“Use backchanneling in your classroom” published in the February 2010 NJEA Reporter!

Posted on Feb 4, 2010 by kjarrett 7 Comments

How to use backchanneling in your classroom

Good morning all,

I usually keep a low profile in the shameless self-promotion department, but, I just have to share this … an article I wrote this winter with Mary Ann Devine, a 6th grade colleague here at Northfield Community School, has been published in the February 2010 NJEA Review – and it’s the cover story!

NJEA Review February 2010 Cover

“How to use backchanneling in your classroom”  tells how Mrs. Devine’s 6th grade social studies students used TodaysMeet.com to enliven a movie discussion, in this case, a documentary about China’s Qin Dynasty. Let’s be honest, folks – movies like this are often not the most exciting learning experience for kids OR teachers – but TodaysMeet.com changes all that.

The inspiration for this project came from a blog post by Chris Webb of Minot Public Schools in Minot, North Dakota. He wrote about how his colleague, Pat Gerding, used TodaysMeet.com in his middle school social studies classroom. As soon as I read it, I knew we had to try it. When I explained the concept to Mrs. Devine, she enthusiastically agreed!


You can view the article right here (on the web) entire issue here online (it’s pretty slick – a ‘virtual PDF’ that gives you tons of viewing options) or just read our article here (4.4 mb .PDF). It’s so cool seeing our students pictures in this magazine! They’re going nuts, too! (I know, it’s not as impressive to your average middle schooler as a viral YouTube video, but we’ll take what we can get…)

I’d like to thank Chris Webb and Pat Gerding for the inspiration, Mrs. Devine for her willingness to try something new, and our administrative team including Superintendent Dr. Janice Fipp, Middle School Principal Maria Caiafa, and Supervisor of Instruction Dr. Carol Ferguson for their help making this happen!