Yes I’m on spring break this week, and I’m just sitting here today enjoying the “nothing to do syndrome”–a rarity in my life! I was checking my email, pitying all those school districts who’ve already had there spring break, or worse (like my husband/son’s school district) have yet to have theirs. Yes I’ll be very mad week after next when they come to the beach to stay with me for their spring break–where I will be working! It will be very tough each day I get up and go to work knowing full well they are getting up to go play. Worse yet, I’m pretty sure it will be nice, warm “beach” weather. Bah humbug! I may get “sick” one of those days. ; ) You know, the “mental days” we all take every now and then?
Anyway, I’m reading through my email and across comes a SCASL listserv message from Stacey, a fellow LMS in Spartanburg School District 5 (of South Carolina). She is looking for help with students using PowerPoint, but that is not why I write! I notice in her signature file a link to her blog!! Blog alert! Of course I naturally cruise right on over there. Awesome blog, too. So why is it special enough to give KUDOS to her district? Glad you asked.
In the blog URL, I noticed it read as follows:
I knew right away this little blog of hers is hosted on Spartanburg 5′s own server, and NOT on a commercial blog site! So I emailed Stacey inquiring about the old one, and whether or not the blog–a WordPress theme no less, was indeed on the school’s site! Of course she replied:
Yes. Our district tech coordinator designated server space for teacher blogs. It is the same blog but has several updated entries.
This just absolutely makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside! Kudos to Spartanburg District 5. I plan to share this with my district too. But it is awesome still to know that South Carolina districts are forging the trail of 2.0 tools in the school environment, especially since our SC curriculum standards specifically call for students to engage in the use of blogging as a way to demonstrate concept mastery in writing. W00T!!
Now in my reader I had an Edublogs site for Stacey that I subscribed too. I new it hadn’t been updated in a while, but i was hoping…I’m proud to report that Stacey has knocked my socks off with her new site!
FYI–Here is how the word “Blog” appears in our standards–as one of the guiding principle–located in Guiding Principles – Principle 8. Also note I did not even search the other curriculum areas, but I bet this term appears there as well.
Guiding Principle 8
An effective English language arts curriculum utilizes all forms of media to prepare students to live in an information-rich society.
In today’s dynamic society, all forms of mass media are used to inform and persuade. Proficient students apply critical techniques to evaluate the validity of the information they encounter. In a culture where persuasive and invasive media messages abound, students need to think critically about what they read, hear, and view. The challenge for students is to respond to these media messages personally, critically, and creatively. The inclusion of media literacy in South Carolina’s academic standards recognizes the powerful force of mass media in the twenty-first century.
Today’s emerging technologies include many multimedia devices and programs that depend on the appropriate application of technology and thus require media literacy skills: digital photography, DVDs, CD-ROMs, high-definition digital television, Internet streaming, MP3 players, nonlinear (computer/video) editing, PDAs (personal digital assistants), PowerPoint presentations, blogs (Weblogs), and more.
The skills of critical inquiry—the ability to question and analyze a message, whether it be textual, visual, auditory, or a combination of these—are a crucial element in literacy instruction. The production of visual media is also a crucial element, enabling students to acquire and demonstrate an understanding of advertising, aesthetic techniques, audience, bias, propaganda, and intellectual purpose. Integrating into the ELA curriculum the vocabulary and skills associated with media presentations helps students develop lifelong habits of critical thinking.
Anyone else with me? Who else is going to show this to your principal and/or technology department and ask like me, “Why aren’t we offering this to our students and teachers?”