Friday, March 25, 2011

World Water Day: Introductory Blogging for Students

Did you know that March 22nd was World Water Day?

Why is there a World Water Day? Our writing class students applied our reading strategies to read and research about water in the world. We then wrote comments on our class blog, Eagles Write. We will use our research and blogging comments to write for the Earth Day Contest by Them Dam Writers of Grand Coulee Dam.

Be sure to ask your child what his/her pseudonym, or code name, is for his/her online identity. Please notice the etiquette students follow when commenting. And, remember, students are in the process of learning to write, so our comments and posts will not be perfectly written. We love comments, so read our Family Friendly post to learn how you can participate in our class blogging work.

For World Water Day,  Elbe shared what she learned and included why a World Water Day occurs every March 22. She also shared her research strategy.

Many students shared the facts they learned, solutions everybody can do, and their reading strategies. Enmo shared interesting facts, including the fact that a child dies every twenty seconds from a water-related disease.  Lamjo shared everyday solutions everyone can do, such as not letting the water run while brushing one's teeth. Jamon shared his reading/research strategy of finding one video to take notes on, which linked him to more videos.

We have practiced many reading strategies:

  • read and re-read for fluency
  • study vocabulary
  • list vocabulary words within their context to discuss
  • take notes on the main idea/topics and supporting details
  • gist statements
  • list facts or draw facts
This project allowed students to apply their strategies to research about this global project and problem, looking for possible solutions even we could take.

The World Water Day Eagles Write post begins our journey into blogging. Students have read, re-read and practiced our "netiquette" guidelines. Students will now learn appropriate commenting, then write posts on our class blog, and then earn the privilege of producing their own blog. This process helps students learn the critical, creative, and collaborative thinking skills and manners of online participation. How students progress through this process depends on their willingness to develop their research and writing skills as well as their netiquette. Although we know the writing won't be perfect, those students who take the time to consider others ideas, create thoughtful drafts, connect with other bloggers, and collaborate with other people, peers, and groups will earn their own blog to continue the projects they initiate. It is truly life-long learning one step at a time.

We hope you join the journey.

Photo Credit

(NASA-GSFC), NASA. earth_from_space.jpg. 11.07.2002. Pics4Learning. 25 Mar 2011

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pen Pals

Have you written a letter -- by hand -- recently? We are -- we have new pen pals from Washington State University.

After receiving help from Washington University mentors on our wiki, we now have pen pals who write or type letters to us to share their goals and obstacles, and to encourage our students to work towards their dreams, too.

Our students were thrilled to learn about the interests and challenges of the college students. They shared and visited about their new pen pals.

Once the excitement rolled over us, we settled down to writing. So many times students write "friendly letters" to people and "thank you" letters to businesses or the Colville Tribes and Parent Education Committee for their help at our school. Many times assignments require letter writing. But none of those provide the critical thinking required to engage in a conversation with a real person.

After the initial reading, and the next re-reading to each other, our students read and re-read their letters again and again, looking for ideas to which they could respond with similar experiences or with questions for more information. What would their mentors want to know about them? How should they start? Again, they re-read the letters and began to respond to the correspondence, paragraph by paragraph, so that their letters back would continue the conversation with interesting and relevant experiences and questions.

On the technology side, after writing a draft, students typed and edited their letters, adding pictures using Photo Booth and Pages. In Pages students can easily mask photos in shapes and place them professionally in documents. Each pen pal letter became a source of pride, and a vehicle to learn design skills (see image above).

But most importantly, pen pals promote careful and critical thinking required in discourse; pen pals prepare students for engaging not just a new friend, but also new ideas, and the dialogue of give and take to understand each other.

So, if you haven't tried pen pal projects, my recommendation is try it. Do you have any suggestions or similar experiences?

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

freestyle wrestling

Lake Roosevelt wrestling coach Steve Hood explains that while basketball players can shoot hoops most any time, and football or baseball players will play their sport to practice on weekends or in off-seasons, wrestlers don't have that option. For them, freestyle tournaments keep them in shape and in practice for their winning moves.

Last weekend, Eagle wrestler James took fourth in his first freestyle, and this weekend Eagle wrestler Jesse placed third in his first freestyle tournament at North Central High School in Spokane. Thanks to our wrestling coach, Victor Camereno, and to the boys' families for providing this opportunity, which is not part of our school program.

Congratulations, Jesse and James.