Replied to

Another useful application for quiet students is Verso as it provides anonymity.
Replied to A Classroom Romance | Hybrid Pedagogy by Laura Witherington (Hybrid Pedagogy)

Joannne Lipman in “The Fine Art of Tough Love” describes principles she learned from her music teacher Jerry Kupchynsky, or “Mr. K.” The steps in her roadmap to success include:

  • Banish Empty Praise
  • Set Expectations High
  • Articulate clear goals — and goal posts along the way
  • Failure Isn’t Defeat
  • Say thank you

While these may sound like obvious practices, it’s the attitude that makes or breaks their instructional implementation. None of these steps addresses the actual student. These are steps that could be taken by an alienated expert. If these are the principles of tough love, they are missing the love. And the love is almost always excluded from those who claim to practice tough love. My rejoinder to them is to try plain love, without the adjective “tough.” Why not just love? Just loving the students refocuses the teacher’s efforts onto the students.

This reminds me of the Finnish idea of ‘Pedagogical Love‘:

In the same way, ‘pedagogical love would rather aim at the discovery of pupils’ strengths and interests and act based on these to strengthen students’ self-esteem and self-image as active learners’.

Bookmarked When words won’t suffice: behavior as communication by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)

Just as I try (and sometimes fail) to de-center myself when addressing student misbehavior, I try to de-center myself when I write. The vast majority of the students that I teach won’t be racially profiled in a behavior policy or by the police and that’s why I think it is especially important for me to seek out literature that reflects on those systemic injustices.

Benjamin Doxtdator unpacks behaviour in the classroom. He touches on knowing your child, student choices and systemic inequalities. This is useful post to read and critically reflect upon various practices. I think that it all often starts with the language that we choose to use to describe these things.
Replied to 5th Grade: Here I Come! by Tony Vincent (Learning in Hand with Tony Vincent)

I am expecting that classroom teaching will be hard work. I’m embracing the challenge. I am expecting to be humbled. I’m ready to learn lessons that I don’t even know I need to learn. I am expecting I’ll need help. I’m lucky that I’ve got educator friends from around the world who I know I can rely on for advice, ideas, and empathy.

Congratulations Tony. What an exciting opportunity. I look forward to following the new twist in your journey.
Replied to Microcast- Back In class by john john (John's World Wide Wall Display)

Some rather belated thoughts on returning to classroom teaching.

This is an interesting reflection John. Going back into the classroom is something that I aspire to do one day, but I fear how much muscle memory I may have lost. My saving grace is that my wife is a teacher and she keeps me grounded … Or at least tries.
Bookmarked Different Approaches To Using Student Blogs And Digital Portfolios by Kathleen Morris (The Edublogger)

I have observed differences in how student blogs work in a variety of areas. There appears to be a spectrum in at least six key areas

Kathleen Morris provides a series of steps to follow when setting up blogs in the classroom. She also created a graphic to capture this:

Having said this, she is also mindful that every school has its own context and exists at a different point on the continuum of six aspects: duration, privacy, content, reflection, quality and control.

Bookmarked Managing Classroom and Student Blogs (

One of the questions that I am frequently asked about blogging and have included in my webinar on the topic is “do you recommend that I have just one blog or should all of my students have their own blogs?” There is not a clear cut answer to this question because the answer depends upon how you envision using blogs in your teaching practice.

Richard Byrnes reflects on his experience of blogging in the classroom. He addresses the question whether to have a single blog or several blogs, basically it depends on how you intend on using them:

If your use of blogging is going to be limited to just distributing information about your class(es) to students and their parents, one blog is all that you need. Even if you teach multiple courses, one blog is sufficient if you’re only using it to distribute information. Simply label each new blog post with the name or section of the course for whom the information is intended. From a management standpoint it is far easier to label each blog post on one blog than it is to maintain a different blog for each course that you teach. That is a lesson that took me one semester to learn.

In regards to students, for a single class Byrnes recommends a group approach:

The solution that I recommend is to create a group blog for each class that you teach. Create the blog using whichever platform you like then make each student an author on the blog. To track who wrote what on the blog make sure that the author’s name (first names only or use pen names with young students). Alternatively, you can have students label or tag posts with their names or pen names to sort out who wrote what. As the creator and owner of the group blog you will be able to see who wrote what from your administrative panel, but that doesn’t help parents who want to check the blog to see what their children have been sharing.

While if you have 25+ students in a class then use something like Feedly to manage blogs. My question about this approach is that it assumes that the blogs are private. If you use Campus Press (Global2) then there are other built-in options.

Although I have blogged about my own experiences and Kathleen Morris wrote an extensive post capturing an array of possibilities, I think that it is always useful to stop and consider other perspectives.