Over the past few years, I have inconsistently shared the work occurring in my classroom. Years ago, daily posts on my now-abandoned classroom blog, reflections on my professional blog, and posts on my students’ blogs kept invested adults current about the learning taking place in my classroom. For the past few years, I have practically gone into hiding after moving my classroom from the blogs to Edmodo and then Haiku. I have allowed ambiguous student privacy expectations of my district and partner agencies to discourage me from posting learning to an authentic global audience. Before reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, I was only sharing my work through Instagram and practically stopped encouraging my students to share their work.
I am still a little apprehensive about pushing my students to share their work with authentic audiences. When I read about teachers seamlessly integrating social media into their classrooms as a way to have students provide evidence of understanding as in #InstagramELE Challenge by Pilar Munday and using it to support bonding over shared face-to-face experiences as in Instagram Scavenger Hunt by Caitlin Tucker, I felt a little envious. Part of me wants to just grab these engaging activities and incorporate them into my classroom. But then, the reality sinks in. Less than half of my students have smart phones with data plans; of these, many are older devices with limited storage and low resolution cameras. Currently, students are unable to connect personal devices to the student wifi and the guest wifi is turned off during school hours. The residential agency does not provide students with wifi access. Additionally, my partner agencies have contradictory and unrealistic expectations of students’ social media use. Currently, I encourage my students to photograph and post highlights from shared learning experiences, such as field trips, guest speakers, and hands-on activities, but I do not directly integrate the use of social media into the curriculum as Monday and Tucker model.
Reading Show Your Work inspired me to return to publicly sharing the work taking place in my classroom. Since reading his book, I have created a classroom website titled Ms. Priester’s Classes. Even though it is not perfect and finished, I have published it. My students have already begun written posts documenting lessons and sharing reflections and work, such as this post “Sketchnoting by Diana and Imani.” I am piloting this in my intersession courses, but my goal is to have a student write at least one post for each course during the traditional school year. I can enhance this by adding a teacher’s toolbox to each posts containing links to copyable versions resources.
As I look toward the upcoming school year, I hope to show the work of my students and myself by:
-Reflection of experience
-Student author profile
Last year, I established classroom goals at the beginning of the year: increase rigorous academic talk, support claims with evidence, and read and comprehend expository texts. This fall, I am considering adding “show your work” to our annual goals.
I know that my first few Twitter chats were fast and intimidating, so when my classmates and I received an assignment to participate in two this month, I challenged myself to facilitate one for the first time to create a safe learning space. It worked! We all learned together!