...tomorrow. My grand experiment to have my students live blog in class begins on Thursday. I've spent the better part of three months planning this idea out and getting all of the tools necessary to set up a Blogger's Cafe in my classroom. I have a two desks, two chairs and two laptops. I have kids that are willing to donate recliners and even one student who has a mini fridge their sister used in college! I have Back to School Night tonight, so I will talk to parents and see if they might be willing to help make the area comfortable. After much planning, this is how I designed my live class blogging.
Blogging Guidelines for Mr. Provenzano's Class
Everyday, 2 students will be in charge of live blogging each class. They will sit on the stage and take notes on the class discussion. Each day will be labeled on the blog and the students will post their coverage of the class in the comment section of the designated post. It is important that each student log in to the school site to ensure they receive credit for their comment.
The schedule of who blogs on each day will be posted in the class and on the website. In the event that someone is absent on their day to blog, the next student on the list will replace them and the sick student will blog on their day back. Besides the class discussion, students will also be in charge of adding the following information to the blog post;
Each student will write down the Word of the Day (WOD) and provide the definition.
Notes written on the board by teachers and students.
Mention any handouts passed out in class.
List any homework given in class.
Note anything that was collected.
Note any special announcements.
Type out any long term project reminders.
Students are encouraged to check the blog each day and add any information that might have been left out or missed by the student bloggers. Student comments will be collected and entered in a raffle to win extra credit points for the semester.
The daily blogging is a place for students and parents to see what is going on in class on a daily basis. Absent students will have a place to see what they have missed for the day. Each class will have a meeting place to comment and discuss the class materials.
This information is posted on my school blog for parents and students to access.
Here are some thoughts on why I set it up this way. I decided to award points for blogging. I will not be grading the content of the posts. They will receive credit for blogging. At the end of the marking period, all students will receive full credit if they blogged on their day. I see it as a participation grade. There is too much going on to fight the "Why am I doing this if it's not worth points" battle just yet. To get kids to engage in the notes after they are posted, I did offer extra credit chances. I felt like a needed a cookie to get them to the table. Only a small percentage of students will earn extra points and the long term results outweigh the small amount of points being offered.
A student asked about students who might write bad things. I said that anything they write will have their name on it because they are signed into the network. Don't write anything you wouldn't mid your parents or the Principals to see. Anything that is not appropriate will be dealt if it comes up. I'm really not worried about this issue, but I covered it with the kids in case it comes up.
I also explained to students that we are all new to this so we all need to be patient as we figure this out. I feel that was one of the most important parts of the conversation. Tech can be frustrating, be we need to be respectful and patient as we work things out.
There were a handful of questions, but I feel like the students were receptive to the idea and we will see where it takes us. I will write an update in a week with some thoughts on how things are going. If you have any ideas on how to tweak this idea, please leave a comment. I'm always looking for ways to improve my work.