Below is an email that was sent from a colleague of mine to the parents of his students. I think it is a great example of how digital tools provide a summative artifact of the group’s learning. How cool is it that parents can take a peek into the semester’s worth of learning?
The year is rapidly drawing to a close, so I want to reissue and invitation I offered to each of you at parent night last fall. The invitation is to visit our class blogs at the links below (ask your student which period they are in this semester).
Why visit? Well, first and foremost, you can look at work done by your child. Just scroll down the right side to the “categories” section and find your child’s first name and click on it. Note some students switched sections at mid-year. You’ll find blogs that are recaps of lessons and some that are questions for their peers or me. Second, you can look into our classroom and what they’ve been studying in AP Environmental Science.
Why blog? Well, there are a number of reasons I might ask a student to blog:
1. To remember or recount what happened in class that day. We call this a “scribe post.” This is most helpful to students who miss a lesson.
2. To offer a question about a confusing concept prior to the test. We call this a “reflection post.” Other students are encouraged to answer these questions.
3. To share something cool or a current event. We call these “on my mind posts.”
and other reasons to use a blog include:
5. To create a “positive digital footprint.” I think I have a responsibility to help these kids leave a more substantial mark on the world wide web besides what they post on Facebook or Twitter!We’ve categorized all the post by the first 3 categories above if you want to see examples at the blog. Each student was required to serve as the class “scribe” at least once a semester and create a summary lesson for those who might have been absent. Each student had the option of posting reflections before each test for some minor extra credit on the test. Some students felt compelled to share something neat-a headline, a picture, or even a YouTube video clip. By doing all this, the kids have had to reflect on what they’ve learned and they’ve created a wonderful online textbook as a resource for AP exam preparation. Some students used the resource more than others, and that is fine. Some students switched sections at mid-year, so you may not see many posts from them either.
Besides looking at what your own child created, I want to encourage you to scroll down to the “tag cloud” of topics we’ve studied this year. Pick a topic that is of interest to you (energy, water, agriculture, etc…) and click on the tag. We’ve cross-linked all the posts dealing with that topic even though they might be in different units. That’s the beauty of this course (and use a blog), the interconnections between topics. As John Muir once said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” Also, notice the “ClustrMap” of the world and look at the global audience these kids have attracted this year!
I’ve truly enjoyed teaching this group this year.