Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Are Student Blogs Worth It?

bloggingIn Student Blogs: Challenges by Siobhan Curious asks,

“I’d love to hear about experiences, successful or otherwise, that the rest of you have had with blogs in your classrooms.  What could I have done differently?  Is it worth taking another stab at it?”

I have used blogs in my classroom but I try to keep the accountability off of me and more on the students and their peers. I think about the purpose of keeping a blog and why I want my students to do this. Is it to show understanding, share reflections, open up conversations or something else?

I give them criteria to write about such as a reflection and what I expect in the reflection. I make sure the post meets the criteria and give them credit for this. I have them answer specific questions for their reflection such as what did I do, how did I do it, why did I do it, what worked and what would I do differently?

I never promise to comment on each post (just as I don’t promise to comment on every writing assignment they turn in that is on paper.)

I ask my other students to comment on at least 3 blogs for the week and keep a tally of that. The comments have to be more than just a short “nice job” but rather whether they agree or disagree with the blogger and why or what stands out in the post and why. I want the blog to be more of a conversation and this helps the conversation go on.

At first my students are reluctant to do this but as they do it more, they become more relaxed and open up more. I see the posts grow more elaborate and I see the comments given more in depth. Sometimes I see the blogger answer the comments and the conversation continues which makes me thrilled.

Not only has blogging improved my students’ writing but also helped them clarify their thoughts and improve learning other concepts. It has helped them see other points of views and learn new ideas.

Do you have your students blog? If so, please share the things that work for you!

Image: 'Two Bloggers, after Norman Rockwell'
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