As the school year 08/09 was scheduled to be a Stull year for (teacher evaluations) I chose to focus my year on this blog. I believed that if I committed to a regular update of this blog, and encouraged students to engage and post on the blog, that i would see an increase in average quiz scores and hopefully tests as well. What I am typing here will be literally printed and inserted in my portfolio as part of my evidence for my semi-annual review. I thought it appropriate to share my thoughts with my blog community, my students. Here is one half of the class;
notice the intensity of their engagement with the text!
In the portfolio my evaluator Ms. Wroblewski will find printouts of earlier entries as well as student posts. Correlating to quiz scores from the subsequent days it seems likely that students that made substantive comments tended to do better on the quizzes. This was not always the case and at this point the evidence needs to be seen as simply anecdotal. An unintended but positive element was several students who are generally very quiet in classroom discussions made some very engaging and substantive posts throughout the year. It was nice to be able to provide this as a way for them to engage their voices in on the discussion.
A couple of students regularly made quite detailed posts and through the statistics I was able to see in the administrative window of the blog that a great many more students were reading the blog and the comments. I can only surmise that students simply reading the entries and the comments were advancing their own understanding as well. Finally it is worth noting that the few students who have struggled most with the class have been largely absent from any obvious engagement with the blog.
Thanks to all who helped make this happen, Ms Wroblewski for getting me my “Smart” classroom which allowed me to often show the blog to the whole class via the digital projector as well as providing me with the trusty iBook G4 which got a real workout during the year, as well as to the students for their participation and especially to my brother Ed who created and hosted the blog on steussy.com. Here are the other half of my students from the awesome 08-09 school year;