Lights, Camera, Active Learning!

Discussion of Padlet Activity:

The padlet that I created can be viewed in the image above or accessed through this link. The blog that I accessed for this padlet was designed for a classroom of students to communicate with a peer who was off on a "new adventure". This new adventure was a movie that he was hired to act in. The students posted their comments, reactions, and questions for their peer who was enjoying his new experience as an actor in a film. When the acting student had a moment, he posted his responses and pictures of his experience on and off set for his classmates to see. This blog is an example of active learning because the students are leading and interacting discussion with other peers, the teacher facilitates conversations among students, and the discussions are relevant and engaging for students. They are learning about real world experiences while practicing their writing and questioning skills. Through this blog, students were able to learn about real world experiences through a peer rather than a teacher!

Why is Active Learning (in relation to this blog) Important?

Tim Elmore discusses how and why the younger generation has been defined by technology in his book called Generation iY. In fact, Elmore explains that this generation of learners can be described as "participatory", meaning that Generation iY is constantly "invited to upload their thoughts all of their lives. They expect to do it at school and work as well. They want to express themselves, to learn through dialogue, and participate fully in the outcomes of where a program is going. The blog discussed in my padlet allowed students to do exactly this. They were not learning specific academic content, but they were learning about how to express themselves and participate in dialogue with peers in order to bring relevance to learning. Students are so dependent on social media and communication through devices in their personal lives, so it makes sense to allow opportunities for students to participate in similar experiences in school.

Connection to my Teaching:

I have not used blogs with my students yet, mostly due to my concern for internet safety, but it is something that I definitely hope to try at some point. My classroom is travel-themed, so for fun, I have students participate in a few pen pal experience with international classrooms. Thus far, I have done mostly "snail mail" letters with international classrooms in which students write hand-written letters to students from the class that we are paired with to learn more about that countries' cultures and traditions. The students love this because they are able to express themselves through writing, learn about other cultures, and communicate with peers from around the world. I help to edit and check to make sure the writing is appropriate and on topic, but other than that, the communications and learning occurs through the students themselves. The students get to ask and answer questions with their pen pals, making their learning experiences unique and relevant to their wants and needs. I would love to go digital with this since our school has recently adopted 1:1 devices. Blogs may be a way to modify this learning experience in a way that this generation can relate to more.

Inspiration for Improvements in Digital Active Learning:

The video found in this link inspires me to incorporate more active learning through means of social media in my own classroom. This educator explains that her students have grown up with the internet their entire lives and they have access to devices such as iPhones and iPads in their homes, so it does not make sense to tell students to power down when they come to school. This connects to the ideas discussed previously about Generation iY by Elmore. The students in this video are actively learning through blog posts which serve as a digital portfolio of their learning that they can look back on and self-assess their own progress throughout the year and from year to year. I also though it was interesting how this educator uses Twitter in her classroom in order to communicate with each other as well as international "blog buddies". This is another potential option that I can look into when modifying my pen pal experiences to make them more digital. I would love to chat with this teacher on how she created a classroom Twitter for her students to utilize in a safe way. I do not know much about Twitter personally, so I would need to do more research to ensure that there is a safe and appropriate way for students to use Twitter in an ethical way for learning purposes.


  1. Thank you for sharing the video! I struggle with how much technology is in the classroom and with how much of our students we put out onto into the world via the Internet. I agree with the teacher in the video , children are Digital Natives who have never known a time without the technology we have today. As they grow and learn, they will grow with technology and it will always be a part of their lives in ways it wasn't a part of ours. My own children ask to see a photo as soon as we take it - they will never know the agony of waiting a week for your photos to be developed only to find half of them didn't turn out! In order to effectively teach today's student, we as teachers must adapt to the use of technology, even when it requires stepping (sometimes very far) outside our comfort zones!

  2. Danielle this is a great catalyst for you to jump into blogging with your students! You can moderate their blog posts if you are concerned about the comments they make. Moderating let's you see and approve what gets posted and it is a great way to practice real-world digital citizenship as opposed to one-and-done lectures. Snail mail letters are super fun but the impact can lose steam when it takes a long time to get a response. While I wouldn't give it up maybe see if some of those classes would communicate via blogs as well. A couple of years ago we had 3rd graders "quadblog" with three other schools around the world. The classes rotated responsibility as to who hosted questions and then the other schools responded.

    Also, don't forget your blog labels!

    1. Thanks for the reminder on the blog labels! I will add those in. I will have to consider looking into and trying "quadblog" for my future classes to blog with other schools around the world. If you have any other tips/advice on how this blog resource works would be great!

  3. Awesome post, Danielle. I also agreed with many of the ideas presented by Tim Elmore in Generation IY, they made a lot of sense, and I recognized certain traits of my current students. Thanks for sharing the Using Social Media in the Classroom, too. Kathy Cassidy talked about having one of her students record her reading, and then going back to listen to that in the future. That's a great idea and one I can definitely use. I'm reading Visible Learning by John Hattie and one of the ideas he emphasizes is that in order to move our students to the next level, it's important to know our impact - how impactful the strategies we use with kids are. We have to take students to the next level, and that is predicated on how well you can figure out where your students are currently at, which is not always easy, especially if you have large classes. If I had a record of my Reading 2 students' oral reading from the year before or years before, that would make figuring out where they are currently at, easier. Listening to students reading helps me to know what my students' strengths are. I could then build off their strengths to address some of their needs. I am going to bring up this idea with my Reading PLT, because we share students and some students are in the Reading classes more than one year. So thanks for that!

    Carol G.

  4. I was inspired by the students' use of audioBoom in the blog post Briana was assigned. So I thought I'd try a different mode of response here. I hope this is acceptable, Nicole.

    Here's a link to a QR code if you'd like to access that way.

    Here is a direct link to the post on audioBoom.

    1. Great response, Doug (loved the picture on the audioboom, too). Your comments about safety are great and make me (sometimes) miss that class is online and not face-to-face.

  5. Danielle, Thanks for sharing your padlet. I really liked how you included a screen shot of the blog page. I didn't think of adding that into my own. Do you think that you could use padlet with your international pen-pals? You could share different pictures and information with each other on the padlet centered around a specific topic/question.

    Do your students have a computers class that they go to during the school year? If so that would be a great time to introduce the blog and the digital safety at the same time.

    1. Love the idea of Padlet for pen-pals! In fact, last year I had a kindergarten teacher work on a project (developed by a friend and fellow CPS colleague) called "If you learned here" where schools around the world shared different topics via Padlets such as "what's the view out of your window"? "What does the front door of your school look like?", etc.


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