Monthly Archives: May 2008

K12 Online 2008

Just wanted to pass this along to everyone in case you missed it or hadn’t receive the information below. If you have questions, access one of the links to be taken to the conference wiki.

We are pleased to announce the call for proposals for the third annual “K12 Online Conference” for educators around the world interested in the use of web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice. This year’s conference is scheduled for October 20-24 and October 27-31 of 2008, and will include a pre-conference keynote during the week of October 13. The conference theme for 2008 is “Amplifying Possibilities.” Participation in the conference (as in the past) is entirely free. Conference materials are published in English and available for worldwide distribution and use under a Creative Commons license. Some changes in the requirements for presentations are being made this year and are detailed below. The deadline for proposal submission is June 23, 2008. Selected presentations will be announced at NECC 2008 in San Antonio, Texas, USA on July 2.

OVERVIEW: As in past years, K12 Online 2008 will feature four “conference strands,” two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday through Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two weeks. Including the pre-conference keynote, a total of 41 presentations will be published. Each twenty minute (or less) presentation will be shared online in a downloadable format and released simultaneously via the conference blog (www.k12onlineconference.org,) the conference Twitter account, and the conference audio and video podcast channels. All presentations will be archived online for posterity. A total of 82 past presentations are currently available from K12 Online 2006 and K12 Online 2007. If you are planning to submit a proposal, please review archived presentations from past years to determine what you might offer that is new and builds on previous work. A variety of live events will also be planned during and following the weeks of the conference.

Flip Flopping Blogs

So sorry folks but this may be a time warranting a ‘test of the emergency broadcast system’! I originally started blogging using edublogs a few years ago. Then I moved everything to this WordPress.com blog thinking I liked the features more. I came across my edublog and started looking at the updates made and changes in features. I think I will stick with this edublog and hopefully, you will make the transfer with me with little inconvenience to you. For now, I will be posting the much of the same on both blogs – that is unless an experienced blogger knows a better way to transfer readers enable my blogs’ Clustrmaps to light up with tons of red dots. Any suggestions on how to redirect readers to an alternate blog? I would love to hear them!

"This is a test – just a test – of the Emergency Broadcast System"

All of us have heard or seen the tests conducted by the emergency broadcast system and had there been an actual emergency when we would have been notified of how we were to proceed. I liken this to the approach of testing in Texas. I was reading the post entitled, “Severe Weather Testing Protocols” from the ‘Fractions Speak Louder than Nerds‘ blog. The district I was recently affiliated with was notorious for going overboard on the preparation of the building for the testing environment going to the extent of covering book cases, all posters – even motivational – as they had words on the posters or book spines and those words may help students with something on the test.

Personally, I don’t see that a poster saying, “Be true to yourself” or the 55 Rules of Ron Clark to be testing aids of any kind but hey, you do what you gotta do. Anything that can be prepared for is covered in the 150 page manual that contains the oath that you sign agreeing not to read the contents or commit any act that you shouldn’t or you will be notified of how to proceed as in the tests conducted by the emergency broadcast system.

The extent the educators go to that are mentioned in this fellow blogger’s post about protecting test booklets and materials is humorous. We laugh because we can relate to having to protect, monitor, count, check out, check in, lock up, pass out, collect, alphabetize and many other things that I didn’t name regarding the handling of the testing materials except looking at the test booklets.

If a student throws up or does the unforgivable thing of bending their answer document or even worse- spilling something on their booklet or answer document – all is lost and you are signing away your life on all kinds of forms to prove something bizarre happened and you weren’t just taking a peek at the content of the test. I know TEA loves to receive answer documents or booklets inside of a sealed ziplock bag with vomit or other unknown bodily fluids acting as an adhesive on the pages in the test booklet. I just hope the ziplock bag with the contaminated test materials was sealed before lunch…especially since it may be several weeks before TEA gets the special delivery of dried vomit on a test answer document. How fun is testing in Texas!?!

“This is a test – just a test – of the Emergency Broadcast System”

All of us have heard or seen the tests conducted by the emergency broadcast system and had there been an actual emergency when we would have been notified of how we were to proceed. I liken this to the approach of testing in Texas. I was reading the post entitled, “Severe Weather Testing Protocols” from the ‘Fractions Speak Louder than Nerds’ blog. The district I was recently affiliated with was notorious for going overboard on the preparation of the building for the testing environment going to the extent of covering book cases, all posters – even motivational – as they had words on the posters or book spines and those words may help students with something on the test.

Personally, I don’t see that a poster saying, “Be true to yourself” or the 55 Rules of Ron Clark to be testing aids of any kind but hey, you do what you gotta do. Trainings and simulations of TAKS assessments are drilled into us to prevent being notified of how to proceed in the event of a testing emergency.

The extent the educators go to that are mentioned in this fellow blogger’s post about protecting test booklets and materials is humorous. We laugh because we can relate to having to protect, monitor, count, check out, check in, lock up, pass out, collect, alphabetize and many other things that I didn’t name regarding the handling of the testing materials except looking at the test booklets.

If a student throws up or does the unforgivable thing of bending their answer document or even worse- spilling something on their booklet or answer document – all is lost and you are signing away your life on all kinds of forms to prove something bizarre happened and you weren’t just taking a peek at the content of the test. Don’t you know TEA just loves to receive answer documents or booklets inside of a sealed ziplock bag with vomit or other unknown bodily fluids dried to the pages of the student’s test booklet. I just hope the incident requiring the ziplock bag with the contaminated test materials was sealed before lunch…especially since it may be several weeks before TEA gets the special delivery of dried vomit on a test answer document. How fun is testing in Texas!?!

“This is a test – just a test – of the Emergency Broadcast System”

All of us have heard or seen the tests conducted by the emergency broadcast system and had there been an actual emergency when we would have been notified of how we were to proceed. I liken this to the approach of testing in Texas. I was reading the post entitled, “Severe Weather Testing Protocols” from the ‘Fractions Speak Louder than Nerds‘ blog. The district I was recently affiliated with was notorious for going overboard on the preparation of the building for the testing environment going to the extent of covering book cases, all posters – even motivational – as they had words on the posters or book spines and those words may help students with something on the test.

Personally, I don’t see that a poster saying, “Be true to yourself” or the 55 Rules of Ron Clark to be testing aids of any kind but hey, you do what you gotta do. Anything that can be prepared for is covered in the 150 page manual that contains the oath that you sign agreeing not to read the contents or commit any act that you shouldn’t or you will be notified of how to proceed as in the tests conducted by the emergency broadcast system.

The extent the educators go to that are mentioned in this fellow blogger’s post about protecting test booklets and materials is humorous. We laugh because we can relate to having to protect, monitor, count, check out, check in, lock up, pass out, collect, alphabetize and many other things that I didn’t name regarding the handling of the testing materials except looking at the test booklets.

If a student throws up or does the unforgivable thing of bending their answer document or even worse- spilling something on their booklet or answer document – all is lost and you are signing away your life on all kinds of forms to prove something bizarre happened and you weren’t just taking a peek at the content of the test. I know TEA loves to receive answer documents or booklets inside of a sealed ziplock bag with vomit or other unknown bodily fluids acting as an adhesive on the pages in the test booklet. I just hope the ziplock bag with the contaminated test materials was sealed before lunch…especially since it may be several weeks before TEA gets the special delivery of dried vomit on a test answer document. How fun is testing in Texas!?!

Can We Talk?

No, I am not impersonating Joan Rivers but I do want to reflect upon the importance of developing a conversation in a blog. As shared in Vicki Davis‘ blog, “The Cool Cat Teacher Blog“, the development of a two way conversation is key to building a successful blog. In the post, “How to Comment Like a King or Queen”:

“Commenting has truly been the fuel that has fired readership for my blog and opportunity for me. It is also part of being a responsible blogger in general. If one is an expert, I guess they may just want to keep their “wisdom” on their own blog, but the true conversation participants are those who contribute to the discussion wherever the blog posting is.”

She continues to discuss appropriate ways to leave a comment on someone’s blog. Make it meaningful and relevant to the posting and let the blog’s author know that you get them, understand and can relate to whatever the author was sharing. A dialogue or conversation with spark up and give each author additional content to read, reflect and write. Create relationships with ‘neighbors’, blog authors that write about postings on your blog, and become part of the bigger picture – making a difference in the life of a reader or yourself via a post your wrote or an especially moving comment left on your blog that significantly impacts you. Leaving comments does not need to be a daunting task when responding to a post on the ‘superedubloggers’ blog. Meaningful comments are always welcome, appreciated and necessary to spark the educational discourse that we are seeking to change and make a difference, leaving our imprint upon the world, one blog at a time.

I'm Starting to Get this Blogging Stuff

This is my second attempt at a personal/professional blog and think I am finally coming into my own and understanding what makes a successful blogger. By no means do I think that I am in the same ‘weight class’ as the uber bloggers, but the fact that I have readers subscribed and hits on my blog’s clustermap is a huge accomplishment for me. Although there are many factors that make a blog a success, one of those factors is reading other blogs and posting reflections about what you have read.

In the eArticle written by Dean Shareski entitled, “Student and Teacher Blogs that Succeed“, the paragraph illustrates this point beautifully.

Blogging is mostly about reading
Blogging is way more about reading than it is writing. Many teachers don’t see this at first. Most classrooms provide a good balance of traditional reading and writing opportunities. Teachers recognize that in order to be a good writer you have to read good writing. Yet when it comes to blogging, most want to write immediately and sit back and wait for the world to pay attention. It won’t happen. Provide as much time for your students to read blogs as write. If you decide you want to blog or have your students blog, don’t feel badly about spending a few weeks or even months reading blogs. Look for exemplary work. Look for blogs that you relate to. Find blogs that have a different perspective on things you’re interested in Talk with your students about the blogs they enjoy. Before you write a post, be sure you are responding to something you’ve seen, read or heard.

I can definitely testify that following this suggestion will prove to you and your readers the truth of those sentiments. The more blogs I read, I am able to see how successful blogs are structured, created, and promoted. I can ask questions or clarification of points presented in blogs by the ‘superbloggers’ and have been willing to leave an encouraging comment in return. As exciting as it is to see the red dots grow on my blog’s cluster map, utilizing tools of this type that are purposeful and aesthetically pleasing can be gleaned from other bloggers. What I have discovered is that most bloggers don’t post their reflections, thoughts and viewpoints for fame or notoriety. Most bloggers share their reflections in an effort to explore and refine the craft of teaching through the reflection process. As educators sharing best practices and thoughts about classroom strategies that work or don’t work true enlightenment occurs in a way that is not possible without taking a moment to reflect upon our teaching practices. Without reading literature, periodicals or blogs, professional growth will stagnate – just as the progress or success of your blog without posting your reflections of your lessons, activities or readings of literature or periodicals.