Connecting My Classroom


Posted by Michelle Vidotto | Posted in Technology | Posted on August 20, 2013


As the start of the year gets closer, I begin to think of new and engaging activities I can implement this year.  I strive to develop skills that my students will need in the future.  I continually try to make cross curricular connections with subjects and try to implement activities that are meaningful and engaging.   Part of this is to incorporate technology into the classroom effectively.

With that said, implementing technology can be a challenge at my school.  I work with traditional Mexican Mennonite families who do not always see the use of technology as a benefit.   I struggle to keep a balance between respecting their cultural beliefs regarding technology with my views of the benefits.  My hope is that as I continue to educate their children, parents will begin to understand when technology is used properly and safely it will help foster, enhance, engage, and encourage their child’s learning.

There are several new things I would like to incorporate this year as I think it would benefit the large ESL student population in my classroom.

I would like to introduce my students to blogging.  I found the article by Kathleen Morris on how to make blogging meaningful and useful for students informative. I will definitely keep these things in mind when I begin blogging with my students. Blogging would allow my students to create stories or express their thoughts on a particular subject being discussed without letting their writing ability slow them down, which is the case for many of my students.  Blogging is a great way to document students’ writing progress, as well as, other projects.  The digital portfolio would be a great way to show parents how their child has progressed.  Often report cards are difficult to read, due to the language barrier, as German is the primary language for Mexican Mennonite parents.

Using educational apps with the iPad would help alleviate some of the concerns Mexican Mennonite parents have regarding technology.  Hopefully, they would view apps as a safer technological tool, as the apps utilized on the iPad would be selected by the teacher and not used with the Internet.   Using the iPad would benefit my students by allowing them to improve on skills they are struggling with in a creative and engaging way.

Lastly, introducing the students to the world of Skype would be fantastic.  Many of my students have little experience or knowledge of the outside world.  What a terrific way to connect the concepts being studied with other experts or students from around the world!

I realize there is more to teaching than just technology.   As an educator wanting to make a difference, the technology I want to implement this year are tools I think will help the students feel successful and view school as being meaningful, engaging, and a vehicle to a better way of life by furthering their education.  This graphic via Bill Ferriter @plugsin helps put the use of technology into perspective for me.


I’m hopeful the parents will feel the same way as I do about implementing these technological tools.  I will let you know in my next post.  Wish me luck!

Taking the Plunge


Posted by Michelle Vidotto | Posted in Welcome | Posted on August 14, 2013


No it’s not what you think! It’s not about getting married!  It’s about taking the plunge and entering the world of blogging.  I have wanted to start a blog for sometime now, particularly after attending the iSpark conference, jumping into the world of Twitter and reading posts by other blogging educators.  I could offer many reasons why I didn’t start sooner – time, planning, spending time with family and friends but if I am honest with myself, I thought what would I blog about?  What if I was not good at it?  What if people think I have nothing to say?  As I spent more time thinking about my reasons, I thought about the times I told my students to try something new and not give up when things got difficult.  In fact, I remember last year a group of students were not able to agree on certain aspects for a project they were working on.  The group managed to work through their differences (with a little guidance from their teacher) and the project turned out to be fantastic!  So, after thinking about what I expect from my students, I had to let go of my fears and take the plunge!

After reading a post by Richard Byrne @rmbyrne called, “I Don’t Have Time to Blog,” made me feel better about taking the plunge into the blogging world. He offered three practical views on blogging.

The first one was to use blogging as a tool for reflection, but that when first starting out (like me), try posting once a week to start with.  That helped take the pressure off that I had to be profound each time I blogged and try to post a blog everyday!  I feel it is important to reflect as an educator, so blogging will definitely help me reflect on activities that I have planned for the students in a quicker and easier format.  Plus, if I want my students to start blogging this year, I have to model this practice as well.

The second was that I can take time to work on my post, which will give me more time to reflect.  That is the beauty of blogging, you can always edit and repost the page again!  How great is that?  Certainly, something my students would enjoy about blogging!

Lastly, I admit it, I do enjoy some mindless television!   I have watched many seasons of the Bachelor and Bachelorette and I could use that time blogging or reading some blog posts!  But . . . I can’t help it . . . I really want to know who will get the rose!


I have learned a great deal from others on Twitter and reading educational blog posts.  I have soaked up many ideas, links, resources, and activities and I am looking forward to trying some of these new things this coming school year.  Thank you so much for your inspiration and insight!  Hopefully, as the year progresses I can share some things with others as well.



Posted by Michelle Vidotto | Posted in Welcome | Posted on August 12, 2013


Welcome to our class blog. Our beginning of the year theme is, “Our Class iBloom.” Our teacher thought this was an appropriate theme since this blogging adventure is new to us and to our teacher.  We are looking forward to sharing and connecting with others around the world.  We are looking forward to learning and growing!  Everyone blooms in our class! 

This front page will display our teacher’s posts, as well as, our posts and comments.



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