This year our entire county is using School Fusion for our school and teacher websites. Although I still love my wiki and will continue to use it as the starting point inside my classroom every day, I am really beginning to like our new School Fusion site.
One of the things we tried for the very first time this week was the Discussion Post. All of my students are members of my site and are able to comment on discussion posts that I create (parents will be able to register and become members soon as well). Students are provided a color animal code name to protect their identities.
The really neat thing about School Fusion’s program is that I can award students certain medals for their comments. For example I can award a lightbulb to a student who has left an insightful comment, or a hammer to a student who has built onto the conversation and been constructive. Anyone who visits the blog can see the awards I’ve given each comment, and the awards are tallied in the student’s membership page. I think this will be a great way to have the students learn about being positive member of digital conversations!
I’ve decided I will post a new discussion each week, and the kids will have a week to interact on the site about it. This week, since we are studying landforms, erosion, and weathering, I chose a picture of a cliff dwelling to spark the conversation. Taking a GREAT idea from my Twitter PLN (sorry, I can’t remember who it was!) I asked the kids to include in their comments on the post, 2 inferences, 2 questions, and 2 predictions they had as they analyzed the picture. What a treasure chest of comments I’ve received this week. I’m smiling just thinking about it! Please check it out and visit often to see the neat ideas and discussion these kids come up with!