An unexpected pleasure

connectingPart of my job here is to monitor and “fix” issues with FA Blogs, though my fixing usually means  calling/skyping/emailing @twoodwar or @jimgroom for help.
Each night I check into the wpmu dashboard to see if anything has popped up, scan the bluehost logs for errors, and then skim my Google Reader feed for all the posts and comments that have been posted on FA Blogs that day.
Now that we’re up to 280 blogs in grades 6-12, it’s taking longer and longer.
But–this has become my favorite time of day.

From the sixth-graders, I see fun stuff like this and this. My eighth-graders’ vocabulary “podcasts” have also started showing up along with wonderful reflections from their novel study.  I move on to Upper School and see that an author has commented on one of @snobles‘s ninth-grade blogs. The seniors also continue to post about their Exhibits, sharing the ups and downs of their tw0-year focused study on various topics.

I notice older siblings commenting on their younger brothers’ and sisters’ blogs, and friends visiting each other’s blogs to share thoughts.

But what I love, absolutely love, is when I discover the blogs of my former students. Last year’s ninth-graders are now posting in British Lit and World History, and my eighth-graders from a few years ago are reflecting in 11th grade American Lit. On their blogs, I get to watch them grow as thinkers and writers.

When I met with Jim last year and envisioned FA Blogs, we talked about this being a space for students to build a long-term online portfolio. But I never realized what a joy it is  to be able to peek into my former students’ lives. I can continue to talk, learn, and share with them by simply checking my feed.

I have an inside view others don’t have, and I love what I’m seeing.

image credit
Uploaded on September 14, 2007
by DanBrady

5 thoughts on “An unexpected pleasure

  1. I’m amazed at what you’ve set into motion, Susan. You’re an inspiration to me and doubtless others. I love the way your students have embraced the social learning you’ve modelled and encouraged. I don’t think they’ll look back.

  2. Such kind words, Tania. But I have a whole team of teachers who are making this happen,too. Thanks for making my day, though!

  3. The implications of framing a community like this openly, and not only following but contributing to a student’s progress across the curriculum and their development is what it is all about.

    This post simply states that your experiment was right and good. And more than that the success is often quiet and real.

  4. I’m not as poetic about this stuff as Jim is but I’ve never had more fun or been more impressed with student work than when I was able to do work with students and teachers in this environment a few years ago. There’s something amazingly energizing about seeing what students are capable of and interested in doing when released from the fetters of traditional k12 bondage. The community aspect and the continuity you’re able to see in your school is the kind of thing that should be shown to the world. I hope you’re planning to document and show this project off. We desperately need some decent stuff being shown at VA tech conferences.

  5. Hey Jim and Tom, thanks for your thoughts and support. I love the network of people willing to share–to make all this a possibility. And, yes, Tom, I will try to get my act together to document the journey.

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