Tagged: students

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SF students give thanks for Kindles

favicon The Kindles have been in Kathleen’s classroom in San Francisco for less than two weeks, and already, students are writing thank-you cards.

Here are a few! (The first two didn’t photograph well.)

“Thanks so much for the Kindles, Mr. Isero! You’ve opened me up to so many books. I am currently reading The ShallowsThe Alchemist, and The New York Times. Thanks! –Nick


“Dear Mr. Isero, Thank you very much for the Kindles. I am excited to read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The Kindles will come in handy! —Sincerely, Eryka Q.


“Dear Mr. Isero, Thank you so much for the Kindles! They have opened the doors even wider into the world of reading. You are so kind for donating all of these Kindles to us juniors! Because of this Kindle, I will never lose my interest in reading.” —Sincerely, M.C.


“Dear Mr. Isero, I am very happy to know that someone like you takes pride in helping young adults. I would like to appreciate and thank you for the Kindles. They make reading so much better! I am reading The Cartel series, and I’m on Book 5, thanks to the Kindle. Thank you so much!” —Jada

* * *
I think these are wonderful — it’s great to get thanks. But really, the gratitude goes to the hundreds of people from across the country who have found the Kindle Classroom Project and donated their Kindles. (And to Kathleen, who is encouraging her students to read every day.) (And to Kathleen’s students, who are reading up a storm.)

This gives me an idea. It’s time that the students know the name of the generous donor who contributed their Kindle. That way, if they want to write a thank-you card, they can thank the donor directly. Once the student writes the note, I would fill out the envelope with the donor’s address and mail off the note.

Thoughts? favicon

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Don’t worry, Physical Book Lovers

favicon Don’t worry, Physical Book Lovers. I have a secret for you: Students still love reading real books! (Please don’t tell anyone.)

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I hope you have a great reading week! favicon

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My students love GroupMe

GroupMe, a group text messaging service, recently won SXSW’s Digital Breakout Award. I can see why. My students love GroupMe.

GroupMe gives you a phone number that you can share with a group. Text that number, and everyone gets it. You can also conference call.

Since my post in September, my students have used GroupMe to get help on their homework and to coordinate class projects. There’s plenty of room for jokes and banter, too.

Even students with computers prefer GroupMe. It’s faster than Facebook. I love Edmodo, but it’s just not as universal as GroupMe. GroupMe is just a text away, and you get the whole group at the same time.

The only problem comes if the group becomes too large. One of my groups is 17 students big, and there was conflict a couple months ago when someone thought GroupMe was Twitter. For students without unlimited text plans, it doesn’t work. Even though you can mute incoming texts, it’s best when everyone in the group gets the messages.

Next year, I think I’m going to require students to sign up either for GroupMe or another service that will encourage peer support. The best classes are ones where students know they can get help from the teacher but also realize the importance of supporting each other. 

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Starting a student tech club on campus

faviconOne of my dreams is having a technology club on campus, but so far, I haven’t found the spark among students.

Starting anything new at my school is difficult. You would think a small school would make things easier. The opposite is true: When there are only 300 students,  getting even 10 students together is a major undertaking.

It doesn’t help that the stereotype of “young techie” doesn’t exactly match up with the stereotype of “urban youth.”

But the need is obvious. The interest, I believe, is just under the surface.

Recent breakthrough
Last week, a young woman approached me and asked, “Can I start a tech club?” This is the same girl I pitched the idea to a year ago. (See, it takes time.) Last year, she wanted to found the club so that students could practice their keyboarding skills using Mavis Beacon. (No, that’s not exactly what I hoping, but you have to start somewhere.)

I was happy to see her excitement, so I got her a club request form, which requires five students as founding members.

Today, she came up to me again. “I need one more, Mr. Isero. Can you help me?” We’re close. And now I have a homework assignment. Maybe this year, the student technology club will get off the ground, Mavis Beacon or not. favicon

(Note: Please, if you have ideas for how to grow the club, let me know in the comments. Thank you.)