Quick overview of 2012-2013...
My goal: have students reflect on what we're doing throughout the year - mainly for Genius Hour
We set up our blogs through Kidblog.
Pros and Cons:
+ I was able to see new blog posts easily.
+ One class was on one page.
- Not all three classes were on one page.
Resolution: I easily created a page on our class blog for this.
I assigned blog posts for reflections - for Dot Day, Cardboard Challenge, and Genius Hour posts.
These were graded blog posts, but students chose how I graded them (from Sylvia Tolisano's rubric).
I really didn't assign a ton of posts - I only give independent reading as homework, and I need to check out the laptop carts if I expect them to blog in class. I also saw this as just a substitute for a notebook - I was not assigning authentic blog post assignments... It was also hard to grade them using a blogging rubric, as those were not always the standards we cover in class. So... blogging really fell by the wayside for us. I needed to change things.
Quick overview of 2013-2014...
My goal: have AUTHENTIC blogging experiences, so they continue to blog
We set up blogs through Blogger this time, as they all have Google accounts through school.
Pros and Cons:
+ Students could design, adding background picture or gadgets, or... so many choices!
- They took a lot of time to set up.
Resolution: Took the time when the reruns of Big Bang Theory were on.
- I did not set up the blogs so I could moderate
Resolution: I found out I COULD, thanks to @alcp! I may do this next year.
- Cannot check the blogs easily (like on Kidblog) to see if there are new ones.
Resolution: @TeachMrsFerrari taught me how through Feedly! <-- post from @langwitches
- All blogs are not all in one place.
Resolution: I made a page on our class blog for a list of their blogs.
+ It was fun making a ThingLink for each class like I saw another teacher do (It's been so long I forget who deserves the credit!), and the kids love it.
I did not assign blog posts (except for the first paper blog). This meant that those students who don't do anything extra never wrote any more blog posts. That was the major blunder. Another was that since there weren't that many blog posts written, there weren't that many to share, hardly any comments on them, and not many in-class role models to celebrate as a class.
With that in mind, we did experience some successes:
-May Joy's description of herself - I never asked students to write this, but she definitely got what I was hoping our purpose for the blogs would be!-Annie's story was featured on the 100-Word Challenge Showcase!
-Christina wrote a review of Hate List before she was even finished with it.
The author commented - and then REPLIED to Christina's question!
|Click here for the full post.|
- Colin used his blog to raise money. His most successful was his water campaign.
- Claire kept trying different things - her novel(s), Psychology Saturdays, Fan Fiction...
Sadly, she hasn't kept this up over the summer...
- Annie tried many ideas this year... For one blog, she copied and pasted funny photos
She ran into a few people asking about the appropriateness of the "cheeky quotes"
widget she had, and what the purpose of her blog was... She was upset by this.
She then began a new food blog and that, too, was copying other people's ideas.
By the time our genius hour presentations came along, she had begun
this book review blog! Sadly, she has not kept this up over the summer...
I love how she experimented with blogs (although I was worried for her, and realized
I did not give lessons on "how to blog") and finally found something that works for her.
Nine of my 64 students blogged - inconsistently, but they did blog for a bit.
Four of these created NEW blogs!
One of these is still blogging over the summer - Woot! Woot! It matters to that one...
Please take a moment to check it out and comment. I suppose it was my dream for ALL
students to keep a blog over the summer! I'll keep dreaming...
Changes for 2014-2015...
My goal: model throughout the year how to blog authentically, while requiring certain posts and using ELA standards on which to grade them
We will continue to use Blogger. This is so they may continue with their blogs in 8th grade...
What I will do to prepare my students for blogging...
--Share this document with articles regarding using other people's ideas on your blog.
--Set up something like this post - good "How To" to start with.
--Discuss WHY people blog.
Share Top Ten Things I've Learned About Blogging from a 5th grader.
Share some of the reasons from Pernille Ripp's post What Does Student Blogging Exactly Do?
--Start with paper blogging from McTeach - BEST LESSON EVER.
--Teach how to (and why!) comment.
Solid posts regarding leaving good comments:
How to Be a Good Commenter from John Scalzi
Commenting from @BalancEdTech
Quality Commenting - student guest post from @langwitches
Leaving Good Comments PDF from Solution Tree
--Teach students how to embed videos, add Clustr Maps, give credit where due, set comments settings to "anyone" and "never" for moderating (requests were going to email accounts that the students never check).
--Go to #comments4kids on Twitter, and comment on some together as a class. (Then
tweet out #ICommented from your class account when your class comments!)
--Find a class that is blogging already and comment on some of their posts TOGETHER
as a class.
--Purchase a world map for marking reader comment locations. (Purchase pins and
--I've thought about requiring students to comment, but I'll work that out with my partner
across the hall... Still not sure about this one.
--Include parents - we had our first blog posts (passion paragraphs) ready for Open House.
--Email parents or advertise on your class blog when there are when stellar posts.
--Require reflection blogs, using portions and variations of this rubric or this rubric (or both).
Does anyone want to help me with this? I'd love to create a short rubric that fits the
CCSSs & allows for reflections, as well!
--Require some (how many??) independent reading blog posts, using these rubrics.
--This rubric can be our ultimate goal, but I won't grade them with it!
--At the end of the year, emphasize once again how blogging is usually used for authentic
purposes. Show them that it is okay to delete posts they no longer need on their blog,
in order to start fresh. What do they really feel a passion to blog about? Or not...??
I exposed these seventh graders to blogging last year - it was really the first time they'd
set up a blog and been let loose with it. They currently do not blog in 6th or 8th grade,
so I feel it is my duty to at the very least expose them to the idea of blogging and
leaving a positive digital footprint. I know now that I need to model and require
some blogs from students. Model, model, model, and practice, practice, practice...
These will be my main changes for this upcoming year. How do YOU approach
blogging with your middle school students??
I know I will have many more blunders...