Blogging with Students
Whew… this has been a busy 3 weeks of blogging with my students. Since my class has been busy getting ready for state testing next week, I will say that it’s been hard to find enough time in the day for all of my students to type their blogs into my 4 classroom computers. Just today, I was able to get the last group of students on to post their blog. As a result, I have put off the student evaluation until next week.
Here are some things that went really well:
- Using the YouTube video Blogs in Plain English by Lee LeFever sparked a great discussion about how blogs have changed the way that news travels.
- Creating a thought provoking blog post of my own was the spark that led to a great online discussion about technology. When my students posted a comment, it was important that I commented back to each student. This is what helped keep a discussion going.
- BrainPop’s lesson about blogs was another great way to give my students information about blogs. The video was very informative & the graphic organizers that accompanied the lesson were very helpful.
- As you probably saw from my video in the previous post, my students loved taking a survey of the class in order to determine their most popular blog topic. This was a great way to get them excited about the topic that they were planning on writing about.
- Having the class create a grading rubric together was a great way to let the students know exactly what is expected of their own writing.
- Students love being able to get on the internet to see work that they produced.
Complications with the lessons:
- It is extremely difficult to expect 32 students to get onto 4 working classroom computers to type in a blog post and comments. In hindsight, next time I will give extra credit as an incentive for them to post their blogs at home or after school.
- Students wanted to post pictures into their blogs, but weren’t given the resources to be able to quickly find copyright compliant pictures. To help with this, I needed to create a Kidblog LiveBinder that had links to help them find pictures. I also had to do an extra lesson with my class to show them how to insert pictures into their posts.
- Typing the blogs in took longer than I expected because most of my students do not have the proper typing skills. Without a computer lab at our school, we don’t have enough resources to give our students the technology training that they really need. I’m not sure exactly how to fix this. Maybe I can add some typing program links to my classroom webpage.
Even though I’m not completely finished with the evaluation part of my lesson, overall, I am very happy with classroom blogging. Next time I will definitely start this towards the beginning of the school year when I know that I don’t have state testing to compete with my time. I feel like my students are more excited about blogging than most of the writing assignments that I’ve given them this year. I find that they are being more thoughtful in their journals and they are doing a better job self-editing. If you’re a classroom teacher, I highly recommend that you try it with your class! You’ll have some of your quietest students actively participating and joining in the discussions.