Minds are Changing!

We are into week three of our 20% Project and the students are working hard.  I have students that are learning to cook, solving a Rubik’s Cube under three minutes, archery, smelting metal, learning sign language, raising money for charities, raising awareness about pollution and raising awareness about cruelty to animals.  It is such a variety!  A few of the students, however, have changed their mind about their topics.  After this week, no topic changes can be made so that each student has a good amount of time to pursue their project and aim to complete all of their goals.  This year is the first year where the students had a harder time coming up with their project choices and more have changed topics than in previous years.  I am going to reflect on why this is happening and see what I can do about helping the students make their choices next year so that it is something they will stick with through the process.


Blogging Practice

Each week the students will blog their experience through the 20% Project.  Last Friday (before spring break), I had the students begin to blog.  It was a planning week for us so that the students could think about where they were headed and what they would accomplish each week.  Because of this, I made the first blog optional.  I want the students to click around and learn the Edublogs site (like I had to) as I think they will remember it more than if I just show them.  It was a practice blog week.  Those who have started blogging and are becoming more comfortable with the site can then become coaches in class to help others become more comfortable (if you teach it, you learn it better!).  As they write more, they will get more comfortable with the site and their posting abilities (adding video, images, links, etc.).

I am eager to see if they will vlog instead of blog (posting their videos on their blogging site).  It is a wonderful option so that students can include video clips of what they have been doing (if they are recording their progress this way) and so the audience can really get a feel for the student and their enthusiasm (or lack thereof if it was a rough week, LOL) for their project.

It is quite a lot of reading, once all of the students get going for real on recording their experiences, but I love it and it is an awesome way to keep track of where they are and offer them feedback.  Edublogs.org does make it nice and easy through their “reader” so that all the posts and comments are all on one screen and you can just fly through the posts (grade them) and publish them (if you have chosen to monitor postings as the teacher).

A HUGE thank you to all who are following the students and providing them that authentic audience.  I know they will be excited to hear from you! 🙂

Here are the rubrics that I use for their blog or vlog.




My best friend, who is doing this project with her students at her school, got the kids into their blogging last Friday.  It was the first time so she had them put in the magical code so they could join her class.  Then they started typing away and logging their thoughts and feelings, accomplishments, struggles and plans for the next time.  So awesome!

I love using Kidblog with my students as it is quite user friendly and they are able to navigate it quite easily.  I also love it because all posts and comments MUST be approved by the teacher before they can be live for the readers of the world!  For a mere $5 a month (cheaper if you pay for the whole year at once), more students can blog and more blogs can be written as you are provided with more server space.  Also, students can choose their own theme to make their page more theirs.  Here’s a link that gives you the breakdown for the pricing.

The code that I referred to above is genius.  Once you have created your class, you go to your settings, get the magical code and when the students want to create their account, they just put that in after they click on the “Students” button.  They are automatically connected to you and your class blog without any hassle.  Of course, they need to create their screen name (I encourage nicknames or just first names only for security) and choose a password that they will remember.  Kidblog is also linked with Google, so if your school uses Google they can create their profile with that.  We do have accounts with Google here in my district, but I like that they get to choose their screen nickname and/or just put in their first name. 🙂

Get out there and write and have your students write!  Happy blogging!


Week Three Has Come and Gone

The 20% Project machine is chugging along nicely!  The kids are doing amazingly and I love reading their blog posts.  I just finished reading their Week 3 musings yesterday and I am so impressed.  They are making those tough choices, making changes where necessary and learning so much about their subjects and themselves in the process.  The best part…”I am enjoying this project more than I thought I would.”  My skeptics are turning the corner and starting to enjoy the process too!  You can’t beat that!!!

I have decided to take on a 20% Project of my own.  It is putting together our Pitch Event Evening.  I would love to have the kids involved in this part and maybe that is something I can work on for next year.  But for right now, I have the steering wheel on this.  Food trucks have been booked and they have agreed to donate a portion of their earnings to us so we can share the money between students who are doing projects that are raising funds for good causes.  Fliers have been made to pre-order food items for the students that will be presenting and their families.  An invitation has been created to send out to the community – I hope they will join us! 🙂  Good food and awesome presentations by my students and my best friend’s students…can’t go wrong with that for an evening out!  I have a few more things to accomplish on my list, but I know it will all come together and I am getting more and more excited for this event the closer it gets.

Speaking of good food…we have some deliciousness coming to our school for that evening event…The Grilled Cheese Truck, The BaconMania Truck, and Mustache Mike’s Italian Ice Truck! YUM!!!!!!!  Check out their websites…links below!

Image  Image   Image

BaconMANia’s Website

The Grilled Cheese Truck’s Website

Mustache Mike’s Website

I know I said last week that I was going to collect the students planning papers to see what their process was, but I completely forgot.  I should probably read my previous posts so I know where I left off and do what I said I was going to do!!!  I am as bad as the kids! LOL!  However, upon reflection about that over the past few days, I have decided that they need that paper as it is part of their process and I feel good about checking in with them and knowing where they are by having those personal chats.

I had to touch base with one of my groups today as a member of that group has broken his hand.  I knew they were planning on doing physical tests as part of their experience of eating bad foods and recording results of those physical tests.  I want all of them to have an equal experience in this, so have asked them to rethink some aspects of their project.  I know they really want to eat…so I am sure they will come up with another plan around that so that all three of them can by fully involved.

This Friday I will be checking in again with the students and see where they are in their process.  I also need to remind them of how much time they have left to work so they keep that in mind as they get closer to the Pitch Event!

More next week!  Thanks for reading!!!