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Progress update for Social Media Implementation

What a busy week!

Daniel's Story

My students and I have made a little progress regarding our blogs and social media ‘scrapbooks’ for our novel study. We have started reading “Daniel’s Story” and have set up their blogs on FanSchool! Thankfully my school division has students complete a digital permission form for media consent, so the legality issues are handled before this unit even started. One challenge we face is for the two students in my room who can only have internal media permission (pictures around the school that won’t be posted to social media, the yearbook, and/or displaying their work in the building) but do not have external media permission (being included in social media posts, news broadcasts, etc.)

There are a few things we can do:

  • First – FanSchool allows different levels of posting permissions. Students can post publicly, post privately to the “space” so that only classmates can view (this is what they will have to use) and lastly, students can submit so that only the moderator/teacher can view the post. In order for students to be able to communicate, connect, and comment on each other’s work, the private classroom is the best option. Those who have full consent can post publicly so that they are visible on our class blog site.
  • Secondly, for the scrapbook, these students will do a hardcopy of the Holocaust Survivor scrapbook. Other students will full permissions are given the option of social media or paper scrapbook, and I would say its is about a 50/50 split of students who still wish to use paper and the others who would like to embark on the social media journal/scrapbook.

So far, I am quite pleased with FanSchool. This is my first time using the app and it has been very user friendly; students were able to link up to the site using their O365 accounts and almost immediately were able to get to work! From the back end of things, moderating is a little hard as there is no specific moderation page, you just have to click on individual posts and approve their request to post (be it public, private, or only to moderator). It is one more step and a little more work, but does give the teacher the opportunity to ensure content is appropriate and acceptable for the internet.

You can check out the blog posts here

My co-teacher and I have curated a number of different blog posts that do not revolve around the novel. Seen below, we are trying to tie in modern day content to make connections between a historical-fictional novel and the happenings in the 21st century.

Blog 1: After the first chapter, what are your predictions of Daniel’s Story after hearing the introductory chapter, the assignments, your knowledge of historical events, and logical inferences about how the novel may end.
Blog 2: The Rohingya Crisis Video:     Questions from video to write in your blog: What does the term “Ethnic cleansing” mean? Why does it appear that the majority Burmese population, which is Buddhist, cannot live in harmony with their Muslim minority Rohingya neighbours? What is a refugee camp and what are the living conditions like for the Rohingya in their refugee camps in Bangladesh?In your opinion, what should the United Nations do to help resolve the Rohingya crisis?  
Blog 3: Chinese Uighur – Videos Found: Questions:   Why is the Chinese government targeting the Muslim Uighur population in Western China?What is happening to the Uighur population in the Chinese-run internment camps?What is your understanding of the differences between an internment camp and a concentration camp?What can and should be done by the “free” peoples of the world to help resolve the plight of the Uighur people of China?    
Blog 4: USA and Hungary: Trump and Orban’s border walls…USA and Hungary                      Questions for Video: What is racism?  Would you consider the actions taken by the leaders of Hungary and the United States to be “racist”?Do the attempts to build these border walls and to exclude the “undesirables” amount to legitimate attempts to control a country’s borders, or are they “attacks on the democratic foundations” of both the United States and Hungary?What possible solutions should countries pursue to legitimately work through these large immigration influxes that are occurring at the point in time?  
Blog 5: Provide an update on your progress throughout this unit Some Topics to discuss: How is your paper/digital scrapbook coming? What platform did you choose? Are there any challenges or difficulties that you face? Is there a section or aspect of Daniel’s Story that you find difficult to digest? Does this history make you feel uncomfortable or upset? Any challenges or successes you have faced/found throughout the chapter questions and blogging response?
Blog 6: What similarities and conclusions can you draw between Canada’s colonial history (i.e. use of residential schools with Indigenous peoples) and the events that transpired under the Nazi regime in Germany? Use images and appropriate sources to discuss your findings.  
Blog 6:  Afghanistan Refugee Crisis: How many refugees did Canada pledge to accept after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan?  Which groups of citizens was the Canadian Government actively targeting for refugee extraction from Afghanistan and why were they the “preferred choice?”  Does it seem likely that Canada will be able to meet its proclaimed refugee target amount?  Why or why not?  What challenges do the refugees face once they arrive in Canada and begin a new life?  Please provide insights and detailed facts were possible. – Longer listen but lots of key information.  Scroll along and edit the video listen as you feel best for your level of understanding.  

Going forward, students will be working on their scrapbook as we continue navigating the novel. Their social media platforms should be up and running soon as they begin documenting their fictional journey! I look forward to seeing what imaginative content they create!

12 thoughts on “Progress update for Social Media Implementation

  1. Dalton, this sounds really interesting. I bet a lot of the kiddos are really buying into your ideas and delivery. It sounds like the blog prompts are quite deep questions with a lot of layers to them. Do you have alternative questions at all for the kiddos not working at grade level, or the ones that may be triggered by the questions? I know throughout the years, many kiddos seem to always be interested in learning more about the wars that Canada was a part of. It sounds like you have a passion for this kind of learning, and I am interested to follow along on your journey!


    1. So far my students are very engaged! I have a couple EAL students and we have an alternate arrangement for their blogging! I have not experienced a student who is triggered by this subject matter yet, but that is definitely something I will consider when I do this project again!


  2. Dalton,

    This is so cool! I love that you have a class blog as a way to document this journey. I also think it is so handy that students already have a digital permission form signed and ready to go… One less thing for you to worry about. I actually might even mention this to our admin as something to send home at the beginning of the year. We do media release forms, but the two forms sound like they are for different things. If you have a copy of this note, could you perhaps send it to me?

    This is such an engaging way to conduct a novel study. I’m loving the idea of a scrapbook (hard copy or digital) to culminate their learning… Do you know of any digital methods for the kids to “scrapbook” that doesn’t necessarily involve social media. My kiddos are still quite young and I don’t know if we are ready for the social media piece at this point in the year, but they LOVE anything digital. I do a lot of Google Slides and that’s getting boring!

    Thanks for any insight– really exciting project in the works!


    1. So far, students are really enjoying it. I was going to include discord somehow, but I have a feeling they have enough on their plate with these tasks! The form we use is just the beginning of year form from the school division and it has us covered for internal/external media! Double-check with your school division and see – you might already be in the clear!

      Good digital scrapbook sites would be Adobe Spark or Canva! I know the feeling of PowerPoints or Slides getting old… easy to default to them as they are such easy presentation tools, but at some point, students need something fresher and more exciting to work with!
      Thanks for the comment! 🙂


  3. I love this idea! I do read aloud every day but I feel my activities are repetitive and becoming dull and boring. as Leigh said “Google Slides are getting boring”, so a new way for students to engage and present their comprehension through other digital formats would be great. I am also curious if you have alternate prompts for students who need extra support.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a combination of partnerships for blogging, reduced load, and journalling (in preparation for the final project) for a couple of students who need a little extra help. After doing this test run, it will be easy to gauge comprehension level and make adaptations for the next round!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never ever heard of FanSchool! I am so interested to see how this goes! At one point can you take some screenshots of the site or the backend for your blogs, I would love to see how the site itself even functions!
    Like you, I had some trouble with permissions in terms of blogging before – so I found the Seesaw Blogs a great option as they are sort of “Internal” – but it sounds like you worked out a great workaround. This project looks like it encourages deep thinking and I am excited by the prospect that they will create social media “scrapbooks” on topics they are reflecting critically about. One of the biggest reasons I see people have cited social media as being a negative force is the fact that students don’t use it to critically reflect. You’re challenging that!

    If you somehow can work it into your weekly news prompts – a previous student of this class created an awesome Digital Literacy Course Prototype:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The critical part is key. Thanks for the resource – I will definitely use it to help students use social media for critical analysis! I can definitely take pics of the back end of the blog – that is actually a great idea for our “update” we should post this week in lieu of a formal blog prompt. Thanks, Victoria for your comment! Very helpful and insightful!


  5. Dalton, Fanschool looks really inviting and user-friendly! I think this is a great way for students to express thoughts and present information. I am glad there is a feature where you have to approve what is published. Have you had any feedback from parents yet? Do many of your students choose to post publicly?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thus far, I have not had any parent inquiries about the project. Some students choose to post to the public site and others are choosing to post only to the “space,” in which only our students can view and comment. So far, the comments have been going well – however, I anticipate some silliness at some point!


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