Let’s Blog..Second Grade Style

I’m anxious to start blogging with my kids tomorrow.  I will also begin in a very structured way.  One computer will have our site displayed and on all day.  I will try for 4 to 5 blog posts to start.  Last week I assigned for homework ….write one interesting thing you learned in your study of the Asian Longhorn Beetle.  We’ll talk about these interesting facts first and then post.  I was going to let anyone with a free moment post a response comment but I may also assign a blog buddy as Janet Pope did.  I’m not sure.  I’ll let you know how tomorrow goes or you can check it out for yourself.  http://dgillet.edublogs.org/

Making Meaning

Since our Asian Longhorn Beetle project is a new topic to all of us..teacher, students, and parents….we are all making meaning in our own ways.   I have been trying to keep read, respond, and develop a way to guide young children through the research process.  In an attempt to let parents know what was going on a note went home this week.  I explained the project and set up a table in Word that displayed how we would access information within four categories.

ASK..

  1. Questions  (I attached all the questions generated by the children so parents could see and talk at home)
  2. For information

READ TO UNDERSTAND

  1. A variety of printed matter..books, internet information and newspaper articles.

WATCH

  1. Video
  2. CD
  3. Guest Speaker  (USDA 3/25/09)

DO

  1. Share findings with others
  2. Podcast
  3. Take photos

I also set up a Word template called Asian Longhorn Beetle Alpha Boxes.  On the template, children record alphabetically any new vocabulary words we use.  This has become an invaluable tool to jog the memory when writing and putting info into their own words.  It also eliminates the “how do you spell” syndrome.

I really like Exploratree to help organize info and make meaning.  I used it to create a fact/opinion template.  We came up with 5 questions that seemed to be the most asked and with a focused discussion started with our thoughts/opinions and recorded on the template.  When our guest speakers arrived from USDA..we recorded the facts.  It was awesome.

I am looking forward to podcasting and sharing our findings with a wider audience.

Reflections

I’m feeling like this was a pretty productive week.

I just finished setting up my Google CSE and tried to add it as a widget to my blog page.  I was still a bit confused as to the difference between google search and custom search engine.  This page was helpful (http://www.customsearchguide.com/creating-quality-cses.shtml ).  It seems like I could start with google and then refine and build a list of of custom sites off of this.  The best sites with most valuable content would be displayed?  I will continue working on this this week. In providing the sites for my little ones…how would the Custom Search Engine differ from Delicious tags they could go to?  In both I’m looking for what I think is the best of the best?  Perhaps things will become clearer as I proceed.

I think that “making sense of online text” is something I go through everytime I do a search.  I’ve gotten better at deciding which link to follow and navigating within a site.  The most difficult thing for my kids is how to synthesize what they read because what is out there is written for much older students.  They print out what they find and it is usually up to me to read and interpret for them in language they can understand.  I’m going to develop a template for my kids to use. I will keep in mind that “a good synthesis weaves together at least two of their personal impressions with at least two facts from their reading.”

USDA is coming to my classroom on Wednesday to talk to the kids about ALB.   Wait until they hear what second graders are wondering about.

ALB Project

I had 4 children absent yesterday.  Wondered how to get their “I Wonders” without boring the rest of the class.  Explained the project to the four and sent them off as a team with a 10 minute time limit to do some ALB talk.  They left with clipboards, pencils, and post it notes.  Their mission was to talk about the  beetle problem and return in 10 minutes with their “I Wonder” on the post it note.  They surpised me with at least 3 questions apiece….all different from those generated the day before.

Todays mission for me…Go to Pest Of The Month and line up a speaker for the kids.