This week’s featured bloggers, aged 9 – 11, come from Mrs. Sivick’s fourth grade culture studies class at Chestnut Hill Academy. Their blogging success represents the incredible power of twitter as a professional learning network and the potential for the blogosphere to flatten your classroom.
In an effort to extend a culture studies unit prepared by classroom teachers and provide an authentic learning experience for her students, Mrs Sivick, K-5 technology coordinator and teacher at the all boy’s school in Philadelphia, PA, started an international blog site using kidsblog.org for her students. The goal of the Grade 4 Culture Studies Blog was for her students to communicate in real time with people from around the world, to learn about cultures through discussions with people that live or travel to the countries being studied.
After researching their countries, students posted their research and posed questions about their country of research. Mrs. Sivick tweeted her students’ blog to her twitter learning network and was surprised by the results. In an article in a local paper, Sivick summarizes her students’ success.
“We’ve had more than 1,000 visitors as of the end of April from more than 25 countries, including China, Japan, Israel, Slovenia, Norway, India, Qatar, South Africa, New Zealand. A teacher from Ireland added our blog to an international edubloggers website, a teacher in the Canary Islands wrote about us in his blog, and yet another teacher in the Midwest highlighted our blog as a great example of extended learning. I received an e-mail from a teacher in Canada asking for more information; she told me a friend in Hong Kong had forwarded the blog to her! An Illinois teacher wants to “borrow” the idea and send posters to our students. I’ve received Skype calls over my computer from a teacher in South Africa who wants to set up an online learning session and from a teacher at an independent school in the Midwest.”
The fourth grade bloggers are engaged, motivated, and genuinely excited to learn about new cultures due to the success of their blog. The boys continue to receive cool links, photos, audio, videos, and extended learning experiences from visitors all over the world.
Be sure to check back next week for an interview with Mrs. Sivick on using technology to enhance learning experiences.
Photo from Chesnut Hill Academy
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