Student Blogging Challenge: Week Two

The Student Blogging Challenge is underway, and the students of awesomeness are learning the art of thoughtful expression and connecting with new people.

Not My First Rodeo

This is the second year that my classes have participated in the Student Blogging Challenge.  Each week we are challenged to a series of tasks.  Some tasks are a bit more challenging than others.  I have been using Edublogs since 2007.  It has not been a consistent journey.  I have had some lean years in making progress with students, but this year seems to have gotten some traction.  Maybe I am betting better at teaching blogging after all!

The Challenge This Week

This week, we are challenged to make quality comments.  In a world of “swiping up,” students are used to passive commenting that requires minimal thought and time.  Quality commenting takes some brain power.  Students have to find a post, read the content, and find a connection with the post strong enough to warrant a comment.  It isn’t easy, but those students who are up to the challenge are usually rewarded with a thoughtful response from the post’s author.

Student Blogging Challenge

This is the first year my classes will participate in the annual Student Blogging Challenge.  The goal is to start online conversations with students of the same age and interests around the world.  We have worked for the past six weeks getting ready for the challenge.  It is finally here and we are learning how to use the blogs we have worked so hard to build.

New tasks are posted every Sunday.  Students can select one or all of the tasks to complete.  They submit links to their finished works on the Student Blogging Challenge website for other students to find and comment on their completed tasks.  The goal is to have global conversations that are meaningful and constructive while learning how to live in a digital world.


Check out my students’ blogs on the right hand side of this page.

Reflections on the First Week

2016/2017 is already bigger than any year I have had.  More students are part of the Awesomeness than previous years, and I cannot wait to see all that they will accomplish together.  We have already jumped into “Indelible Moments” and will be writing those down for future generations.  I have to confess that I am always emotional during the “Indelible Moments” lesson because of the moments I will never forget:

  • My first day of Kindergarten and my first friend, Joel, who wore a Tony the Tiger t-shirt and read aloud for me
  • My first crush
  • The birth of my children
  • Victory
  • Defeat
  • Life
  • Loss

Share those moments with one another.  More importantly, share them with your loved ones.  Chances are, they make up most of your “Indelible Moments.”

Benchmarks and Corn Dogs

Since Thursday of last week, we have been taking benchmark tests in the Awesomeness.  7th graders have to take three STAAR tests for English: a written composition test, a revising and editing test, as well as a reading test.  We like to have a benchmark test for each STAAR test administered, so we need a whole week to get those benchmarks administered.

I think the word “Benchmark” stresses students out, so we call them corn dogs.  It’s weird.  I know.

Spring Break is right around the corner, and we all need a rest before the final preparation for the Writing STAAR on March 29.

The Big Announcement

DivergentIt’s official….Mr. James and his students will be studying the worldwide bestselling dystopian novel “Divergent” by Veronica Roth.  Starting February 7 we will begin reading the novel in class.  Students will not need to get a copy of the novel because we will use the class set that came in a week ago.

And now the best part….

A movie theater has agreed to offer a private screening of the movie when it opens on March 21.  The film is targeted to be a box office hit and we will get to see it before the masses. Details and permission forms will be sent home as the date gets closer.

It pays to be awesome.  You’re welcome.

Things Overheard In Class

When students are coming in the room or working in groups, they say some things that I would love to know “the rest of the story.”  I have listed just a few of them here:

  • “I haven’t done anything wrong…yet.”
  • “Her ear is as red as yours.”
  • “He’s a knight in arming sharmour.”
  • “I’m bringing planking back.”
  • “You’re Mark the Stork?”
  • “I’ll plagerize you.”
  • “I found a forest on my desk.”
  • “Let’s take her head off.”
  • “Ewwww! You ate it?”
  • “My speedo goes up to my chest.”

I would bet any of these lines could make a great story.  Have you heard anything out of context that made you laugh?

Life at the 140

My room number is 140. Learning happens here. The 140 also sees some great things happen that has nothing to do with formal learning. I live for these moments that make school days unique and memorable. They are the moments that bring joy to teaching.

I will be posting some of those moments here. They will not always make sense to the outsider. “You had to be there” stories make great memories that go beyond the teacher/student exchange.


This photo makes sense in the 140. Trust me.