On the way, we participated in the #flipclass chat, although it was more watching than tweeting since we were walking/BARTing/driving most of the time. The chat was interesting, although slower than last week. The focus was on literacy across content areas, and it was really neat to see all the non-English teachers talk about how much reading/writing they do in their subject areas. If the only reading/writing they are doing is in the English classroom, they will not be proficient in all the skills demanded by colleges or in their future careers.
Someone tweeted a link to a great blog post about not teaching the five paragraph essay anymore in light of the Common Core Standards and their focus on higher level thinking skills. I have taught the FPE for years, as it's something that all students are able to do and gives them an entry point to learning to write a good essay. However, I also treat it like training wheels - teenagers would look ridiculous riding a bike with training wheels, whereas a small child would kill themselves without them. Writing is no different: you need training wheels until you don't. 9th graders usually do, but 10th graders can be pushed to kick off the training wheels and take steps toward higher level writing.
Back to the KQED Do Now Advisory Board. We were encouraged to use their Do Now curriculum, which focuses on current events. Students respond to a question (this week's question is: Are LOLcats and internet memes art?) using Twitter and then see other students' responses.
We had a few spare minutes in class yesterday (Wednesday, May 16), so I had two classes try it out. We discovered a few things:
1. The students who had Twitter loved the Do Now.
2. Not all students have Twitter. Furthermore,
3. Some students HATE Twitter. Most of their hate was ignorance (and I was there too, only a few months ago) so was easy to dispel, but I didn't expect so many to hate it.
4. The mobile Twitter site works at school despite our firewall (yay!).
Despite that, my students were split down the middle (incidentially, I say they are ABSOLUTELY art!) between thinking that they were art and thinking that they were just stupid. It's really hard to have a substantive comment in 140 characters, especially when it has to include @kqededspace and #kqeddonow.
I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with the next one, after all the kids are on Twitter and have done it once before.