We had a very good all-day session yesterday around the upcoming launch of a project I oversee call Making Connections, which connects middle school (and now a few high school) students together in shared writing spaces via Weblogs as part of the National Writing Project’s Technology Initiative.
The Manila platform is confusing for many of the teachers, who are not technology savvy at all, and so I created this concept map for them to visualize how our various Weblogs in the project are connected together.
Here are some reflections from the day:
“I am understanding the infrastructure of the blog better so the administration and navigation of the site will be better for teaching. I’m glad that we came up with some some “connecting” yet content oriented topics to be working on for this project.” — Michele
“Several things happened today to solidify my focus on the project. Before arriving I was very unclear as to what I would be doing throughout this project. I made a decision to go with the science group. I couldn’t be happier about it. My students are going to love the experiment with skittles. I can see several connections to math with manipulating data, and of course, writing across the curriculum. I am really interested in the abstract writing. I wonder what I can do in the next month that will help my students get ready for the online writing. It’s exciting.” — Mary F.
“Some concerns remain. How will the technology function when really put to the test with students who struggle with being absolutely accurate as well as precise about entering log-ins, passwords.” — Jack
“I feel like we put together a good plan for how to proceed from here. The ELA group was probably overly ambitious but now we’ve got it under control. I’m excited and looking forward to getting started but still nervous about managing the technology.” — Mary D.
And here is part of my own reflection:
“Today was tricky because it did require quite a bit of introduction of technology (managing member, etc) and I am constantly worrying about overwhelming everyone. I know that with practice, it will get easier, but we don’t always have the hours to practice. There were some great questions and I hope I had some instructive answers. I feel as if I am giving our Inquiry Question a short-thrift due to time crunch. Meanwhile, the planning process was wonderful. I really feel as if we have a solid plan almost all around for the different phases of the project.”
Peace (with planning),
I loved your reflection – it could so easily have been something I might have written for any of a dozen projects I’ve been involved with over the last several years. The project looks exciting and so I’ll share with you what my sister told me about writing workshop (a model I’m trying to imitate in the college classroom):
…is a leap of faith. You don’t really know what will come of it.
I think this might be true of your wonderful project as well. Good luck with it and I’ll be interested in seeing you chronicle what happens here!
Thanks Karen — it is a leap of faith but still worth the leap. 🙂
I appreciate the reaction and your sister’s words (which I think I came across already in my Bloglines last week or so from your blog).
Have a nice weekend