RSS – Really Swell Sites

December 26, 2008
As stated before, I am extrememly new to this blogging thing. In one respect, there is too much information “out there” and I although I am an outgoing person, I am also private. I don’t really care for people to look me up online. I’d rather someone get to know the real me, as well as my desire to get to know someone in person. That being said, however, I am beginning to see that blogging is a useful tool, especially to teachers and students. There are many avenues to explore and the posibilities for educating (and being educated) are endless.

The blogs I chose to include are as follows:

http://www.enotes.com/blogs/english-teacher-blog/category/classroom-practice/ It has a lot of information on English subjects, including the ever evolving idea that students think that they can plagiarize and claim the ideas of someone else as their own. The site offers differenet insights on teaching and ideas for all kinds of things.

http://dreaminenglish.blogspot.com/2008/12/what-is-hotchalk.html This site offers a plethora of ideas for teachers, students and parents and even includes lesson plans.

http://langwitches.org/blog/2008/12/23/blogging-with-elementary-school-students/ This site offers advice on blogging, particularily teachers and students blogging together.

I picked these three blogs and searched more, according to my own interests. I like http://shopping.yahoo.com/blog because it gives you some great ideas and tips for shopping online. I also chose http://twilightblogs.com/ because I am an 8th grade teacher and the students (mostly female students…but some male) are crazy about this series. I read the books to discuss with the students and this site has news about the series and the actors that were cast in the first movie. Although not as cool, or interesting as Harry Potter, the books are an easy read and the students love it when their teachers read the same books they do.

The RSS feeds I chose were MyYahoo because I have Yahoo as my homepage and already use the My Yahoo page for lots of different things, including horoscopes (I know) and weather. I’m just a Yahoo fan and the page is actually easy to navigate and read. It’s fun to customize as well. The other feed I chose was FireFox. I actually downloaded this program and am starting to really like it.

In comparing MyYahoo with FireFox, I love the simplicity of both, but I prefer to use MyYahoo because I like to be able to access information from anywhere, sans the school computers of course! One can add a number of things according to his/her interests and the accesability is the biggest plus! FireFox is visually appealing and easy to use as well, but I prefer being able to access from almost anywhere. I tend not to spend a lot of time on my computer at home, so the MyYahoo is best for me.

I would only have my students subscribe to feeds that pertained to what we were learning at the time. As teachers, we need to make sure that feeds are appropriate, but I think we also have an obligation to open the students eyes to all the possibilities to learn that are available to them. Remember the days of having to go to the library as your source of information? In keeping with the “safe feeds” idea, teachers could help students organize information for the topics they are studying. After seeing the blog about plagiarizm, it might be a good idea to have students research it before writing a weighty writing assignment.

In contemplating the idea of how RSS can help me communicate with my students, I think that helping students organize information, stay current on topics and be able to listen to things like podcasts (like the web 2.0) class would encourage more, and better, learning. I could offer advice as a teacher and learn what my students like, dislike or may be having difficulty with in an easy forum. I see the potential and am pledging to make a better effort at figuring all of this out and include in the classroom.




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