Thursday, October 18, 2007

PLN's Again

My freshmen are now on week five of their Personal Learning Networks and I see a huge improvement-not just on their writing, but their thinking. I will say this process has been weighty for me to grade; it takes me about three-four hours to read, grade and give feedback. Each week, I give the students feedback about what they do well and what needs to improve. Students are really seeing the buy-in and I love watching them develop and see their selves in relation to the world. I think they appreciate that they are allowed to view the world through their own eyes, taking it in, and showing WHAT MATTERS (here are those two words once again). It's fascinating to see their conceptions about the world. Each week, they are furthering their thoughts and elaborating more. They pose intriguing questions and there are so many skills they are acquiring by doing this. I want to share a few of the student blogs, so you can see for yourself. I can't wait to continue to further this process and dive even deeper. I can't think of a greater gift to give them than that of opening themselves up to the world around them.

Hannah G.'s Blog posts

Jeremi G.'s Blog Posts

Aaron H.'s Blog Posts

Brett R.'s Blog Posts

Dillon G.'s Blog Posts

Kelsey C.'s Blog Posts

We have a long way to go and hopefully we will be able to start commenting on each other's blogs and on the original posts. I also wanted to comment on the formal presentations. We do these every Friday about 5-6 students per week, twice a semester. I have asked students, as an audience, to do two things: 1) give positive feedback to the speaker and 2) ask questions of the speaker, start a discussion about what they are seeing or agree/disagree with and what they think about the speaker's topic. I have had some extremely poignant and striking conversations. The great thing is is that the student's focus determines the direction of the conversation. There have been times where we don't get to the last two speakers because the discussion has taken off; the students want to speak and let their voices be heard. They feed off each other; they ask questions of the presenter and they are extremely knowledgeable and articulate. I know public speaking is a fear and a challenge for some of these students, but they are challenging themselves and seeing that their voices DO MATTER and they ALL have something to say. The only thing I would like to see is the students start the conversation without me kind of leading them first. I see them starting to take initiative, but sometimes I have to model my thought processes and show them what's going through my mind when a speaker is presenting their blogs and how I can throw that out to them for discussion purposes. I LOVE IT! I look forward to Friday's and I feel a great passion for it.