Suzanne' s Blog

This blog was set up for use in ED TEC 700.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


This is where I want to be!! :)


Originally uploaded by bdodge.
We had a video conference with Ann Davis.


Here is a picture of my Ed tec 700 class!

Originally uploaded by suzkilburn.

Here is a picture of my Ed tec 700 class!

New Lesson Plan

Title: Blog of life cycle observations

Author: Suzanne Kilburn
2nd. Grade Teacher
San Diego, Ca.

Summary: This lesson involves the observation of a life cycle through the growth of a bean plant. The observations will be documented daily with a whole class blog so the students are able to go back and review the process from start to finish.

Context: This blog is being used with a second grade class in a San Diego City School. The group of second graders are second language learners.

Duration: This project is approximately a three week project. Day one will be the planting of the bean and the last day will be when the bean plant is ready for transplanting into a pot.

Goals: The goal of this project is for the students to become more excited about sharing their thoughts and daily observations they are making on the growth of a bean plant by using a classroom blog. When the activity is complete, the blog will make it easy to review and discuss the steps of the life cyle.

Participants: This class has another second grade classroom that is it's "budddy room". The other room is doing the same project and we will compare blogs as well as comment and question the blog the other classroom is creating.

1) Each student will plant a bean in a clear ziplock bag that will be taped to the window. This will allow the observation of roots that will be grown as well as other observations below the surface.

2)The teacher will introduce blogging to the class. All posting and use of the blog will be through a projector all students can see. Teacher will tell the students that they will be using a classroom blog to record, discuss, and question our daily obsevations of our bean plants. Teacher will show the classroom blog to the students.

3)Teacher well teach students what a hypothesis is and each student will share out what their hypothesis is for this experiment. Teacher will make this the first posting on the classroom blog.

4)Students will obseve and discuss their observations of the bean daily. That time period will always end with a whole class discussion and share out followed by a posting from the teacher on what the class observed.

5)Teacher will post pictures to the blog which visually show the observations the students are making.

6)Students and teacher will check their "buddy room's" blog every other day and comment on, discuss, and compare what the other class is observing.

7)At the end of the three weeks the class will go back and review the whole blog. Teacher will ask these questions to wrap up the end of the observations.

*Do the observations we posted agree with the posted hypothesis on day one?
*What part of the cycle took the longest? the shortest?
*What types of things did you notice that this bean needed to survive?
*What did watching this bean plant grow teach you about life cycles?
*How did our "buddy room's" observations differ, or were they the same as our observations?

Resources: For this project to work you need to create a classroom blog prior to starting the observations. You may also want to refer to your science textbook and look at the life cycle unit. To complete this plan the teacher also needs to have a projector to use for the modeling and every day posts.

Policies: Here is the policy I use in my classroom:
1) Always write things that are respectful of others in the class and who may be reading our blog. Never write anything that may be hurtful or inappropriate for second grade. Also, respect the things that others have written.
2)Use the blog only as a tool for learning.
3)When using the blog stay on topic and only write about the posted discussion topic.
4)Use the blog to meet new peple, but please check with the teacher first if someone tries to contact you through the blog. Some strangers may not be appropriate for you to talk to.
5)Remember you want to remain anonymous to any outside users. Do not give out your password or any personal information for others to recieve.

Products: At the end of the process the classroom will have a weblog which constists of the students observations of the life cycle of a bean plant.

Evaluation:The teacher will know this process is effective by listening to the discussions the students have about their ongoing observations. This especially holds true the last day with the discussion the teacher gets from the ending questions they ask about the experiment. These questions are listed in step 7 of the process.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

My lesson plan idea

This is the idea I came up with for my lesson plan. Please keep in mind this is for a second grade class of english language learners. For this reason I can not see my students having individual blogs. Therefore, my lesson plan consists of a whole class blog instead. any ideas??

Anticipatory Set:
Review with students how we are planning on observing our bean plants grow as part of our life cycles science unit. Introduce blogging to them and show them an example of a classroom blog.

Students will improve their ability to communicate observations of a bean plant by taking part in a classroom blog. Day one lesson plan is students writing their hypothesis.

Students need to know:
*What a weblog is.
*Have their beans ready for growth to start observations.

Teacher will tell students they will be closely observing the growth of their bean plant. Teach students that a hypothesis is a smart guess of what they think will happen to their beans. Teacher models an example of a hypothesis. Show students their classroom weblog and show them that their first posting to be made is about their hypothesis. Their job for the day is to go off and brainstorm what their hypothesis is and be ready to share it out onto the class blog.

Guided Practice:
Students will get into groups of 2 or 3 and brainstorm possible hypothesis with their partners. Teacher will circle the room and check for understanding of a hypothesis.

Indpendent Practice:
Students will decide on their own hypothesis and prepare it on a half sheet of paper ready to share it out for the classroom weblog.

Share out:
Students will share out their hypothesis and watch us the teacher models how to log this in their classroom weblog.

Listen as students share out and check they have an understanding of a hypothesis and ask "How does using a blog help us with our learning?"

Monday, September 20, 2004

Love this quote!

While I was reading the Fiedler article I came across the sentence "We have developed and fine-tuned an art of teaching, but we have failed to develop an equally strong art of learning". When I read this I could not help but smile. I have been feeling this way for years now. I have worked in a san diego city schools focus school for the last five years and have been constantly gone to inservices and workshops teaching me how to teach. However, this does not teach students a love of learning and I feel this is what we may lack. Teach that first and then I feel the learning will follow.

Downes Article

I just got finished reading the Downes article and was intrigued by many issues he brought up about blogging. The first thing that came to mind was how he was mentioning motivation alot. Motivation for students is key. How can you teach anything if the student does not want to learn it? Blogging really does encourage writing and the blogging itself is very motivating to students. It seems as though it is something they love to do. I also like the quote from the article "writers write because they can't not write" That is true with many people, but for the students that do not hold this true the blogging would really motivate them. However, it is important to note from the article that Downes mentions that blogging for education always needs a purpose.(obviously like everything else does)

I enjoyed reading the last part which states "aren't we trying to teach kids to learn and isn't that what blogging is all about". After thinking about that sentence I do agree. But, I would just be weary that kids are actually using the blogging for learning and actually know how to read an article from a students point of view and analyze it to post on a blog.

The one question I leave the article with is with all of this blogging will paper, pencil, and paragraph writing we are all so used to be lost in the dust?

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Lesson plan idea

I've been thinking the past day of ideas for my lesson plan including a blog. I was trying to think of things that I am doing in the classroom this week and link it to that. My idea is that this week we are planning to grow bean sprouts in the classroom as part of my science area. What if the students blog their observations daily on what they see happening, and then create a whole class blog where we will post whole class observations as part of my lessons. Would something like this work? The only problem that comes up is that I have been desperately searching for other blogs to show as examples to my students as a part of the lesson. However, everything is too old for second grade students and I can't find any with science observations. Am I even on the right track?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Still looking.....

I am still not able to find any existing blogs that would be able to help with a second grade class. They all seem too advanced.

The journey north

I went and checked out the website journey north. It had some great ideas I could use for phenology or the study of the seasons in my room. It has a template that actually asks you questions on sunlight, temperature, plants, and animals that could be used to track the season in your city. Then, you could link with a partner in another state and compare the seasons. It would be great for a class to blog their observations. Because it is a second grade class you could blog as a whole class with the teacher modeling so they are able to see the process and take part in the blogging. That would also help with management so there are not 20 seven year olds on computers with their hands in the air.

searching for a blog

I am attempting to search for two different things for my second grade class. First I tried to geology because we study rocks as part of life science, but found nothing that would be suitable for 7-8 year olds. Then I thought it would be good to show some examples of blogs that went along with studying the life cycles of a frog or caterpillar. It would be good to keep a journal of observations. However, I did not find anything to fit that as well. Maybe the age is too young. I will keep trying to find ones for life cycles. I like that idea the best.


This is my first adventure using a blog. I am hoping to somehow be able to bring it into my classroom.

I am a second grade teacher at Kimbrough Elementary School. This school is located near downtown San Diego and is considered one of San Diego City School's focus schools. Therefore, I spend a lot of time teaching second language learners and dealing with the pressures of trying to raise test scores. This is my fifth year teaching and I have spent all five years at the same school. I am hoping to sometime soon switch school sites so I can experience something different.

I am married to a wonderful husband and we spend most of our time fixing up our 50 year old home. I also enjoy walking my dog Melanie and spending time outdoors. My husband is extremely supportive in helping me achieve my goal of earning my masters degree, and I will finally be done in December!