Sunday, May 1, 2011

Comments for Teachers April

Russ Goering with his wife and son
Learning is Life. is a blog by Russ Goerend. Mr. Goerend is a 6th Grade Language Arts at Waukee Middle School in Waukee, Iowa. He also hosts a class blog for his students.
My first comment was on a post he wrote entitled Opportunity to Learn: EdCamp Omaha. In this post he describes his first unconference. I am definitely inspired to find my way to one of these conferences. The learning and networking possibilities seem endless. I love the free atmosphere that the unconference promotes. This is so much better than the traditional lecture because it encourages conversation and exploration of topics beyond the presenter's knowledge. This is what I wrote to Mr. Goerend about this post:
Hi Russ,
I am also a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I love that you and your students are using prompts to create daily poetry. It's nice to have a starting point in a project like that. I have heard a lot about these unconferences on twitter and have been wanting to learn more about them. Thanks for sharing your experience with us! This sort of collaborative learning is such a great tool for educators. It's always easier to learn new things if you can talk it through with someone. I'll be visiting your blog again next week and then posting a summary of a couple of your posts on my blog.
The second post that Mr. Goering wrote and I commented on was of a more philosophical nature. He discussed a student who didn't complete a project. His policy states that late work receives zero credit after two days. However, he is faced with a situation where he set a goal to teach through this project because the material was important for students to learn. Now, in sticking by his late policy, he feels he is giving up on teaching this student the objectives he had made for his students. Here is what I wrote to Mr. Goering:
Hi Russ,
I am visiting from Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. You brought up such an interesting point in this post. How do we motivate students to turn in projects on time without ending up in a situation where the consequences for late work undo our goals. I think this is similar to the debate that has been going on in our school system in recent months. The school system does not allow students to fail and therefore requires teachers to allow make-ups and retests. What are the lessons we are teaching by not allowing students to learn from the consequences of their actions? Are the lessons they learn from negative consequences more important than the lessons we are testing them on? Thanks for the thought provoking post!
-Megan Simmons

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