How'd It Go?
So my proposed plan was to have student begin collecting work to compile onto a Google Site. How far did we get? Definitely not that far. What we have done as a class, however, is on track to get there eventually however. My students have been introduced to and are becoming proficient at several Google Apps. They have been recording all the books they've been reading during their independent Reading Workshop on Google Books. They use Google Docs for all their documents and presentations. We've stored pictures of the happenings in our classroom on Picasa. And my favorite yet, using Blogger.
What Worked/What Didn't?
Let's start first with what didn't work. I aimed too high. There was no way in three short months that I'd get as far as I expected to. Teaching two subjects this year, taking an online class, having another part time job, and coaching JV soccer was much more than I had expected. What's working? We're slowly inching our way towards my goal. On our Blogger accounts, each student created a pseudonym, or a pen name, for themselves. This tied in perfectly with our SS unit at the beginning of the year with the authors of the Federalists papers having written with a pen name. Though my kids are kind of silly, they really understood the rationale behind not having their real name out on the web, and also like the secrecy of even their peers not knowing (at first) who they were. Though, as far as I know, we're the only classroom using several of the Google Apps, the entire school has now moved to using Docs. This has made it so much easier when it comes to kids losing their laptops, forgetting their laptops, losing their hard drive, etc. On Student Led Conference night, students shared with their parents our classroom website, our classroom Blog and their own, and their reading record - all virtually. Teachers were a little confused when I sent them a letter that all my kids would need was their laptop. But really, that's all they DID need! I also have a student who has been out most of the year due to health issues - this has been a great way for him to remain connected to our classroom.
What's Next? How Will You Change It?
I plan to continue teaching my students about the various apps that Google offers, leading up to them having collected enough work throughout the year to create their own Google site. I plan for the site to be a final evaluation for their Language Arts grade at the end of the school year. I had created a site which I use to teach Google Sites to teachers in our district, and was able to add a lot more to it with some of the tools from this summer. Though it's a lot of information, I'll probably still use some of these resources (and at least make the link available) when we finally do get to using this with students. (Thank you so much for showing us how to screen capture with Quicktime - it's so helpful, and easy!!)