technology in our classes!

Welcome to Political Science!

Remember, when sharing your political views....

 *courtesy of Kristin Vaccaro: Program Manager, Capa International Education.

Welcome to 10th Grade Modern World History!

Get ready for an exciting year!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Instructions for Social Studies Blogging

How will we use our class blog?

We will use this blog to share our ideas, ask for feedback, and build a classroom without walls!

How do I blog?

At the beginning of the year, you each gave me your email address.  I have made you all writers for this blog! That means that you can add posts and comment on your classmates' work.

Becoming a Writer for "409 for Thought":

  • At the beginning of the year, you gave me your email address.  You will receive an invitation to become a writer for our class blog "409 for Though"
  •  Follow the link in the email.  If you do not have a gmail address, you will have to create one.  Then, log in with your gmail address.
  • Pick a username.  Please format your username as follows:
    • LastnameColorblock
    • Ex: ShaperoRed 
  • Then click "continue to blogger" and "view blog"
  • After this step, you can go straight to the blog page and sign in with your gmail address.

    Adding a New Post: 

    •  On the top right hand corner of the page, select "new post"
    • Give your post a title
    • Write your post!
      • Sign your post! Include your name and color block at the end of posts that you write. 
    • Edit your post!
    • ****LABEL YOUR POST****
      • On the right hand side, you will see "Post Settings." Under that heading, click "Labels" and select the label for your class (all 10th grade classes have the same label). 
      • By labeling your post, you make it easy for us to find everything from your class.  On the right of the blog homepage, you can click on a label to see all the posts from your classmates.  Otherwise you will have to sift through work from all of my classes.
    • When you are ready for everyone to see your blog, press "Publish." You can still go back and edit your posting, but will have to click "publish" every time to make it public. 

     Remember to have fun and explore your classmates ideas!

Welcome to 9th Grade World History!

Welcome to our 9th grade World History class!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fun formative assessment...really? Yes!

What is formative assessment?

We use formative assessment to get constructive critiques on our work in the process of creating it.  For example, you might take your essay to the Social Studies Lab for comments from a teacher before you make your final edits and submit the paper.  Or, you may trade drafts of a project with other students to get their suggestions before moving forward towards the final product.  As a teacher, I might use formative assessment by asking you for feedback during a lesson so that I can structure our next class to better suit the needs and interests of the students.  

Formative assessment also helps us to focus on a growth mindset and makes us more comfortable with taking academic risks because there is less attachment to a letter grade.  As a result, we will become more active, adventurous learners with more analytical and sophisticated final products.  

  • When and how have you and your teachers used formative assessment in your Social Studies classes before?

Check out some of these links that further discuss the benefits of formative assessment in the classroom! 

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery

Blogging and Formative Assessment

This year, it is my goal to use blogs and commenting as a formative assessment tool for our class.  Throughout the year, we will respond to thought-provoking questions, complete creative assignments, and use art and other multimedia to enhance the historical or political content we discuss.  Throughout these activities, we will use this blog and the commenting features to view and constructively critique the work of our classmates with the ultimate goal of challenging our thinking and improving our final products.  

 A fun and open learning environment online...  

These blogs will be an extension of our classroom and will be a place where we encourage academic risks and foster learning.  When we engage in formative assessment and comment on the work our classmates do, it is important to be deliberate in how and what we right.  The purpose of these activities is to improve, so of course we will expect comments that identify errors. question ideas, and challenge our thinking.  However, these comments will be most effective when they are presented with language that encourages growth rather than insults or diminishes the work of our peers.
  •  Give an example of using  constructive language when criticizing/complimenting your peers' work!

Now you try it... 

After reading the blog and exploring the article links above, write a comment or response to a comment on this post about how you think we should use formative assessment in our class this year.