So many teachers are teaching blogging. I thought it would be helpful to see how I teach blogging to my students. Here’s my in-flip video.

Listen to the Every Classroom Matters interview with Jon Bergmann, flipped classroom pioneer if you don’t know about the in-flip method.

You’ll also see starting at minute 7 how I teach my students to begin blogging using our private Ning and a glimpse into the Ning. You’ll see the initial skills I teach students. (Titling, embedding, and writing style.)

Essential Questions:

  • What is a blog?
  • Why are blogs important?
  • How will we blog?
  • How should blog headlines be written?
  • What type of voice and language do you use in a blog post?
  • What is one way to use elements on the web in your blog post?

For blog readers who own a copy of Reinventing Writing — consult Chapter 8 (p 127) for details on how to teach blogging and microblogging.

On a technical note, I had a few issues with volume levels on slide 2 and 3 and near the end, so you’ll need to turn up the volume there. I’ll have to re-record but haven’t had a chance yet.

Minecraft and Common Core Literacy Project: Givercraft starts Nov 17

GiverCraft Weebly
October 21, 2014

Minecraft and Common Core Literacy Standards meld in one free project for kids grades 6-12: Givercraft.

Click to visit the Givercraft website

Dr. Lee Graham of University of Alaska Southeast is at it again. Her masters students combine the Giver and Minecraft to create a powerful 2 week experience called Givercraft starting November 17, 2014. Enroll your class in this free project now! What a great experience with gaming and literature to use around the holidays. The site makes a powerful claim about Minecraft that I also believe:

Minecraft brings elements of integration, technology and extreme engagement into the classroom. Students will challenge themselves, take their projects further and demonstrate their knowledge of learning through this project-based course.

Givercraft combines Minecraft and literacy standards in a free project for kids grades 6-12. Sign up while there's still room!

Givercraft combines Minecraft and literacy standards in a free project for kids grades 6-12. Sign up while there’s still room!

Who is sponsoring this project?

Dr. Graham’s EDET 698 is designing and running a project for students using what they’ve learned in the course! (Intergenerational learning at its best.)

Author’s Note: All college education technology classes can do this sort of thing. See see yesterday’s K12 online presentation by Verena Roberts about how intergenerational learning works. We should all be collaborating and connecting with REAL students and learn together. Learn how in  Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds (I coauthored this book.) Dr. Graham’s model of teaching is a powerful example of intergenerational learning in action.

Givercraft Overview

This 2-week unit will:

  1. Meet new Alaska Literacy Standards or the Common Core Literacy Standards • grades 6th-12th
  2. Let students expand on the book with their own thoughts and ideas
  3. Encourage students to collaborate and explore
  4. Provide teachers with a planned guide for integrating technology
  5. Let teachers explore gamification in a safe, guided environment on a private MinecraftEDU server provided through UAS

Sign up now

Last year my classes collaborated with Dr. Graham’s for Gamifi-Ed. In short, Lee and her students ROCK. Dr. Graham shares her philosophy of innovation in this Every Classroom Matters episode.

Verena Roberts does a masterful job of telling the story of powerful intergenerational learning through her K12 online Conference presentation: #Gamifi-ED Networked Intergenerational Learning. Can ninth graders and masters students in college have a symbiotic mutually beneficial learning network? Yes! Here’s how.

Take time to watch this and all of the other incredible K12 Online Video Presentations. It is a wonderful conference with so many resources!


Universal Design (UDL) in Online Spaces with @BethRitterGuth

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) helps us design learning to reach every student. Today’s guest, college professor Beth Ritter-Guth teaches us about using UDL in online learning spaces. Whether you’re flipping your classroom, blending learning, or teaching online, every teacher can learn from Beth’s techniques to reach every learner. Beth Ritter-Guth became interested in Universal Design for its […]

Beth Ritter Guth #76

Being unpopular and saying things people don’t want to hear isn’t fun. Neither is admitting you’re wrong. Perhaps that is why this 5 minute speech I felt compelled to give was so hard for me.

I’m convinced that we’ve isolated students in a world without teachers on social media and every day we are reaping the consequences. We need to rethink this now so we can move forward to a better tomorrow.

Sometimes unpopular, uncomfortable things need to be said and positions should be reversed in order to do the right thing. Ultimately, my students said that I needed to give this one. I had at least eight kids who came up to me afterwards who said it was what educators needed to hear.

A teary eyed young man moved me most:

“My Mom died this year, I had a teacher who helped me get through it. I couldn’t have lived without my teacher. Literally. We students need our teachers and sometimes we need to talk to them on social media. We need a way to do that sometimes.”

Yep. These kids are worth fighting for and if the only casualty is my own ego in the process, that is indeed a very small price to pay.

This is truly an issue where both sides are right. We have to face the truth of the consequences of what we’ve done. We have to come out with some sort of workable answer in the middle.

What is my new policy?

I tell my students that if they choose to friend me, I will friend them back but they need to know that I’m relating to them as a teacher. Anything they communicate to me is as if I am at school.

They can unfriend me at any time and refriend me — just as they wish, no questions asked. If they communicate anything to me, I keep screenshots (with time and date stamps.)

Don’t headlong disregard your school policy. I would never ask you to do that. I do ask that you discuss:

  • How would you feel if a student at your school reached out to a stranger because nobody at your school could connect with them?
  • How would you feel if that student got bad advice or was harmed because no one at your school was allowed to help the child?
  • Do you think many bullying incidents and other things happening on social media would be less likely to happen if students thought teachers might be connected?
  • Do you think more incidents would be reported if students could friend and unfriend teachers?
  • What would an educator “certified” or “allowed” to communicate with students via social media look like? Could this be a new role of guidance counselors?
  • What do we need to advocate for from social media companies to allow such interactions to occur safely?

Be Somebody Because Nobody Won’t Do

Best wishes, I hope you have a great day and I hope you’ll be that somebody for your students. I also hope we’ll consider if we’ve inadvertently isolated kids from those who can help and forced them to chat with strangers because we’ve given them nobody. I think we need a new age and new type of educator at each school and new ways to communicate with a generation who talks differently than we did.

Courageously consider if we’ve made mistakes. Discuss and good luck with this one.

What Are Teachers’ Rights and Risks on Social Media?

Scott McLeod talks with Vicki Davis about teacher’s rights and legal issues to consider when using social media. In this episode of Every Classroom Matters, Scott reminds us educators should be aware that  teachers are representatives of their employers and legally do not have a right to privacy even in their lives outside of school. If […]


Heart’s Cry to Great Teachers: Bring You

Don’t ask your students to be you. You are not creating mini-me’s. That is not your goal. The average teacher thinks about talking cessation – the superior teacher cares about inspiring the next generation. Aimless people are Columbus kind of people — when they set sail, they don’t know where they are going. When they get there, they […]

You be you

How to Connect Your Classroom: Case Study with Andrew Cohen of @Brainscape

Start-ups are good for our country. Most students don’t know what they are. I want to infuse a start-up mentality in my classroom as I help students understand innovation. Creation is good. Inventing is hard. If you’re an independent thinker: hire yourself and create a start-up. Recently my ninth graders connected via Google Hangout with the CEO of […]

Brainscape is a cool tool for students to use to study.