4/22/2005 03:23:00 pm

A few days ago a student came to see me about dropping my grade 12 precalculus class because she said the "math was too hard" for her. I've been meaning to follow up my previous post with that story and my thoughts about it but I just had an epiphany with three other kids in that class that I've got to get out! (More about the fearful student later.)

My grade 12 precal students are my blogging guinea pigs. I'm learning more each day as I try to accommodate the technology and find meaningful, relevant and curricular based applications of it. About 3 or 4 years ago I created a review website to support this course. As the class works through it I go around to give one-on-one individualized attention to those students that most need it.

Today, I also took the opportunity to make an encouraging comment to three students who haven't yet earned their blogging mark for any of the units we've covered so far in the course. What has really bothered me about these three is that they are among the most mathematically able students in the class. Here's what happened:

The first girl is Cambodian. She's an excellent young lady yet she rarely says a word. I've been hoping that using the blog would give her a voice in the class. To date, no such luck. She shared with me today that she would be embarrassed to write something on the blog where everyone would know who she was and what she wrote. In our two minute conversation I asked her how she would feel about using a "code name" that only she and I would know. That would give her the anonymity she craves with her classmates, her the opportunity to enhance her learning, and me some insight into her thinking and the ability to recognize her for it in terms of her blogging mark. Fantastic! One problem solved.

Sitting next to her were two Chinese girls who have also been regularly missing out on their blogging marks. As we discussed it they told me they had trouble understanding the text on the blog and, moreover, had trouble writing in English. So, I copied some text from the math problem they had on the computer screen, went to Google, clicked on the [More] link, scrolled down and clicked on the [Translate Tool], pasted in the text, selected [English to Chinese] then clicked [translate]. The looks on their faces were priceless .....

I'm going to see three blog posts in the next few days for the very first time .... ba da ba ba baaa! I'm lovin' it!

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  1. Anonymous27/4/05 20:08

    great idea. our school uses discussiom forums in a similar way.

    just one question - the anonymous code name... if there is just one... how is that anonymous?

    Keep up the good work though.

  2. There are two ways I can think of that a student can post anonymously.

    (a) One is here, in the [comments] section of a post.

    (b) A second is: I can create a "team member" on the blog named "anonymous." Then make the username and password for this user public knowledge. This way any student can make an anonymous post any time they like.