Sunday, July 21, 2013

Guthrie's Impressions

I went to room 9's blog.

The classroom blog looks similar to what I want my blog to look like. I like how the blog highlights different parts of the day. I also like all of the pictures.

I checked out a couple of the students blogs. The blogs were used as an eportfolio. Some students posted a lot more information than others. Each blog has a header picture that is a collage of the students' favorite things.

I do have a concern that the blog has pictures of the children and their names.  One of the things I am concerned about is cyber safety. Although I like the pictures on the blog, I also want the children to be/stay safe.

What do you think would be a balance between posting pictures and child cyber safety?

Hoy's Impressions

The Russell Street School has done a very unique, but great, job at incorporating blogging into their regular classroom setting.  The blogs developed by both the school and the students allow the children to learn what they need to (for all those lovely state tests) while at the same time being creative and taking ownership over their learning.  Teachers, I'm sure, serve the main role of facilitating and guiding students as they learn and discover new things. 

In a day and age where documentation and data is needed to support student learning and understanding, the school blog provides both.  Parents and other stakeholders have the ability to take a first-hand look at the learning that is occurring on a daily basis in the school.  I'm sure that student motivation is very high in the school as well, as students are not just learning but also creating on a daily basis.  If the students that attend this school have the basis of this motivation now, hopefully it will follow them into their later years and serve them well in their continued education.

As a teacher that is hoping to incorporate blogging in my school more, it would be great to know what type of prep work they gave to their students.  What type of help did they provide for them concerning netiquette?  How did they get the students interested and started on blogging?  What kind of "Internet and Blogging 101" type information did they provide for their students.  Since the Russell Street School has shown such a great example of how blogging can be used to facilitate learning, they would be great ones to get input and some how-to questions answered!

TZunker - Russell Street Impression

My first impression of Russell Street School blogging is how much of it there is! One thing I would like to know is how their blogging looked in their first years doing it. I know when I think about blogging in my own classroom I wonder what a good starting point would be to not only be effective, but consistent. It’s very evident that Russell Street School is committed to using blogging with their students (and their families) and it shows in the amount content and quality of content on their blogs. With the massive amount of content required of each student, I would also like to know how much time they get during their school day to write in their blogs and how much is done at home. If the expectation is that this is done at home I am pretty sure this style of blogging would not work well with my students. I have quite a few who don’t have regular access to computers or Internet. Also, if they are doing it during the school day, how do they determine who gets the technology and when? I would be very interested to know an answer to this questions because it is one of the most pressing needs at my school: lab time.

As I was looking through what students had blogged about, I noticed that not every entry had a comment, and that in room 9 there weren’t any comments from other students. I imagine this is purposeful, especially because it’s a young group of students. I would also like to know what the policy for commenting on blog posts is for teachers. Do teachers make their own policy? Is there a school wide expectation?

Overall, I’m impressed by what Russell School has accomplished with its e-portfolio blogs. They use a number of different types of posts (text, image, audio, video) and a large portion of the content is well put together. It’s great to see a school that is committed to using blogging with its students. It’s also great to see a school that has taken the time to implement technology in the building the right way.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

J. Stevenson: Russell Street School

Wow, I made a list of what I liked about the Blog and that was before I looked at the students pages.  What an incredible tool the school has created for staff, potential employees, parents, and teachers.  There is all kinds of information here:

-Review of the Disclosure: I pulled several ideas that I would like to include in mine (disclaimer about other links, not responsible for lost material,  and trying to keep the page up and running).
-The About page is great info for families and other schools
-Newsletter archive
-elearning videos for students and teachers.  
-Thursday Notice Board: a specific time and place to put out weekly information.
-Learning Links: My wife does Mommy school with our kids during the summer with our kids and links like this could be really beneficial.
-Links for Parents: Parents should love this school.
-Suggest Ideas: This looked like it was for teachers, but a great forum to share ideas or ask for help.

As for the classroom and student pages, what a great way to help parents see and be involved in their student's learning.  I really liked all the additional pages for each classroom, where kids could learn more about Math, Reading, elearning classes, etc.  As for the kids pages, they are learning how to use computers and they are finding healthy ways to share their work with others.  This provides both technical development and a very healthy form of emotional development.  Great, great ideas.

Friday, July 19, 2013

E. Peterson - Impressions of Russell Street School

I checked out classroom 9. My initial reaction was "Whoa!" The involvement from students, parents, and teachers seems to be phenomenal. Like others have mentioned, there has to be a true dedication from the community for these blogs to be effective. It definitely seems like this is the case. The other part of the "Whoa!" comes from the fact that the blogs are a bit crazy. They have a lot of information on them and some sites are designed much better than others. Although I think this has to do with the fact that the gets get to customize their blogs. (I think)

My biggest question is, how is every student getting the opportunity to post on their blog? Do you they do it at home? or in the classroom? And what if someone doesn't have Internet or a computer at home? And how much time are they spending uploading projects to their blogs? I would love to learn more about this school and how they maintain their blogs. It seems like they rely on this blog to show the parents, as well as the community, their progress in class. I wonder how long they have been implementing this? It seems to be working great for them!

Baysinger - Impressions of the Russel Street School

In looking through how this school - from teachers to students - use blogging as a part of their educational experience, what are your impressions of what you have seen?

Wow! The blog by the Russell Street School is very impressive. First, I was surprised by how much content the blog had tied together. This blog would be such a good resource for keeping parents and students connected to what is happening at the school.  I thought it was really neat that each class had their own blog that students and teachers could post to. I found the blog easy to navigate and looked at several classes. I saw "hands on homework" links and student reflections and projects posted.

One thing I wondered was how long the content stayed posted for. If  each school year they blog would start with a new class it must start fresh with the content too? I think having a blog like this has to take a good amount of time to maintain and that makes me  wonder if they have a scheduled time for teachers and students to work on the blog?

Lastly, I was just a little concerned for the security of the students. While this blog is an amazing resource to have for parents, teacher, students, and even the community, I felt there should be some level of privacy in place.  I don't think I would be comfortable as a parent knowing some stranger from America is able to view pictures of my child online. I was also able to access the students individual blogs which I felt was a little too personal for me.  Would there be a way to create a private blog?  I'm not sure on this one.

Russell Street School Impressions

Although the layout of the site was difficult to comprehend, I think the teachers in this school has some great ideas for implementing blogging. Many of the classrooms had a class blog, but the students did not actually post blog entries. Some times the teacher would post a blog entry of homework or display a student's work. Other times the blog entry would share what the class has been learning and link to articles and videos.

I think that this is a great use of a blog in the classroom. It requires students to understand the navigation of the site. Visitors can also see what the class is learning about. It also makes doing the work more meaningful when it can be shared with an audience.

I especially liked how Rooms 3, 5, and 6 got together to make a cereal and advertisement. The work involved the use of technology, it was showcased, and it also helped support the school by bringing in funds. This school seems to have a great understanding of how technology can be used appropriately to increase learning and motivation, and it has definitely given me some more ideas on how I can use blogs within my classroom and school.

M. Lipson - Reaction to Russell Street School Site

My first reaction upon seeing the Russell Street School site was that they’re clearly dedicated to using blogs as a school-wise platform: the sheer amount of content on this site is staggering. It’s clear that they’ve been at this quite a while, which is a great indicator of how they’re committed to it.

In looking at the individual class blogs, one of the first things that stuck out to me was an assignment not for students, but for parents. This speaks to blogs as a communication tool; their implications for reflective and shared writing assignments are among the most obvious advantages to blogs as a platform for learning, but sharing doesn’t have to stop with other students who are working on the same assignment. Sharing features can also be used for publishing, if the school is forward-thinking enough to allow it. The immediacy of blog publishing can be scary for organizations that are concerned with their public-facing image, but it can also help a school to appear more open and transparent.

In that same vein, another interesting thing I noticed about the way these classes are using their blogs is that they’re pretty flexible in the types of posts they make. In some cases they’ll post a video or image with little or no added context aside from the order in which the post is made. It’s refreshing to see something a bit more akin to Tumblr than a traditional blog. That attitude makes these spaces seem a bit more friendly for students and gives them an outlet for something other than long-form writing.

Overall, what I was most excited about in checking out this site was that every class seemed to use their blog in a slightly different way, and that they seemed encouraged to do so. I hear too often about how students all need to be doing the same things on the same schedule, and that everything needs to be uniform and consistent. Online tools like blogs are designed to enable creativity; it’s antithetical to their nature to require all users to use them in the same way.

D.Grant on The Russell Street School

I took some time looking through the Russell Street School's blog, and I was really impressed.  Teachers, students, and school administrators all blog regularly and on different topics.  I could see from looking at the student blogs that blogging was part of their class grade as many of them were responding to the same type of reflection.  I did see a grading guide for students asking how they thought they did on their blog and what they thought their level of honesty was with the first question.  What a great way to get kids thinking about their own performance in an honest manner!

I was really impressed by the amount of media posted by teachers and students.  As an English teacher, I like to see writing (and there were some great creative writing pieces showcased), but I was a bit shocked at the frequency of pictures and videos.  It's also clear that the students are encouraged to showcase their personalities by customizing their personal blogs.  I also liked to see that teachers used their own blogs to show off exemplary student work.  I think it's important that students can see and comment on the work of their classmates.

One feature that I noticed wasn't used too much was the comment feature.  I looked at many blogs and only saw a handful of comments.  Often, they were teacher comments on the student blogs.  It's clear that the school values self-reflection, as most of the student blog entries had a reflective piece.  So, perhaps that is the beginning of the process and the collaboration comes later?  I couldn't really get a handle on the grades I was seeing as I read through the blog, but I was thinking this was elementary school.  I didn't see a designation on the about page, but page 12 of Part 1 of the school history says that school was opened as a primary school for standards 1-6.  Perhaps that is grades 1-6 in America?  In any case, I can see where collaboration would be something stressed more with older children after getting them engaged in blogging, showcasing, and reflecting on their work.

The school's blog has a good privacy policy to protect the kids, it encourages parent involvement, and it shows that the school is deeply involved in the lives and school work of the students.  The across-the-board commitment of the teachers and administration shows that the school has good leadership and dedicated teachers.  A great example for those of us in the profession!

Jaime's Thoughts on NZ School

The Russell Street School is very intriguing.  There were many aspects I really liked about the school blog.  Not only does the school have a constant blog building, but each teacher blogs and many of the classes also has student blogs.  What a great way for a school to show what is going on within it!  I love that any community member can easily go to this blog and see what is going on.  I think most schools do not have a way to showcase the amazing things that takes place on a regular basis.   Allowing the community to see how students are learning and the positive, interactive, 21 century learning taking place would help the community have a desire to support the school system.  Too often, at least where we live, we hear about the negative things that give schools a bad name.  If we would highlight our hard working students, the community would want to support the great things taking place.
Having blogging as a part of the curriculum at the school puts more emphasis into a good quality work ethic.  The students know other people will be looking at their blogs. They don't want to be the weakest link!  At least I wouldn't want to be.  Students have the ability to have drafts, finish a blog, and if need be go back and edit it if it isn't up to par.  I love that each students page is unique and shows off who each person is.  Some create avatars, have pets, buddies, and other links.  They've taken the time to create a spot of their own on the net.  How cool is it to see the growth of each student throughout the years?!
This school has a good privacy policy on it to keep the students safe, a great interaction with parents and the community, and is supportive to its staff.  I noticed what they do to help the staff interact with each other, create a team atmosphere, and in-service to help the staff improve on their skills.  A supportive staff system is so important.
What a great school!  I know it is a leading school throughout the world in applying technology and in teaching 21st century skills.  Thanks for sharing.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Angela Rutschke- Impressions of Russell Street School Site

I was slightly overwhelmed when I visited the  Russell Street School site, as there is SO much information to take in there! This school has done an impressive job of using blogging platforms in so many ways and they are a wonderful example of blogging done with great purpose.

I appreciate the wide variety of activities this school has incorporated and is obvious they are proud of their students and their accomplishments. Staff and students demonstrate a great sense of community here and it is evident through their team approach to their blog.

I checked out the eLearning page, where I discovered a  number of resources for parents regarding technology. What a great way to bridge the school and home environments!

After visiting Room 9's site, I felt like I was visiting the classroom! I can see me incorporating many of the elements into my own classroom blog. I loved seeing the wide range of pictures, videos and assignments from this class. I checked out a couple of the student portfolios as well. It was very interesting to see how this format was used and I was REALLY impressed with the inclusion of video for performance assessments in P.E. There was obvious buy-in by the students, as they personalized these sites and they maintain them throughout the year. This is exactly what I am hoping will develop in my class next year!

As I ventured to Room 14's site, I felt like THIS is what I would have done! The look and feel of this site was calming and easy to navigate. The tabs for different pages made it feel like an average webpage, but it offers more interaction and a wonderful chronological order to activities and assignments.

When I checked out a couple student portfolios from this class, I loved that the Report and Assessment pages in the student portfolios required a password, as I appreciate this added security and privacy feature.

The staff and students of Russell Street School have done a magnificent job of creating connections among all stakeholders. It is clear that they have access to some wonderful resources and that fine arts is valued there as well. Their use of blogging is inspirational and very motivating!

Casey Capece's Impression

My first impression when looking at the Russell Street School website was amazement. I don’t think I have ever come across a school website that was informative in every which way. I think the neatest aspect of the website is how each class contributes a blog. The blog has a cute name and displays all sorts of projects and works of the students in that class. What a great way for teachers to connect and keep parents informed about what their child is doing and learning.
I was happy to see that even special areas got a shout out in Room 14. The class had a link on their blog to PE and The Arts to showcase work. However, the posts were lacking. Maybe the link was new to their site and they are working on updating it. (I hope!)
I plan on sharing this website with a few colleagues at school who help to maintain our school website. It will serve as inspiration for the future!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Russell Street School Blog: Amy Simon's Thoughts

My first impression of the Russell Street School Blog was that it wasn't really a blog - it looked like a regular school website at first glance. When I started doing a little exploring, I just felt that it was a great tool for that community. I especially like Room 12's blog. Students drew the logos for the blog site banner and a student blog was featured weekly in a Blog of the Week selected by the teacher. The student blogs were used in a similar fashion that I hope to use with my students this year. The kids posted their own work and shared a little bit about it. Other students were then free to comment on the work. This way of showcasing work not only builds an electronic portfolio, but it also allows student work to be more meaningful giving them an audience. (I'm sure parents love seeing their child's work displayed, too!) I also really like the collaboration piece that comes in when students share ideas with each other and learn from viewing their peer's work.

I love all of the athletic team blogs. This is a great way to share highlights of what the student athletes are doing. I think it's great to have all of the links for parents. I just feel this is a great way to keep parents informed of what is happening in the school. I am amazed at how much useful information is on the blog.

After seeing this, I can envision myself setting up a class blog this year in addition to allowing students to create their own blogs. I like the idea of being as transparent as possible with my families. I also think it's great to give students an audience for their work, and to get used to giving and receiving constructive feedback. I'm sure I will be referring back to this blog for ideas as my journey with blogging continues!

Christa Brediger - Impression of Russell Street School

Wow! I am amazed at what I see when reading and navigating through this blog. It is clear that RSS have figured out technology integration and have put it into high gear. When I think about my vision for the blog I had last year, I see something similar to this. Although, my blog was nowhere near the excellence of this one.

I love how they organized the blog so that initially (the home page) it caters to the public community showing what the students and staff are involved in both academic and extra curricular activities. There was also a whole section for parents that explained how to use certain devices or the expectation of the students, etc. And finally each class has an individual blog where they posted their work, updates, activities, etc. I love that the class blogs are student centered. It's obvious that the students have strong ownership of them.

One big question that kept popping into my mind was about the student privacy. My district is incredibly strict when it comes to posting pictures or videos of students on blogs. I'm wondering if they had to get parent consent first or perhaps they are more relaxed over there? That was the only part that scared me a bit. BUT other than that, wow!! I'm so impressed with how they are using blogs. Doing something like this could make a school website much more effective, in my opinion.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cassidy Baker- impression of Russell Street School Blog

The first thing I noticed when looking at the Russell Street School Blog was the layout and presentation. My eye was instantly drawn to how it looked so inviting. I liked the fact that it almost looked like a website layout. I imagine that keeping up a school blog is so much user friendlier than a website. As I scrolled through the posts I also noticed that posts were not confined to just text, but including video clips of the students and their projects. I also noticed the tool Scribd used which I have used in another class. Being able to see the full document like that is nice and easy to see. I also noticed that some of the posts had smaller pictures, almost in the form of an article. I liked that and would like to adapt that to my blog as well. I also liked that the header had many options and functions and was very easy to use. For example, finding an assembly calendar was easy and was connected to Google calendars which is very easy to update. The header also changed as a went to different topics, which I thought was neat.

Although, I don't need quite this much information on my school blog, I saw how it could be easily organized, even when I have tons of information to present.

Holthaus - Impression of Russell Street School

Speechless! Wow, I am very impressed with the depth of this blog. Looking at the variety of posts not only from the teachers but primarily the students. It is obvious Russell Street School is using technology to its benefit. It is apparent the students begin blogging in the very young grades, so they become confident bloggers quickly.

The school has a very comprehensive computer safety policy which is reassuring. I was also very impressed with the number of photos capturing some interesting looking activities. These students are learning through inquiry and doing. They truly look happy.

The student blogs were also interesting to look at. I think it is neat each student has their own personal blog along with the class blog. The school definitely has the support of the parents in using technology.

It would appear these students are being provided with an engaging educational experience that is preparing them for life. Thank you for introducing me to this amazing school.

Also, I made the mistake of making a comment instead of posting.  I copied my entry.


Jason Marconi's thoughts on Russell Street School Blog

    My initial reaction to the Russell Street School Blog was that of pure awe. At first, the businessman in me thought this had to be a private for profit school using their blog as a natural advertisement. Once that feeling dissipated and I clicked deeper into their school community I was inspired by the full school participation. After checking out the homepage, I decided to visit room 9. When I entered room 9 I felt like I was being greeted by an eager teacher excited to show me all the student's work and school activities. From the doodle for Google to parent assignments to help their children, there was a strong sense of community and sharing.  I visited with Alex at his blogging home page. I would not be very honest if I did not clarify, I spent a good ten minutes testing the limitations of his virtual pet's interaction. What an incredible feature to keep younger children engaged and excited to visit their own blog. Alex wrote about the excitement that he felt when he and his family went to see the new Batman movie. The teacher shared his enthusiasm and generated positive and constructive criticism in his comments section.  I continued my  virtual tour of this school and came across a class project involving cereal. I am not too proud to admit I will be using their project idea in my marketing class. For those of you who did not read about it, here is a little background. The students created their own cereal made of yogurt covered raisins, granola and honey. They then had to package and market the cereal. There were three different rooms involved in the entire process. The cereal was being sold at $6 dollars a box. I can only imagine how much fun that must be for the students and teachers.

   A community blog like that must have taken a committed staff and faculty effort. I would love to talk with those involved in the planning process and learn about the challenges and barriers they overcame to produce such a well-developed community blog. From the readings, Melanie Shoffner mentioned how important preparation is for the successful implementation of just about any technology in the class. Asking the "Why?" before adoption. It would seem Russell Street must have had a significant planning period with its teachers before tackling such a project, and did a great job answering the “why” for blogging implementation.  

Transue - Response to Russel Street School Blog

I was very impressed overall with this school's blog. I like that in addition to the individual course blogging that we are discussing in this course to see what can happen when an entire school chooses to use this tool to communicate and share what they are learning. The school claims to work to bring education into the 21st century and they are doing an impressive job of it.

I must admit I was a little less impressed with the library resources posted on this site. Part of it is that it it a little bit buried. I first went to the staff page to look for the librarian and was unable to find anything beyond two library assistants. I am very concerned that they do not have a professional librarian on staff which is critical to 21st century learning skills of research strategies, evaluation and ethical use of information. Perhaps library assistant means something else in Australia; here in the US it typically means the clerks who check out books, rather than the professional librarians who offer information literacy education.

The library blog page itself looks a little forlorn; there have only been five posts in the past year. It is also impossible to determine what resources they have in their library from the library blog page. That is because a library home page is not the same as a blog. The resources are organized differently by topic rather than chronologically by date. I would have preferred a link from the blog to an actual library page which listed available reference and educational services and resources such as information literacy classes, catalog, databases, and recommended online resources by topic.

While I am impressed with how this school is using blogging to create and shared educational experiences, I wish that would extend to information literacy and the library. Unfortunately that does not seem to be the case at this present time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ashley Eivins- Impression of Russell Street School

I am blown away by how huge of a project the entire school has contributed to making a success. Teachers have posted student work, assignments, forms for parent information, student made videos and individual portfolios. The blog also provides information about applying for jobs and other school/district resources. It is truly the motherload of school blogs.

Displaying student work motivates students to work hard and create quality work that they are proud for the whole world to see. The video of the student assembly shows the school is dedicated to communicating with parents. The posts are very diverse, allowing all types of learners to display their creativity.

New Zealand must have fewer restrictions on posting pictures of students on the internet, or the school must have gone to extreme measures to get permission from all of the students' parents.

Overall, this blog in impressive and I applaud the amount of effort and dedication required from staff, students, and parents.

Jenni Borg's Impressions of the Russell Street School

In looking through how this school - from teachers to students - use blogging as a part of their educational experience, what are your impressions of what you have seen?

Russel Street School has really taken it upon themselves to make blogging a worthwhile and creative activity. I was extremely impressed by what I saw on this site. The activities and participation from the students was amazing! Students are so creative when given the opportunity to showcase their abilities. Not only were classes posting projects, these projects where WELL DONE! This site also showcases some individual student blogs who were also very creative a creating engaging posts where you can tell they had learned a lot of the topic.

This site also provides a place for parents to interact. How neat! Specifically there are links that parents can click on and read further information on what their child is learning, and the parents can also learn on this site. What a great idea.

This site also provides outside links to the sports world. I found this interesting. I think this probably helps the boys more specifically to enjoy writing and reading. 

Finally, teachers are posting to the blog creating newsletters for the entire community of the blog to read. I am so impressed and blown away that a school was able to make a blog this successful and usable. 

Impressions of the Russell Street School

If you haven't taken the opportunity already, visit the website for the Russell Street School in Palmerson North, New Zealand. Spend some time looking at the blogging activities of the students. Watch two or three episodes of the student created Street Talk show. Go to the sites for Room 9 or Room 14, scroll down and click on some of the Student Blogs and see what the students have been up to.

In looking through how this school - from teachers to students - use blogging as a part of their educational experience, what are your impressions of what you have seen?

You should post your response to this prompt as a unique entry on this blog. Please accept the invitation that you received to join this blog and then post your response.