Name: Linda Yollis (@lindayollis | Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog)
School: Elementary School, Los Angeles
Current title: third grade teacher
Selected accolades: Edublog’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2010), Edublogs’s Best Class Blog-First Runner-up (2009/2010), Digital Voice Award 2009 ~ Los Angeles County • Best Elementary Project
What is your role at your school?
I am a third grade teacher and member of a learning community that includes students, faculty, families, and educators from around the world.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is helping students get excited about learning. It’s gratifying to see students spend their free time contributing comments or revisiting their learning via our classroom blog after school hours.
From where do you draw professional inspiration? How do you stay connected and grow as an educator?
Following like-minded educators on Twitter provides me with inspiration and incredible professional support. Professional development is no longer something that my district provides for me. I now seek out information that is relevant to my specific needs, and I do it on my own timetable.
I’m also connected to several educational bloggers, and we inspire one another all year. Through the comment section of our blogs and collaborative projects, the growth never ends!
For a teacher looking to use technology to connect with students, enhance learning or embrace 21st century skills, where do you suggest one begin?
A classroom blog is a great place to start.
It is critical in today’s world that students learn how to be positive members of an online community and learn early about the importance of creating a quality digital footprint. Students have an opportunity to develop and create an online presence; having an authentic global audience for writing has proven to be a real motivator for them.
After teaching all my students the necessary skills and “netiquette” for maintaining a blog, I allow students to earn their own individual blogs. When a student has earned his/her own blog, I meet with the parents and they become the blog administrators. That way, the parents become true partners with their child as they work together to embrace the new 21st century skills.
- Click here to create a class blog in two minutes!
- Educational Blogging is a wiki that contains the steps and lessons I used as I started my classroom blog, including lessons on the important skill of teaching students how to comment.
- Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom (by Kathleen Morris) is another great resource for tech integration and blogging.
What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?
The amount of information available today is overwhelming. Students need to be taught how to search through information and make judgments about what is factual and relevant.
In addition, children need to learn how to navigate websites like blogs and wikis, how to use/create hyperlinks, and how to create digital images and movies that enhance learning. Collaborating with global partners, fostering individual creativity, and keeping up with Twitter are just a few of the new skills that I am learning right along with my third grade students.