This week some students of mine have begun the blogging process. They are very excited and so am I. Since the beginning of the school year, they have been writing in their “Reflection Journals” at the end of every day, reflecting on what they have learned in the various subjects and about themselves as learners. This blogging is a natural extension of this as they will be blogging about their experiences in school.
Instead of asking the entire class to blog, I have invited students to become part of a pilot program. I started by asking them to fill out an application stating why they were interested in blogging.
I am interested in blogging because it will be nice for people to answer questions I ask. Or if I say something like, “I had a hard day,” they could agree or disagree. ~H.M.
I am interested in blogging because I want to try something new. ~J.W.
I am interested in blogging because I would like to see how people relate to what I am saying about my last year at Cashman. It will also help me focus on becoming a better writer. ~F.O.
From there, I asked those genuinely interested to come up with a welcoming greeting for the description of their blog and their first post. While it is hard to get things rolling, we are on our way to some great interaction!
We are using School World, the program my district has adopted for all the teacher sites as the platform. It has its limitations, but I am able to create individual blogs for each students. Unfortunately, I am the only one who can post articles to the blogs (unless I want to give my students access to the entire site), so I am asking my students to email me their posts or to type them up in school. From there, I post them and then the posts will be open for comments.
I can’t wait to see comments by other kids and what they think of my ideas. ~E.C.
I have set up my one student computer in the room as a mini “Blogger’s Cafe” where students can sit, read their peers’ posts and write comments. This is quickly becoming a hot spot for students!
This is already proving to be a success! The serious bloggers are very excited to have this opportunity to voice their ideas and reflections and the best part is that all the students can and will be involved through reading and commenting.
Check out our students' blogs! Please read and comment on what they have to say: http://ht.ly/3oH5X
— Elizabeth Peterson (@MrsEPeterson) December 14, 2010
We’ll have to see where things go from here. I hope that in time, other teachers, parents and students from across the country and the world will read our blogs as we will also be able to read those of other students.
For now, we will need to work on what makes a quality post: topic, length, correct grammar, editing work, etc; and what makes a good comment: thoughtful response, correct grammar, spell check, staying on topic, etc.
It’s exciting to bring this aspect of social media and authentic writing into my fourth grade classroom. Most of all, I am excited to watch my students grow as they are able to share their learning journey with others.