As students arrived in the classroom yesterday morning, you could HEAR the hum. “It’s Friday the 13th!” “Did you know there’s a MOVIE about Friday the 13th?” “It’s a bad LUCK day!” Historically, Friday the 13th has always had a BAD rap. While I have always been somewhat indifferent to the superstition, over the years the “conversations” have clearly stuck in the back of my mind. Somehow I KNEW that THIS would NOT be one of those TYPICAL Friday the 13ths that so many people talk about!
As they settled on the carpet, one by one students began to notice our class schedule on the whiteboard. “Oh ya! Mrs. Emann and the ‘SURPRISE of the CENTURY!'” “I wonder what it is?” “I BET it has something to do with technology, though, cuz she taught us computers last year!”
Tannis and I had been WAITING for this moment to arrive … and it had been CHALLENGING to keep the surprise a secret until all the documentation and permission forms were ready to send home. We began our afternoon, teachers with HUGE grins on their faces; students sat in EAGER anticipation for the unveiling of the “Surprise of the Century”!
We started the discussion by activating background knowledge. “Who knows what a Blog is?” “Does anyone have a FAMILY Blog?” Very FEW hands went up. This was NOT a surprise to either of us. After all, Tannis and I had been following a few … she definitely more than I … and until she became deeply immersed into this world of blogging through her PIF, the educational benefits of a classroom blog were not as clear to either of us.
After spending several minutes finding out exactly WHAT our students knew about blogging, we showed them the 2011 Edublog winner for BEST Classroom Blog: Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog. IMAGINE their enthusiasm when the FIRST thing to “pop up” was Mrs. Yollis’ post “Learn About Peru“! I looked at Tannis. She looked at me. Neither of us could wipe the GRINS from our faces.
They LOVED the “ClustrMap” designed to track vistors to the blog. They were AMAZED by the number of red dots indicating the people around the world who KNEW about the Yollis Blog. “Wow – 1 105 visitors!” Nope – THAT was just the number of people who had visited the site in the last WEEK! So, we scrolled down the page, and found the “RevolverMap”. “WOW – 110 136 – that’s AMAZING!” It was a number SO large that a few of us needed a little HELP to read the number!
Student began to notice so MANY things as we explored this inspirational blog. You could win AWARDS for great blogs. You could share your LEARNING with people from around the WORLD. You could learn from experts in the FIELD! You could ask QUESTIONS and people could comment … that’s SO much more interactive than searching for answers on Google!
And THAT is when we announced … the SURPRISE of the CENTURY! WE are the very FIRST classroom in the Calgary Board of Education to PILOT a classroom blog!
But, with GREAT power comes GREAT responsibility! With permission forms tucked neatly into agenda pockets, and excitement CONTINUING to build, we started a SECOND page … “What do we know about blogging NOW?”
The list was IMPRESSIVE. In less than 45 minutes it was AMAZING how much our students had picked up. Imagine what they will know when we write our FIRST classroom post together NEXT week, and MAYBE even leave a comment for the students in Mrs. Yollis’ classroom! Until then, we EAGERLY await the return of each and every permission form sent home.
Friday the 13th will ALWAYS hold a special place in our hearts. It is a day to be CELEBRATED and NOT feared!