Dare to Care

construct, create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

30/Jun/2011
by Denise Krebs
16 Comments

Welcome to New Bloggers

Welcome!

Welcome to the blogging world! Some of my blogging teacher friends have been creating resources for new bloggers, so I thought I would contribute my ideas. My simple advice is to get in there and start blogging, find your own way, and enjoy the journey.

Although I’ve been blogging for about 18 months, it’s just been in the last six months that my journey has become more engaging and rewarding.

First, I became involved in Edublogs teacher challenges. It started with the Kick Start Your Blogging last January. Next it was 30 Days to Get Your Students Blogging, next, with my students, the Student Blogging Challenge in late March through May. Then I even became a guest blogger in the Free Tools Challenge. Currently I am lurking about the PLN Challenge. I’m hoping to begin participating, but, yikes!! There are too many opportunities to take advantage of all of them. However, as a result of the blogging challenges I have tried, I’ve discovered a whole world of educators out there connecting and collaborating. I’ve met some incredible friends like Nancy Carroll, Sheri Edwards, Lyn Howlin, Theresa Allen, Joanne Selig, and Kathryn Trask—educators from all over the world.

The second thing that happened on my blogging journey is I realized I was unclear on the purpose of my blog. Was it for personal or professional reflection? Was it to give assignments and write model blog posts for my students? Yes, it was all of those things, and it was a little bit crazy. Along the way it became clear to me that I needed two blogs: one for professional entries and the other for classroom work. You are reading my professional blog, and you can find my student blogs at http://krebs.edublogs.org.

So, my advice is to get started and find your way. Maybe you’ll choose to join a blogging challenge and define your purpose earlier than I did. You are unique and your blogging journey will be too, so have fun with it and good luck!

Sheri Edwards recently wrote a post called “Five Tips for New Bloggers
She also started a Diigo group you can join intended for folks to share information that will help bloggers. It’s called ebchallenge

Finally, here is a Voicethread started by Nancy Carroll to gather blogging advice from others:

07/Apr/2011
by Denise Krebs
10 Comments

Joining the Conversation…

Over the past few months I have delighted in meeting so many excellent educators through their tweets and blogs. So many people contributing their genius out in the digital world! A few are amazing writers, but many of us are not. But you know what? I’ve found it doesn’t matter!

Is writing the most important contribution people make in their lives? No, of course not. Does it have to be the most important mark you leave on the Internet? No, it doesn’t. You don’t have to be a great writer to be effective.

Your contribution is not a polished five-paragraph essay or creative writing assignment. Your job when you join the digital conversation, should you choose to accept it, is to create, contribute, connect, collaborate and curate.

All those things can be done without Pulitzer prize-winning prose! Let me tell you about an example that happened in my class recently. Nicole, along with Leah and Kim, created a silly video as they tried out a new tool called Animoto. She wrote a quick paragraph explaining a contest related to the video.  (And they painstakingly checked it for proper English conventions, I might add.) Here is her blog post.

Next,  she sent it out to the world using Twitter and the hashtag #comments4kids. Fourteen seventh graders, Mrs. Sigler’s first graders, and a sophomore Spanish class accepted her challenge to write a story about the video she created. You can read the stories here. Look at the number of lives Nicole touched. Look at the people who practiced literacy as a result of Nicole’s 21st century contributions.

Finally, we created a digital prize on Xtranormal. You can watch it here and at the beginning of this post.

Was Nicole’s greatest contribution her writing? No. She wrote, but she also did much more. Look at all the things she accomplished…

  • created–the initial video and digital prize
  • contributed–added her blog post and made it a contest for the world
  • connected–sent out the link to the world
  • collaborated–worked with Leah and Kim in the classroom, worked with me on Xtranormal
  • curated–this is an elusive one. Nicole and all of us need to not become overwhelmed with the wealth available to us online. Nicole didn’t just launch a random monkey blog post and leave it. She organized her online world. Even though she was busy, she approved the comments, read the stories, determined the winner, and followed-up to complete the task.

I am so proud of her and my other student bloggers. They are becoming 21st century learners and using technology to create, contribute, connect, collaborate, and curate.

Is there a benefit in doing those things online, as opposed to doing them in the regular classroom? Yes, there are many reasons that I am just learning about. One thing I have become convinced about is the fact that we have the chance to be accepted in a new way. The bullies and the bullied, the straight-As and the strugglers, the cool and the nerdy, the introverted and extroverted, the acne-ed and the brace-faced, the too thin and the too round. It doesn’t matter what we look like or how we are perceived on our campuses. Online we can all be on a level playing field. We can all make valuable contributions. Even the weakest writers can do the work of the 21st century when they share their own genius.

Be anonymous

Don’t get me wrong. I know we need great literacy skills; we should not be lazy about literacy development in ourselves or our students. More than ever, in this digital age, we need to be strategic readers and effective writers. (At the least, everyone can proofread their own writing or ask a friend or teacher to help.) However, I believe blogging, joining the conversation, 21st century teaching and learning–whatever you want to call it–is about doing those five C’s: Create! Contribute! Connect! Collaborate! Curate!

So, whether student or teacher, you can join the conversation. In fact, as Angela Maiers says, “You are a genius, and the world demands your contribution!” Please join in the conversation. We need you.

Will you please leave a comment telling how you were inspired to join the conversation?

30/Jan/2011
by Denise Krebs
4 Comments

Cartoons and Puffins, the Magical Media

Embedding Media

OK, here I go again, spending way too much time having fun with all the new webapps available! ToonDoo and Blabberize were both very entertaining!

My post will be a short one today because I have been writing other posts about my blogging addiction, my genius students and former genius student.

I love teaching and learning! So much to learn, so little time. I could stay up all night again learning new things in Activity 6 of the Kick Start Your Blogging Teacher Challenge, but I must go to bed. That way I can start dreaming about Activity 7 and widgets, which just came out.

Photo: By the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region. They have made it available with an Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license. That means I was free to share and remix, which I certainly did. The puffin in the original photo was very stately and handsome, and he wasn’t blabbering at all.

I’ve also included a couple previously-created embedded media. I use SchoolTube to upload my videos. I like it best because all the videos are uploaded to a school site, with teacher moderators.

Prezi is an awesome webapp. I’m still trying to figure it out. That non-linear feature has so much potential! Here is one attempt.

27/Jan/2011
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

Consumption vs. Production

Darren Rowse gave a great challenge in the ProBlogger post “Don’t be Paralyzed by Over-Consumption in 2011”. I was challenged reading the resolution his friend made, “I will be a producer, not a consumer.”

This resolution has many important applications for me.

  • I resolve to produce more of my own food in the summer because I’ve been entrusted with this beautiful Iowan soil.
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  • I resolve to move more, so I can lose that extra ten pounds.
  • I resolve to produce more effective experiences for my students, rather than just read another great teacher blog post.

Of course, consumption is good too. After raising them, we need to consume those beautiful veggies. We need to consume calories, so we have energy to run our bodies. And all teachers know, we need the input of colleagues to plan productive school days.

Regarding the 21st century’s overabundance of information, and my last year’s inclination to over-consume. Here are my resolutions:

  1. I will not check Twitter or email until after I take my morning walk and write my 750 words, http://750words.com (The only Internet site I use first thing in the morning. It is a very refreshing way to brain dump as you begin your day. It gets you ready to produce!)
  2. During the school day, my Internet usage will be limited to the resources and communication necessary for me to be an effective teacher.
  3. I will not check my subscriptions on Google Reader until after a full productive day of teaching.
  4. Lastly, and most frightening, I will not just infosume, but I will join the educational conversation. I will write on my blog regularly and learn and share through Twitter (and in the halls at my school, of course). @mrsdkrebs

Infosumption in the 21st century, has the potential to put me into a tail spin of inefficiency and overindulgence. My head becomes obese with all the information, but since I’ve been considering the idea of consumption and production, I’ve done something about it. Now, I feel refreshed.

If you are still reading this little blog post, thank you, and I suspect you may tend to over-infosume, too. We must, as Darren’s friend said, dare to become a producer, and not just a consumer. In the last three weeks, I have become much more productive with information as a result of my four resolutions.  “I resolve to be a producer, yet rejuvenate with adequate and measured consumption.”

Photo: Royalty-free image from http://schools.iclipart.com

24/Jan/2011
by Denise Krebs
13 Comments

A Few of my Favorite Things

Diet coke and Nails.Inc.

My favorite things and people are many! Do not be concerned that the Diet Coke made the top of my list. It’s not my favorite of all. My family and friends and food are actually more favorite. However, I am practicing some new ways to use images in my blogging challenge, so I used a picture I found on Flickr in the Creative Commons. Jenny, The Style PA, decorated this classic glass Diet Coke bottle and is sharing it with the world with an Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 Generic license. Thank you, Jenny!

I also tried something new, which was adding a gallery of my own photos to my blog. It was quite easy and actually saved a step from how I usually do it. To upload a gallery on your Edublogs, just upload images to the gallery and do not push the “Insert Into Post” button for each one. Instead, when you get them all in, scroll to the bottom of the gallery and “Insert Gallery.” You can experiment with how many to have in each row. I found five was too many.

I have lots of wonderful favorites in life. Here are just a few.

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