Teachers across the Dearborn Public Schools are doing fabulous work communicating with students, parents, and the community at large. The daily and weekly happenings of the classroom, learning targets, resources, links, and student work are being displayed for all to access on each participating teacher’s iBlog. All of these enhance the effectiveness of the classroom teacher and empower students to learn.
The Tech Coaches have had the pleasure of working with many of these teachers to help them understand the ins and outs of the WordPress blogware and best practices for communicating with parents. While we can take no credit for the great work they’ve done, we thought it might be helpful to show some examples of great uses of iBlog to inspire others to try some new things.
Two teachers I’ve had the honor of working alongside are Physical Education teachers Mr. Leon Vietinghoff of Stout Middle School and Mr. Shadi Bazzi of Unis Middle School. Both of these gentlemen are phenomenal teachers to begin. But their teaching and coaching does not end when the bell rings.
Communicating learning targets to students during class is one essential best practice happening in all classes. However, communicating learning targets to parents helps parents to support the learning in which their students are engaged in the classroom. Mr. Vietinghoff posts his learning targets in student-friendly language for all to see.
Both of these teachers have spent a considerable amount of time finding, organizing, and embedding videos that demonstrate skills that are covered in class. For instance, Mr. Bazzi’s students can log in and click on the tab for the sport they are covering and find videos that break down the individual aspects of each sport. All of the videos are organized by skill and demonstrate a scaffolding of the techniques that are essential to mastering each sport. Mr. Bazzi assigns students to watch the videos before coming to class to help them understand even before they practice them. Take a look here at the videos he has posted for his current unit on Volleyball.
Student Work and the Student Voice
Since parents can not regularly visit the classroom, posting student work and activities is a great way to keep them involved in what’s going on in the classroom. Mr. Vietinghoff regularly posts pictures and short video clips of students as they participate in class activities. Mr. Vietinghoff also empowers students to have a voice, posting their opinions in order to establish classroom norms. All of these contribute to the learner-centered environment Mr. Vietinghoff has facilitated in his classes.
Sorting Through Noise
With a wealth of information available at any student’s fingertips, it can be difficult to find resources that meet standards of credibility and quality. Increasingly, one of the roles of teachers is to help students sort through the noise of the internet to focus on what can be learned from quality resources. One of the ways Mr. Bazzi has done this is by carefully selecting resources and posting the “approved” resources on his blog so students can quickly refer to them and begin to gain essential understandings of key topics.
This is only a sampling of what these teachers have done with their iBlogs. To get an even better idea of what they’re doing, take a look for yourself. Click on the teacher’s name below to visit their site:
If you know of a great Dearborn teacher blog, we’d love to see it! Send us the link in the comment section below.