Monday, October 4, 2010

Challenge, Wordle & Fingerprints

"Are you ready for a challenge?" blogged fellow learning addict, Melanie Holtsman,  last week. The challenge for edubloggers?  Blog once a week for 10 weeks.  Want to write with me? I thought I'd catch up on my the books I've read post. I think I have 4-6 books waiting a line a two and a picture, but I must have saved that post at school, so I'll get to it later. That's what happens with so many of my blog posts. I start them on the fly, in those in between moments of lunch or just before I leave school. Then they rarely get posted because I'm on to something else before I remember them. Perhaps if I made blogging a regular part of my classroom things would be different.

Using technology in class is a regular part of my classroom. Unfortunately I am not in a 1 to 1 school, so my students access to computers is limited. I do have 5 computers in my classroom, but they a slow and laborious machines. Teaching in a portable classroom--literally a double-wide trailer--means teaching without the latest computer equipment because computers get stolen from portable classrooms. My updated computers have big box monitors and their insides wheeze. You get the picture.

I demonstrate more than students can do with our older machines. What interests me though is how many students take what I do, and do it at home. Last week, I used a Wordle word cloud in my A.P. language class. I got the idea from Ben Davis on the English Companion Ning . The A.P. students used wordles of the first chapter of The Great Gatsby to analyze Fitzgerald's focus and word choice. It was interesting. But what was more interesting to me was how my freshman students saw the wordles when they came in the next class period.

My freshmen students are reading Bronx Masquerade by Niki Grimes. We had just done poetry rotations the day before and one stop on the carousel was a finger print poem.

Students saw the oval-esque Wordle and said, "Oh! Can we make our fingerprint poems like this?"

I hadn't seen the fingerprint shape in the Wordle until they mentioned it. What a neat idea, I thought. "Of course you can. This is a Wordle.

"A what?"

"Let me show you how to use it." So I did. Don't you know more than half of them went home and tried it themselves? Love it when that happens, but what I love the most is when my students see something I don't  and we get to share the discovery of it.

1 comment:

  1. I love that magical moment in a classroom where it all connects for the students! It's what keeps us coming back for more!

    I know exactly how you feel about blogging. I know it's important, but I never make it the priority. This challenge is a good way to do that. Thanks for joining in!