Listen to the words of Al Upton’s students

Thanks to my friend in Australia, Graham Wegner, for pointing out the student comments on Al Upton‘s blog post. (See my earlier post about Black Monday.) I literally almost cried as I read these comments from the fifth graders.

“hi Al I was almost in tears when i heard my blog was shut-down.i was so sad and dissenpointed. i realy enjoyed bloging. i absoulutly loved my cluster-map. i somtimes might say all that work for nothing. The vokis are cool. i start thinking that we wouldent be able to talk to our mentors. it uset to be fun cheers mini17”

“.Hi al iwas abit sad when I heard that the blogs were closed.
Blogs are good becase you can couminicate with people in the world.”

“I would be safe if mr apton is in charg.

It is fun to have a blog.”

“When I first herd my blog was shut down I felt sad,upset and woryed about my blog and what would happen to my blog.How I cant look at my comment’s and how I cant look at ather people’s blog’s.And how I cant see my cluster map.The best is the comunicating with people I dont know.I get freind’s. You can put on pictuer’s and poster’s. I learn faster on the computer’s and blog’s.Our new form is called Article 13. I love bloging.”

“When I found out that our blogs were closing down, I felt confused, sad and angry. I felt really sad because I felt that all Al had taught us had gone to waste. We had a vote on a name for our new forum. The new name for our forum is Article 13. It means Rights for the Child.I felt better with my blog in many ways.
>Writing and reciving comments.
>Cammunicating with other people.
and lots of other reasons. By mini22″

When i found out my blog was shutdown.

I loved my blog.
I was disopointed because i put so mutch work into it.
I realy like having a clustermap.
I like comiticating with people i do no and people i dont no.
I like my fake on my blog.
I realy wont my blog back.
It is fun to go on my blog.
I like it when i get red dots on my clustermap.
My blog was cool because i could comiticate with people.”

I believe that in the near future we will hear more about this. And remember that this can happen to any of us and all of us. Parents who sign permission forms could change their minds. They could say they didn't understand what you were going to do. They could decide they don't like you. They could just not like the grade you gave their child.

Now all of this is conjecture and I DO NOT know the circumstances of Al's situation… I'm just saying things that we as teachers know. As airtight as we make it, when you're blazing the trail, issues like this arise. Many people will have Al to thank as he sets a precedent for how to handle this situation.

As teacher's, we've seen it all. From what I've seen, Al is going about handling this the right way.

As my Mom always says “Keep your chins up!”

And I say, “We're watching. Let us know how you work it out and teach us.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Lisa Parisi March 18, 2008 - 12:53 am

Truly heartbreaking. Maybe the administrators and parents that shut him down will see these blogs and realize what they’ve done. We really must create an environment where safe blogging,safe podcasting, and the like is the norm so no one will think twice about it anymore.

Frank's Blog March 18, 2008 - 1:01 am

Very sad, but wonderful at the same time. These kids “got a taste” of collaboration, participation, contribution, reaching beyond the walls of their schools and geographical settings, and creating something from nothing. There will now be now turning back. This is just a blip on the screen for these Mini Bloggers. They’ll be back and even more prepared than ever. Al has facilitated that. How exciting!

Louise Maine March 18, 2008 - 2:11 am

As I read this I am embroiled in a controversy over wiki use in my class. Not my action, but the action of a student regarding messaging during class and unsolicited messages to others. Working with the principals, we are in agreement as to having covered ourselves with permission letters as well as warnings, etc. involved with this case. The principals also have great vision.

What concerns me is enough parent pressure in a different direction could bring the same actions we have read here and I can not bear to see that happen.

What is the future? Are others just waiting to point the finger and say that it was all a bad idea?

James Christensen March 18, 2008 - 5:29 pm

This scares me. It is making me think twice about what I have my kids do online.

loonyhiker March 19, 2008 - 10:23 am

This is so sad for the kids. But we need to keep on trying to inform the parents and helping them understand how important this is to our student’s education. It is their fear that is all consuming them and the love for their children so I can understand their view. I believe this will take time and when more and more teachers become comfortable with these tools and we keep trying, parents and administrators will no longer see this as a threat.

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