Wallwishers in the classroom

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What is Wallwisher?

Through the ongoing Teacher Challenge to become a better blogger, I have found a new favorite media tool.  Wallwisher is a simple to use brainstorming tool that allows you to open a discussion and have others help you brainstorm.  The idea works somewhat like a forum, you can invite people to stop by your “wall” and leave notes that add to the discussion.  You have some security and can request to approve all posts before they are displayed.  Leaving the comments like sticky notes where they can be moved around and organized feels more like my current offline brainstorming, and I like the kid friendly feel.  Forums can be dull to look at and not as easy to organize thoughts with a classroom.

What can we do with Wallwisher?

My first thought is homework discussions.  What a great way to have students discuss ideas or concepts from the school day.  They have a chance to think about the topic, maybe even get some insight from friends or family outside of school.  The more we are able to explore ideas, the deeper our understanding will be.  After the homework is completed, hook up a projector in the classroom, and have a group organization and follow-up activity.  If you would like to see an example, I have created a Wallwisher post here to brainstorm other ways to incorporate this form of media into the classroom.

Connecting Parents Before the IEP

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Pre-IEP Parent Questionnaire

As special educators, part of our job is to collaborate with a team on each student’s program.  This team can include many people from teachers, administration, specialists, and parents.

We have to make sure that the parent is involved from the very beginning.  This starts before the IEP is written and assessments completed.  An easy way to help parents get involved is by asking them to fill out a questionnaire.  This can give great insight to what their expectations are for you and what they expect for their child.  This is just the first step to better involvement and showing parents that they will be taking an active role in their child’s education.

Here is a short example of a possible parent IEP questionnaire.  Take from this or add to it what you would like.  Give me any feedback you have about your thoughts or experience with using a questionnaire prior to the planing stages of the educational program.

Teacher Challenge’s 30 Days to Kick Starting your Blogging

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I am gearing up to start a new position at a new school.  I want parents, students, and fellow teachers to have an easy resource to get to know me and my interests, along with what I will be doing inside the school.  I hope this will build into a resource for people looking for ideas on differentiating instruction, and collaborating within a school to create a seamless integration of special education into the classroom.

I am looking forward to learning how to make a blog accessible to not just parents and teachers, but also students.  I want this to be a resource for students and a way to show off all the hard work they are doing.

So thank you for the Teacher Challenge’s 30 Days to Kick Starting your Blogging.  I look forward to following many other new bloggers out there and expanding our knowledge together.