As I’d mentioned before, we’re finally blogging! At the time of this writing, there are 172 student posts on our team blog. I’m so proud of my students for doing this without any fuss or muss, and I’m hoping that after a few more opportunities, they’ll see the value in it.
As someone who’s always reflecting on not only myself, but also my teaching, I wanted to write about the results of our first attempt.
What went well
- For the most part, the students put real thought into their writing. I know that it was more difficult for them to find a real-world application of the theme, but they rose to the occasion.
- I was very impressed with their comments on each other’s blogs! Some of them critiqued mechanics, spelling, grammar, etc., but I deleted those parts from the comments. I want this to be a positive experience, not public shaming.
- Students felt a sense of pride seeing their blog post. They were even more excited when somebody commented on it!
- Even when students disagreed with each other in the comments, they were very respectful.
- It really didn’t take that long to approve all of the posts and comments – about one day for each.
What we can improve upon for next time
- Students need to remember to include a Featured Image. Without this, they will see “No Featured Image Set for This Post” in its place. That doesn’t exactly invite people to click and comment on their post. People are visual and respond well to an image.
- On the other hand, there were several students who had the same or similar Featured Images. As much as I warned them to add variety, they didn’t want to bother finding a new one.
- Students need to, at the very least, double-check their mechanics and spelling on their title! It’s such a glaring mistake!
- Despite the fact that I instructed them to Preview their post prior to submitting for review, there were still some egregious errors. I don’t know if it’s because a) they really don’t see the mistake, b) they’re so eager to post that they barely skimmed it for mistakes, or c) they don’t care if there are mistakes.
- I think this might slow down the process, but next time I think I might try having them edit each other’s posts prior to having them submit for approval.
- Tags Tags Tags! About a quarter of the students didn’t add tags despite me walking them through it and telling them to add tags. (sigh) I think I may do a blog post scavenger hunt at some point to prove the importance of tags.
I think an important next step is to invite parents to read the blog. Some of them were skeptical about the point of blogging as well as its safety, but I think that once they see how well the students reflect and compose themselves, they’ll be on board.
I’m also going to start tweeting updates to our blog to invite other classes around the world to read and comment. I’d love to collaborate globally!
I have to once again thank Sue Waters, Silvia Tolisano, and Vicki Davis for paving the way for our blogging adventure. I hope someday to shake their hand at a conference somewhere and let them know personally how inspiring and innovative they are!
Sue Waters says
Thanks for sharing your reflections on student blogging. I had read your post last week with the instructions on how to blog and had been pondering why they had to add a featured image. It had me stumped until I checked out flags8.org and realized your students were publishing their posts on the class blog and the class blog is one of our themes that uses featured image for the blog post page.
I think that once you have a wider audience reading and commenting on their posts you’ll see an improvement in checking for mistakes before submitting. However, I wouldn’t worry too much as it will improve as they blog more. We see a noticable difference on student blogs over 6 to 12 months as their writing develops.
Unfortunately the media highlights the negative aspects of social media which is why some parents can feel concerned. Once parents start seeing that blogging provides insights into the class and their child they tend to appreciate its benefits.
Thank you so much for the feedback and reassuring words Sue!
Julie Chabot says
My class blog recently received comments from over 40 students from San Diego (sweetwaterschools) and I am wondering if they are your students? We are a middle school in France and our blog is http://bilingualsectionblog.edublogs.org. I am wondering how our blog was found; are we on a list somewhere? Last month I signed up for quadblogging on the Quadblogging site but never received an answer. I was thinking maybe we were paired up without them notifying us?
In any case, it was wonderful to receive so many comments but wanted you to know that our students are on Fall break for two weeks and might not read the blog until we go back to school on November 2nd.
Let me know if it was you who had her students visit our blog. We would be glad to visit yours after this Fall vacation. Thanks!
Yes, my students made comments on your students’ posts! Your class blog was actually in the list for the 2015 Student Blogging Challenge. I understand that your students may not see the comments right away, but an exchange between classes would be wonderful at some point in the future.