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How About a Classroom Challenge?

Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference was the brainchild of my ten year old daughter, Laura, but our ability to get this site up and running was heavily influenced by a number of other people, and every single one of them is a teacher. I spent twelve years in the classroom myself, and I currently work for Erie 1 BOCES. My work affords me the opportunity to learn from some rather amazing people, including Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. My little family was blogging in several capacities long before I made their acquaintance, but it’s been through the 21st Century Learning initiative that I’ve come to truly appreciate how blogging can revitalize classroom instruction and begin to better meet the needs of the learners that are currently sitting in our classrooms. Our kids deserve to learn this way. They want to. And I’m excited to be a part of the growing movement that Will and Sheryl have started in our region.

As a mom, it was very difficult for me to witness the death of a grandfather that both of my girls adored, and honestly, when Laura decided that she wanted to dedicate a blog to this loss, my husband and I were a little concerned. Her decision to do this became an important teaching point in our home, and Laura is learning, with all of your help, how good can be found inside of even the worst tragedies. Watching the waves roll out from the tiny stone she cast into this cyber-universe has been an experience like no other for all of us. The magnitude of this experience could not have been realized without the use of technology. We all encourage our children to “pay it forward”…but being able to visibly WATCH exactly how far and wide these acts of kindness can travel is an important gift that blogging has provided us.

Internet safety issues concern all of us. When Laura pulled in 1000 hits on her first day, I will admit that a nice little knot formed in my stomach. But here we are an additional 4000 hits later, and I have yet to receive a single inappropriate message or piece of spam. Many people assume that when we put a child on the internet, we are inviting trouble. I think Laura is doing a lot to prove that it is possible for kids to do tremendous good and remain very safe. I honestly expected that I might be dealing with the worst of what the world has to offer when I sat down in my pajamas and opened her stats page on Sunday morning. I almost wanted to tear the blog down, because I was afraid. Instead, I shored up the safeties as much as I knew how, and I remained faithful. The fact is, I have approved every single comment we’ve received, and I’ve been overcome by the realization that when Laura challenged the internet to “good things” it performed way beyond her expectations.

I think the world is like this too. So, I appreciate the lesson.

This morning, Laura received a second matching funds request from an educator and his family. Pat Aroune is part of the 21st Century Learning Initiative, and ironically, Laura has known his daughter for some time now. This matching funds offer will be combined with the donation provided by Mike and Liz Fisher, the two teachers from Starpoint who contributed on Monday.

On Christmas night, Laura and I would like to award a prize to ONE classroom that makes the most difference between now and December 25th. But here’s the catch: whatever you do needs to supported, in some way, by technology. Blogging has done a lot of good for a lot of people here at Twenty Five Days this week. We’d like to challenge teachers and their students to use technology to do some good as well.

If you are in, please email us or leave a comment on this post! We will be creating a new page for teachers and students later on tonight…more details to come.


4 Responses

  1. ah….well now, my husband is a teacher. His school is pretty severely limited as to what they can do internet-wise..policy keeps teachers from having teacher web pages, for instance..but I’ve sent him this information (he’s already on his way to school now)..maybe he can think of something!

  2. Laura (and Mom),

    This is a great idea! If you need a prize for the winning classroom, I can offer this: A 4 foot x 3 foot photo printout of the Martian landscape taken by the Mars rovers, a packet of solar system lithographs, and a special video conference call (or audio, if the school doesn’t have a webcam) with two NASA scientists. We’ll give a talk and answer questions from the winning class. Sound like fun?

    Good luck to everyone!
    Susan (WhyMommy from Toddler Planet)

  3. […] I hope this will light a flame for all who read her blog and my blog today.  Laura offers a classroom challenge- as teachers you will want to check it out and get your class involved and there is an opportunity […]

  4. […] world (media too) who want to make a difference as well. Talk about transformative! Laura offers a classroom challenge- as teachers you will want to check it out and get your class involved and there is an opportunity […]

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