Monday, March 29, 2010

Paideia Junior High Classes
& the New York Times!

Check out Jennifer Swift and her eighth grade students, featured last Friday on the New York Times Learning Network in a post ("Open Note to Student Comment and Your Teachers: Thank You!") that highlights the students' thoughtful and well-written comments in the blog's Student Opinion section.

It's been several weeks now that I've been following the New York Times Learning Network blog in my beloved Google Reader, and it's already been a fabulous teacher resource. In the first few days, right after I'd worked with Martha Caldwell's climate change class, the Learning Network posted a climate change lesson plan that I forwarded on. It was perfect timing -- Martha took the plan, made it their own, and the class is implementing it now. They'll culminate in a "mock" talk show interview with a well-known climate change personality.

Last week the Network posted an article on using the Student Opinion feature as an "authentic audience" for student writing. Paideia is all about writing, so again I forwarded that information to the Junior High Faculty e-mail conference. Jennifer picked it up and ran with it, teaching her students a short lesson on blog writing, pointing them to the Student Opinion blog and giving them a class period to read and comment on any of the topics that caught their interest.

"Wow, these GREAT comments are coming in from a school in Atlanta . . I think these are the best student comments we've gotten since the blog launched," wrote one of the blog editors to Jennifer the next day. Even though we know we have great teachers and students at Paideia, there's an extra thrill in being noticed and appreciated by smart people in such a public forum. Way to go Jennifer & Co.!

Sometimes collaboration means co-teaching, but sometimes it's more effective to pass the ball to a colleague in a better position to shoot and score. An assist counts for the record books too.

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