05 August 2008


I recently read about the need for certain edubloggers to step outside the echo chambers they were in. The idea being that if you're an ed tech person (for example) and you only read and comment upon other ed tech blogs, then whatever message you feel is most important likely isn't going to be effective: You're always preaching to the choir. And yet, we can be a rather cliquish bunch at times.

It seems like summers are a time when I try to step outside my traditional feeds a bit more. Last year, I delved into the edtech world. This year, spurred on by experience working in an elementary last spring, I've enjoyed looking for blogs that document life in the primary (and pre-school) classroom. What I am loving about these is that it gives a glimpse of the kind of social learning that we don't see at secondary---as sad of a statement as that is.

For example, here is a recent post from Organized Chaos:
a little one leaned over as i was reading him the riot act and placed his fingers on my forehead. slowly he traced my furrowed brow and asked what was happening to my head.

ah, to have just turned 5 and live in a me-centered world where you have not yet learned to read others' emotions on their faces. welcome to school. next time my forehead gets like this you'll know what it means. this time though, let me make myself very, very clear while you're in the thinking-spot.
While I can easily picture this entire scene, I have to say that it isn't something I've ever experienced at the high school level. I don't have to teach kids how to stand in line or put their things away or worry about someone pooping during group work. We do talk about developing the social order of the classroom, but I admit that our conversations don't go quite like this one as documented by Kindergarten Chaos:
My kiddos came up with these rules for our classroom, with a bit of guidance of course. Without the guidance of many combining rules into one, we would have a list 100 feet long*.
  1. Listen to our teachers.
  2. Always use our brains.
  3. Be careful with our stuff.
  4. Always take good care of each other.
If everyone lived by these rules, the world would be a happier place, don't you think?

*some gems that were combined under a broader idea:
  1. Don't poke people and make them bleed
  2. Don't push someone down and make them bleed. (Sense a theme?)
  3. Don't bump people.
  4. Don't kick people on the carpet.
  5. Don't spit on people.
You get the drift...
I look at the posts from Mrs. Sommerville on setting up her classroom and I can't help but think how much fun it would be to see children learning there. Even if these teachers experience the same kinds of frustrations that we all do, their view of learning is unusual (at least for me). I am truly enjoying having them in my Google Reader feeds---and more will certainly start showing up in my blogroll.

If you haven't had a look at these blogs, I highly recommend them---even if you aren't interested in working with primary students, the questions they provoke are just as relevant for every teacher.
Have you stepped outside the echo chamber recently? Any good finds?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the "linky love." :) It was very nice of you to stop by.

Mrs. V

The Science Goddess said...

You have a delightful blog. I look forward to reading more of your stories and learning about life in the preschool classroom.

Hugh O'Donnell said...

Good post, SG. I often think about the hazards of being intellectually inbred via homogeneous blogging.

When I cruise, I look at blogrolls. Sometimes what I see scares me away.

But you're absolutely, positively correct in that we need to get out there and cross-pollinate. (Does that resonate with a science goddess? :D)

The Science Goddess said...

It sure does. :)

I think that the primary purpose in creating on-line content is to connect with those who have similar interests. It fulfills a need that we can't always make happen in the real world. As a result, however, our blogrolls can look very much like "intellectual inbreeding."

The next step should be mixing up one's reading to reach out to new circles and make new connections. I'm enjoying discovering what those might be.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, SG. I appreciate the "linky love," as Mrs. V. said. Frankly, your blog has been stepping outside my comfort zone, especially when you talk about technology. I've learned a lot, and I appreciate that, too.

The Science Goddess said...

It's probably my lack of intellectual curiosity, but I don't remember a time in the edusphere where there have been so many pre-school/primary blogs. I think it's awesome---voices that have been missing, both from own on-line learning and overall.

Sadly enough, I'm hardly techie compared to some of the blogs I look at. They feel like a foreign language! But hey, kids need all of us with all of our various skills.

It's great to share!

Michaele Sommerville said...

Thank you for the link and praise, and for being such a supporter of my blog as it has morphed, flexed and changed since I first started sharing myself with the internet! My blogroll has had to be updated regularly, as my interests keep changing, and I keep finding new blogs or topics that catch my eye. I've gotten more organizational info and tips from design and decor blogs than I was able to find on "regular" ed. blogs, recipes for kindergarten cooking time from foodie blogs, art to share with my students from craftsy/artsy folk who share their processes, inspiration and products online... it goes on and on.

I'm an advocate of teachers having a full, rich life outside of the classroom too, so I don't mind blending my family's photos and adventures into the blog... craft and humor links, home decor, the stuff that interests me when I'm not reminding students that they should feel free to "kiss their brains" for all of the good thinking they do!

Following your new adventure gives me a chance to see it all again through fresh eyes- I appreciate you sharing!