But fortunately for me, my class has been on their “A” game and then some. It’s always so gratifying to see kids just embrace learning. I love when they get excited about doing CBL or watching Yertle and Bowser. I loved watching them do some reader’s theater skits with their reading books on Tuesday or having them set up my pillbug tank for my grad students on Wednesday. It’s also gratifying watching their growth in these first few months of school as was evident at the end of the school day when we played the math game known as “detonation.” But the absolute utmost high moment of the week happened on Wednesday night when I opened up my school e-mail.
Usually when I see a multitude of “red flags” meaning unread e-mail messages, I grimace. But this time, the plethora of flags were something very different. Their homework assignment on our newest blog, Room 305B Responds was to write about the physical attributes of our Blanding’s turtles, Yertle and Bowser, as well as watch a video about an incident that happened in our tank. So, when I started opening up these e-mails, I was really surprised to see that these were not only students’ responses, but students responding to each other’s posts. The replies were thoughtful to each other. They were connecting what the writer had said about the turtles to their own lives. They were complimentary of each other, while offering constructive comments on how to improve their posts. They were everything that I had hoped that my 21st century learners would do. They had become true bloggers. And most importantly of all, they had applied all the social skills training that they had learned through the years. This was applied Open Circle.
Today in class, I brought up the blog and showed them their comments. I asked them to discuss what type of internet etiquette they needed to follow. Then, I asked the students whose posts had been commented on how they felt about receiving feedback from their peers. One girl beamed and said she felt like people read and liked her writing and this made her feel really good as well as she felt like she had a real audience. Another boy was also really touched that people had responded to his blog in such a positive manner. It was a great conversation and it really made me proud of these kids! So, I have lots of e-mails, but in this case, I’m not grimacing at all these red flags!