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.
Here’s a great video I’m going to share with my students tomorrow about “How to Write a Quality Comment.” It comes from the Comments4Kids website. (Thanks @gret for the link to this great resource!)
How to Compose a Quality Comment! from mrsyollis on Vimeo.
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.
Interested to see how things work out for you. Sounds like an exciting project.
Oh my I love this!! My first year of teaching, I really tried to have the students reflect at the very end of the day. It was so hard to fit it in and at the very end of the day students just wanted to pack up and wait for dismissals so I didn’t get very meaty reflections to say the least. I always gave them the same worksheet to fill out. It went something along the lines of: what did you learn today, how do you thing you will use what you learned later, what was your favorite thing about the day. Something like that. I was getting one word answers from the students that really didn’t enjoy the physical act of writing or ones that were just and burned out at the end of the day. It really didn’t work the way I had hoped. Really in theory though, I knew I was on the right track and had the best intentions, but it just wasn’t working. Being so inexperienced then, my first year and all, I was not always thinking about modeling, modeling, modeling!! It is so important! I love how you have that video to share with the kids!! Those sites would really have helped me as well. If I ever go back to the regualar classroom I will certainly give it another shot. The students must really love using the technology to express their thoughts and read other student’s thoughts. Brilliant!!
This is an exciting concept for kids, many of whom are so tech-savvy. I think this idea would lend itself to an after-school program where you could really teach, practice and develop the skills with a small group. Once they are comfortable they could be encouraged to bring it into the classroom environment. Then you have student leaders who can share their newly acquired skills with their peers. Jen, you could do this with a small group of your art students…! It would be a fantastic way to get the good word out to the community about your art program and the enthusiasm the kids have for it.
I am intrigued by the idea of having a blog to express responses about learning. Now with our new focus on really stressing student reflection on learning, it is a challenge to engage our high school students to make meaningful comments. I feel that this would definitely engage the 21st Century student, and I will try to integrate this into the classroom. This is a great way to get the students involved in a dialogue that uses “their” language and current day technology expectations.
That’s awesome Dara! Let’s chat… I would love to help you out in any way possible. (and maybe you can help me too.) Your students would benefit so much from blogging and commenting about their school experiences. It’s such a great way to keep the learning going. I am hoping to start up some blogging again in my classroom, although it is just so hard to get things started!
I have used blogging and love the ease of use for students to be anonymous and hopefully truthful about their responses. Our district web site has a nice set-up for even our younger students to respond in a safe environment because of the settings and protective password that can be used. I love reading their responses!