Friday was a big blogging day for this year's class. We took our first tentative steps and posted what we've been learning.
Students have been documenting their findings in the mostly marl soil we have using a camera. It's full of small snail and clam shells...and students have meticulously picked those out of the soil using toothpicks and spoons.
I'm very excited because we just got a new microscope that should make the documentation much easier. Next week I'll have it up and running....take a look at this amazing little machine. You never know how much a slick little digital microscope could change things for the kids...but I think they'll be thrilled at the detail they can see on the tiny shells, twigs and bits of beaver sticks.
It's not a fancy post but I think it covered the essential things they've learned this past week. That's something I've been working on with them, too. Finding the essential ideas and then summarizing those ideas. Students have been reading background materials on mastodons to learn this skill....first the brochure from the Museum and then a Highlights article called the "Wounded Mastodon". We used the post-it method I wrote about in an earlier post.
For this blog entry, it was time to put all those practice skills to work. What did we learn this week, I asked? And what pictures would best summarize our activities? They decided we needed to focus on the process we used to examine the marl and that pictures that would expand on that idea would be best since most people wouldn't know what marl was (none of us did before this project). They also thought they should show their "best" artifacts. We took pictures of those.
I should also note that there were lots of pictures that they wanted to use. But we don't have all the media releases signed and returned.....it gave me a terrific moment to talk about why I couldn't just publish their picture on the internet.
We'll keep up working on blogging this way for a while....writing the posts together. Do think alouds so students can "hear" the cognitive processing that goes on behind writing in this style and learning how to apply the ideas of safety with communciation. I'm also thinking that once we get their Google App accounts up and working, we could collaboratively write the post and then paste it into our class blog. That might be my next step.
I'm very excited and proud of them.