As a personal professional development and learning tool, I began this blog during the spring of 2009 as a means of connecting to the web and the world in the most personalized manner possible. After experimenting with Twitter, Delicious, and an English Department blog at work, having my own blog seemed the natural course of things.
Last year I brought the TALONS class into the fray. A two-year program for gifted high school learners in our district, our class tackles English, Socials, Science, Math, Leadership and Planning curricula, with added notes of service learning projects and cultural events in and around the school community.
At the best of times, it can be trying (for students, but also the program’s two teachers) to stay on top of the class’ varied passions, interests and government mandated topics. But with blogs, I began to think as our online communication took shape over the summer and ensuing school year, each student (and again, teachers) presented, recorded, and reflected upon their individual learning, in addition to supporting one another in a fluid and ongoing conversation around topics of interest and course materials.
As teachers in the program, our goal has long been to blur the lines between our diverse subjects as often as possible – supporting essay theses with biological arguments, using math analogies during the study of history, and many other as-yet-undiscovered connections – and are continually astounded by the depth and individuality in the class’ blogging.
This blog has become a living record of TALONS student blogging, a job which will soon be overtaken by the soon-to-be-published class blog, Defying Normality, due to launch this Friday October 8th.
Here are some of the class’ memorable learning experiences as shared on this blog in 2009 – 2010:
- Classroom Doors, Open to the World: an English assignment shared via student blog links.
- To Find Your Own Way: Teacher reflection & summary of grade nine Eminent Person Speeches.
- The Interviews Take Flight: Student summaries of success in finding expert testimony for Eminent Person Study.
- It Takes a Village: this brief summary of results from our TALONS-parents interview process is a testament to the benefits of community upon education.
- If a Student Asks a Question in a Classroom… : summary of Katie’s quest for primary source information to construct her Night of the Notables speech that spans the globe in less than 24 hours.
- Eminent Person Wrap Up: Student examples of learning centers, interviews, and speeches abound here with many links.
- Wordle as Discussion Synthesis: As part of a Social Studies discussion of the English Civil War and Canada’s Colonial Society, TALONS students used Wordles to synthesize the range of topics covered in the various discussion threads.
- TALONS Debate the “Good” Books: A class conversation of the ongoing relevance of “The Classics” boiled over into a Facebook thread between many of our grade tens debating the nature of “good” literature.
- A Rash of Ravishing Student Blog Posts: The fruits of a weekend near the end of the TALONS Novel Study, this post links to the majority of the class’ exploits.
Relive the TALONS class history through the page dedicated to the TALONS’ Class Blogging 2009 – 2010 and its corresponding RSS Feeds for class posts and comments. A group of alumni from this first group of student bloggers has also continued a tradition at their group blog, Frozen Tic Tacs.
This year’s bloggers, however, are pushing ahead with a host of new student blogs, and will soon publish as a class on Defying Normality. The RSS Feed to follow this year’s TALONS Learners’ blogs can be viewed, and subscribed to here, as can the class’ comment feed. Our individual bloggers this year are: