Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Mind Is Racing....

The little ones have arrived. School has started, I have parent’s permission to begin posting and now the fun begins!
Now the fun begins????
Earlier in the summer I was formally introduced to Wed 2.0 and blogging in a class taught by David Jakes. (I had heard of some of it, but never really explored it)
I left there pumped.
(I still am!)
All summer long I have thought about blogging with my students. I had this idea that I would set up an account and input all their little names and we would just take off. We would share the happenings of Kindergarten Room 102 with our class, our school and our community... with the district and with the WORLD, if they cared to read about them all.
Now that the kids are here, I am somewhat afraid to act on my intentions. I want to make all the right choices. I feel a sense of responsibility for 46 little reputations. And for the first time in years, I am nervous about using technology. I want everyone to get the right image of what Kindergarten is in our classroom.
Maybe it’s not so much the sharing that is causing me angst. I am ready to do that, it’s deciding upon a method of delivery. I need to make a decision on which blog service to use. I worry that I might get into it and have to switch. For some reason, that strikes fear in me! (I tend to be “brand loyal”…. I am not one to change phone, cable, Internet services providers and the like easily ;-/). As I explored options this summer I looked at Blogger (of course), Class blogmeister, and Edublog to name a few.
Currently, I am very comfortable with Blogger. I have two blogs running through them now. But I question if it’s the best option for use with my students. My buddy Tony Powell has been a good sounding board for me. He has been both helpful and patient. I have bounced many ideas off of him in the past few days (poor guy). ;-)
After careful reflection of thoughts generated by his questions and comments, and re-reading my earlier post. I am going to enter this slowly with my students. I am not going to fret and fuss about which service. I am going to go with what I know. I am going to stay within my comfort zone for now. I am going to start here with Blogger. By staying here, I can focus more on the content of the blog and not spend so much time learning a new format (although something tells me there are a lot of similarities between the services). Right now I am not going to worry about having each student contribute individually. That can all come later.
Tony asked me, “What is your plan?” In part, my plan includes having my students develop a “mind set” about communicating, collaborating and connecting with others for learning. I want them to begin on their journey through school with the concept that learning can take many forms, including using technology. I want them to know we can learn from each other, near or far. I want them to see this unfold for themselves, in part, from what we share on our blog.

What I need to keep in mind about “My Plan” is that I don’t have to teach it ALL now….this year… in Kindergarten. If I can open their minds to the “possibilities”, I will have done well. If as a class, we get to the point where kids want to blog individually, we’ll deal with that then. If not this year, then somewhere down the line, I know they will remember these experiences, build upon them and tweak them to fit whatever the “new technology” of the day will be. (Web 85.0?) ;-)
I rolled back through other blogs that I enjoy reading and came across Jeff Utecht’s post at The Thinking Stick: 10 Things to Remember about Blogging. In his post he wrote about his blog does not focus on the reader, but instead on his passions! I like that. I have a passion for teaching Kindergarten, I have a passion for technology and I have a desire to bring those two passions closer together.
Jeff wrote about finding “power” in blogging. I feel that as well. There is something about putting it here, where anyone can see it, (or no one at all) that helps to bring clarity to “My Plan”.
I needed this…Thanks to you all David, Tony and Jeff!

I will continue to look to the bloggers in New Zealand (Rachel Boyd, Manaina Kindergarten, and Jody Hayes) among others as sources of inspiration for what can be accomplished with this age group.

Having said all of this….I am off to have my evening cup of coffee and begin to set up our classroom blog.
If you happen to read this…..(and even if you don’t) ;-)
…..wish me luck! ;-)

4 comments:

Treehouse Dwellers said...

Cindy - we are really excited about your venture. Tania and I greatly look forward to following your progress. Sometimes its just a matter of Going For It - we definately wish you luck and know that you, the children and their families will find this a rich experience.
Beverly
Manaia Kindergarten
New Zealand

Cindy said...

Beverly,
That's just what I did...I stopped myself and said.."JUST GO FOR IT!"
I introduced the class to the blog today. They were all giggly at seeing themselves on the computer. Several of them rushed home to share with their parents. Thanks for the encouraging words.
I've listed our site, Kindergarten Tales, in my links. I hope you'll check us out soon.
Thanks again!

Cindy

David said...

Wow.

This post amazes me.

Looking at your thinking, and the people you have cited, makes me think that you understand the benefit of being connected, and in turn, being able to contribute, which is what 2.0 is really about.

A comment from New Zealand suggests that people are reading you, as they should, because you have much to offer.

Your blog has links to a wiki, images, Creative Commons licensing, del.icio.us links, etc. Nicely done...

I'm thinking about your 46 kids and your 92 parents and wondering if they know what a great teacher they've got. What a great start for them; what will the possibilities be for them as they grow older, with the foundation that you have started?

Congratulations on your work, I'm proud of you.

Cindy said...

Dave,
I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to my post. As I have said over and over, I am eager to put as many of the tools to use as are appropriate and useful to my students and myself. My kids (and families) also seem very excited to see how this all unfolds.

It’s somewhat obvious that I was focusing on the pieces of this puzzle that really didn’t matter, but now I feel I am re-directed and on track!
I needed to remind myself…BIG PICTURE…little steps. We (my students and I) will get there…together.

If my work is “nicely done”, then that is in GREAT part to your guidance, influence, and encouragement. In other words, I had a fantastic teacher! ;-)

Thanks again.

I will admit, it's rather exciting to know that others are "reading & watching".

I hope you will poke around my blog from time to time and provide feedback to me. Keep in mind, I am still learning and have so far to go! I am always open and willing to try more.

Cindy