Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blog Assignment 11

Ms. Cassidy's First Graders in Mr. Cassidy's Class and Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy

Little Kids...Big Potential is a video about Ms. Cassidy's first grade class. It shows how the students use blogs, Skype, and even their Nintendo DS's to help them learn. It gave me a good idea of what Ms. Cassidy's classroom is really like. In the Skype interview with Ms. Cassidy, she reveals that she began using the internet to help her students learn because she was given five computers for her classroom. She began figuring out ways to use the computers in her classroom because she did not want them to go to waste. The computers only had internet access and new programs could not be downloaded onto them which led to the use of personal web pages and blogging.
The first grade students seem to really enjoy blogging. Ms. Cassidy states that it makes the kids feel special to think that the whole world can see what they are writing about. She also points out that technology is not unusual to them, it is part of their world. I like how she mentioned that because it is very true. The children that we will be teaching are born into a world where technology is used by everyone, all day every day. Ms. Cassidy also mentioned how she keeps the identities of the children safe. The children's last names are not used and pictures are never placed with the children's names. She also teaches her students how to be safe on the internet and how avoid bad websites by staying away from advertisements and by using the links that she gives them.
During the interview Ms. Cassidy tells about "blogging buddies". The students from Ms. Cassidy's class and students from a different school read each others blogs and comment on them. The students can communicate through blogs and Skype to discuss how to improve their writing. I like the idea of "blogging buddies". It could even be used between different classes of the same grade that are at the same school. I am starting to realize how much children can really benefit from using technology in this way. After watching this interview it is clear to me that students really enjoy blogging and using tools like Skype to help them learn.
I think that in the future I could use blogging in my classroom. I could stay in contact with other elementary teachers in the area that use blogging so that the students could have "blogging buddies". The students could also use Skype to communicate with other students. I also really enjoy making videos. I think elementary students would get excited about making videos that we can share with other classrooms. I think that using technology like this can get students excited about learning.


  1. Hi!
    I'm a teacher, wait a sec… Educator! with 5 yrs experience that came across your blog by clicking from one great site to another. I "work" in Winnipeg, a city in Manitoba, which is one province away from Ms. Cassidy’s Saskatchewan.

    I'm commenting this evening as I have really enjoyed bringing communication and collaboration tools (mostly wikis) into my classroom pedagogy, however, I am having difficulties making blogs work with my middle yrs (6/7/8) classrooms.

    The main problem I’m confronted with is the lack of authentic feedback for my students from people outside these walls. Through experience, I find that this feedback is what children of these years crave to stay motivated to continue writing.

    The dilemma: My students are living in a completely Anglophone community, however are working hard to become fluent with our Nation’s 2nd official language. They are in what we call “French Immersion”. It is a wonderful program that has now spread all across Canada, but since this post isn’t about the program itself, I’ll get back on track.

    The question: What drives bloggers to write and write well? Is it intrinsic motivation? Extrinsic reinforcements? A combination of both?

    For example, Mary chooses to write a short poem/blog about her feelings after watching a WW1 Remembrance Day video. The learning outcomes that the teacher may have been working on could have included the following; punctuation, sentence structure, adjectives, etc. (I bet Mary writes better then I do…) but has chosen a project that has deeper meaning to try to create intrinsic motivation.

    Why did Mary work so hard to post on her blog? Is it because she was told her great great Grandpa was in the Great War? Is it because she believes that wars are bad and only hurt people? Or is it because she knows that someone close to her will take the time and read what she has to say. Will this person take the time to respond to her?

    If Mom, Dad and Auntie Bernice knew about her blog and they visited it from time to time, I bet they probably would, and Mary would be larger then life when she saw their responses. Talk about authentic learning…

    Now, I know how to build motivating, open-ended thought provoking challenges for my students, but how can families and friends of the child respond to their work and help reinforce the student’s learning when there is a language barrier?

    I feel that I should blog in French with my students, but I also think that this is taking away from the authenticity of the feedback (mostly me and other students). Should they blog in both languages? Should I try to find a sister French Immersion school that could comment on my student’s writing as we would on theirs?

    I just thought I should share that with someone as I have had it on my mind since September. Could you bounce this idea off your eccentric looking prof? I know… Everyone has had one of those perfect “Santa” professors at one time in their life.

    He sure does like his metaphors... I guess I should have written my post as one to please his pumpkin, but seriously, at this hour I feel like a wet noodle. ;)

    Cheers from Igloo country,

  2. Mrs. Cassidy is doing a great job with her class and we all can learn something from her. I think blogging is a great way to get students interactive. How would you face road blocks you may have in the classroom using this technology?

  3. Erwin, I am not sure how I would face road blocks. I haven't really thought about it. I will definitely start thinking about that tho! Thanks!