Monday, September 24, 2012

Student Blogging 2.0 #EdChat

One of the new things I have brought to my class this year is Student Blogging. Now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you are thinking that blogging is nothin new to my classroom. Well, I'm having students do something a little bit different this year.

Last year, I had students respond to curriculum related questions on their blog and use it as an e-portfolio for their essays. While it worked well, I felt like there were better alternatives. I now use Evernote for e-portfolios and have decided to use the blogs as a personal space for my students.

My students have plenty of practice with writing formal essays and ACT prep, that I really felt they needed a place to express their creativity. Too often, kids are told they are not good writers and that ruins their drive to write anything. My hope is to foster their writing by giving them a space to respond to visual prompts however they want. So far, the kids have been awesome.

Their first task was to write an email to 1 million people. Thy could write about anything they wanted. For some of my honors students, they had trouble because they are not used to having an open ended assignment, but they were able to pull through. There next post will be on "hacking" any part of school. I always give at least two weeks to complete a blog post and I make sure the topic has nothing to do with the content being covered in class. I'm finding my visual prompts here.

The last part of my new student blogging adventure is very important when it comes to student buy in. I needed my kids to view blogging as an important task. To do that, I promised my students I would write every single blog post I asked them to write on my own teacher blog. I told them I would never give them "busy work" because I'm too busy to do it myself. The kids were shocked at this promise and were ready to get to work. My blog post, always completed before I assign it to the students, also provides solid modeling for my students who are not sure where to start.

Long term, I look to connect my students with others to share writing and ideas. I hope students will become more comfortable and post video and personal art. Some are interested, but it will take some time to get there. I'm excited at the work I've seen so far on their Blogger blogs and can't wait to read some more.

Logistics:

Every student created a Blogger blog using their school Google Accounts.
I add every student blog to my Google Reader and place them in class marked folders.
I read and comment on every blog post a student writes.
Students have two weeks to comets each new post.
Students are allowed to respond in any way they want. That could be through video, pictures, song or any other way they want.
Students are encouraged to "own" their blogging space by personalizing their site.
Parents were told about the blog at Back to School Night .