Personal Learning Network-PLN

Wordle: A PLN

I wasn’t a technology enthusiast. I wasn’t even on FB. I just wanted to blog for my classes.

While doing it, I started my journey in the cyber world. I didn’t know anything about twitter nor PLNs. I learned twitter is a wonderful arena for sharing links, knowledge and starting collaborations. I met wonderful educators who followed me back and retweeted when I said something useful. I couldn’t even believe my eyes when I saw myselef in Shelly Terrell’s follow friday list after my first month. Everything was so new and challenging.

Then I realised how she encouraged me to contribute to the twitter. I got amazed how she continued enthusing other teachers or educators in her PLN. Whenever she retweeted a post of mine with her smile on her photo, I said to myself I had to continue. This is something like she wrote in her goal #29.Yes, We run better when we have friends with us.

 However, she was not alone. There were others who were helping me when I needed and I’m trying to do the same when somebody says something. I retweet. That’s why I love RTing.

I met teacher’s like Arjana Blazic who started a project and my students contributed to her award winning wiki. This was my first global contribution. What she was doing inspired me and I started a wiki project for my classes where I would add my students’ glogs, animotos. It was then Alexandra Francisco left a comment on my class blog and said she liked what I had done with my students and she suggested having a skype conversation with our classes. An other great idea from a colleague living far from me…..

We just opened our classroom door to other ideas. My friends, Alexandra Fransisco and Arjana Blazic joined my wiki project and my class project became something global. It was an other act to move one step further.

After our skype conversation we decided to continue collaborating and now we started an other wiki project for celebrations.We are working on it now and when I tweeted about it, two of my friends from twitter joined us. I’m sure we will grow bigger soon.

Here in the virtual world, educators help, support, motivate, enthuse each other and they like collaborating with each other. It’s different than the staffroom. We all know that staffroom atmosphere is different. Although we have to work in teams, we rarely do it. We find something to criticise each other.

However, having a PLN is a priviledge. I don’t know whether it would be like this when we all worked in the same big school. Would we continue to support each other as we are doing it here? I want to believe that we would do but anyway, at the moment I’m just enjoying the comfort of having a PLN.

Best of my students

Glogster has become a very popular tool with my students. They loved it and used it very often. It is a great tool and I believe it enhances their creativity because of that I often assign projects with glogsters.I think glogster is great because they can add text, image and sound and then they can create beautiful posters. I’ll add some of the great glogs here.

Rubina’s glog


Mari’s Glog

Snowball fights

 

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When we feel that students are bored, we tend to change the pace and move to a more energising activity. This one is something like that. However, I use it as a gap filler or an fun activity after I introduce the new topic. It sounds a bit childish, though it always works with older students too. My students are grade 10 and grade 11 and every year at least once I use it in my class. Last week before the holiday as a whole class we played our snowball game and we really enjoyed while doing it and after the activity they all sat comfortably and did the post writing activity.

Here is how and when I do it:

  • Hand each student a blank sheet of paper. 
  • Ask them to write a wish for present, an ability that they want to have, a regret, an annoying habit of sb that they are irritated. For example: I want a motorbike. My sister keeps reading my diary, etc
  • Then have them crumple the paper into a ball. 
  • Have all of them stand up and begin throwing the “snowballs” at each other.  If you like you can even play a song which will help them to feel motivated.
  • When you think it is enough, you can stop the fight.
  • Then have each student pick up a snowball close to them, open it, and say what their friends’ wishes and regrets are.

And some variations:

You can ask them to write questions and the one who opens the paper answers the question. —For reported speech you can ask them to gossip about sb and the one who opens the snowball should turn the direct statement to reported speech or you can tell them to write a suggestion, promise, offer, request and then tell them to report using the reporting verbs.

 A friend teaching at primary school suggested doing it for descriptions. Ask students to draw a picture on what you are teaching, for example a classroom, and then the one who opens the ball can describe the picture or even write the description.

The variations are endless. If you trust your kids, it will be a great activity.

The power of feedback

In the early years of my teaching I was not sure if I was able to achieve my goals as a teacher then I started getting feedback from them at the end of the year. Until a group of students wrote how I failed that year and actually it was too late to do anything. Then I evaluated myself and saw so many reasons. From that day on, I continued receiving feedbacks from my students three times a year. After the first month, in the end of the first term and in the end of the year, I ask them to evaluate themselves. Usually they give very useful feedback and I can try to change my pace, add some variety in my lesson, change the techniques I use with them.

The end of the term was near and they were too tired as they studied for lots of exams and their projects and they were complaining that the teachers and parents were too expectant. That day I asked them to write an article about what I expect from a student instead of writing a feedback. I told them that way I would be able to understand if I was too expectant or not.

Today the holiday started. I got their descriptions. I want to share some of them with you. These are their words, no correction has been done.

I guess an ideal student for you is the one who can think and the one who has the willing to make a change. I’m going to call this ideal student Gatsby :). As I talked before you make us do so many creative things so Gatsby has to be creative and has to be willing to make a change. I mean he mustn’t just look from one point of view. He mustn’t just read the book and say that it is just a book, he has to think and create.



Gatsby has to be technology friendly 🙂 As we use so many e-tools he has to be familiar with the e-stuff. Moreover he has to use these e-tools to create some amazing projects.


Gatsby has to be decent towards his teachers. He has to do his homework, however, I guess the most important feature is being creative and being able to think.

I have one clue about your ideal student, he has to be an alien. So even it is difficult for weirdos he has to be brave enough to confront the ‘normal’ ones 🙂

Burak

My teacher’s ideal student is a hardworking one. Because of that I’m trying to become her ideal student.

If she loses her temper, I’m afraid but if she is in the good mood or the students have done what she wanted, she is like adessert.

Narod

Our teacher wants to have responsible and hardworking students who care about their future.

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Moreover, teacher desires creative students who find interesting subjects for presentations.

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Furthermore an ideal student should produce an idea about every subject and he/she is broadminded, respects others’ thoughts.

Mari

He respects and doesn’t bully the others.

Alen

Actually the things I read made me so happy. Some even wrote that ‘my teacher’s ideal student studies hard, does his best, respects others. In short her ideal student is just like me’

I’m  happy that most of them understood how the ability to think, analyse and create will be important for their future and I’m happy that they all realised the importance of respect towards the others.

P:S: For sometime we have been reading The Great Gatsby. They liked reading and talking about the book so I think Burak called the the student as Gatsby.

I’m thrilled

Yes, I’m soooo thrilled that some of my students have been doing great jobs on their own on the blogosphere.

This year we read The Great Gatsby with grade 11. They had to prepare a project trying to relate a topic with all the lessons they were taking. As they were the language department students, we thought they should do something related with the book they were reading.

When I introduced the era and talked about Scott Fitzgerald, some of them thought it would be great to do something related with the Jazz Age and the concept of American Dream as they all had dreams to pursue. They even thought they could find people in the streets of Istanbul and taking their cameras with them they interviewed people.

The more they researched, the more they liked the rythm of the era.

When we finished reading the book, they were all sad for Jay Gatsby and angry to Daisy.

On Tuesday they are going to present their projects. I saw their drafts but they keep the presentation as a  secrets and they are really excited about it. They say they have great surprises for us. I’m curious about it. One group started a blog and used it as a file and put everything they’ve done there; their own articles, articles from web, videos, interviews they’ve done… I think this will be a totally new approach to presenting projects at our school and I hope that on the day of the presentation, they will also use some tools that we tried this year.

When I see their enthusiasm, I feel motivated. I know I can’t reach all of them, the demotivated ones or the ones  who resist the idea of studying but I feel when they see their friends’ enthusiasm and motivation, they will start to move too. They will be some motivation for the others  and soon some others will join them or I want to believe they will feel they have to join them, too

I think these students make our days brighter and when I see their faces expecting an approval from me, I feel great.

I’m proud of them…