Sunday, July 15, 2012

Something's Missing

Something's missing in our blogging!

 As I have been thinking about the blogging with  my Grade 5s (this is my second year) and reflect on recent reading from Will Richardson , Bill Ferriter  and Pernille Ripp to name a few, I realized what it was.

Conversation. Real talk.

My kids are commenting on each other's blogs and keep it going but the deeper reflection that I was hoping for didn't really materialize.

And it's my fault.

In trying to get and keep the flow going by frequently responding in and out of class - me, the kids and some parents, we  (well, me, actually) didn't seek out other student bloggers or spaces to engage in conversations or discussions about things that matter.

Things that might get the kids thinking and responding and arguing and digging deeper.

I didn't get around to availing of #comment4kids (the Twitter hashtag that invites connected educators to visit student blogs with or without their classes) this year to bring readers to my students' blogs. Readers whose comments could have sparked new questions, new thinking,  new perspectives.

That being said blogging did accomplish several things I had in mind...

I feel strongly that a sense of purposeful writing - for themselves and writing for an audience other than me -was established.
I know students experienced the creative buzz from working digitally with the features of Kidblog and embedding other tools they used such as Youtube, Photostory3, and other sites of interest.

I could observe the outing of 'experts' in the class as students called on each other for assistance and I had students teach each other and me how to accomplish what we wanted using various applications!

I was able to provide opportunities for collaboration as students worked together on our Learning Scrapbook blog.

Blogging also supported other observations...

I do believe that using the blogging platform engages more students than the paper-and-pencil route, especially many of the boys who responded to the techy nature of blogging!

I  do know that students who were shy in class found their voice when on the blog.

I do think that the 'social practice' of communicating with me, their classmates and very importantly their families is enhanced greatly through our blogging endeavours.


I have come to realize that I have to do some things differently when I return to class in September.

If I want their blogging to make a difference,
to have them begin to understand what it really means to be a digital citizen,
to make the most of the opportunities that connecting with others can bring,
then I have to have them get involved in the community of bloggers - develop networks -
and be part of the world in a more visible and interactive way.


Can't wait to get back.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Looking Back at Blogging

I have been thinking and re-thinking about blogging with my Grade 5s.  Most of them enjoy it. Many of them do it regularly. The majority of the kids chose to write on their blogs without prompting or poking from me.

But in light of some reading and re-reading I have been doing for my grad research, I am wondering if I have achieved what I wanted by having my students participate in this on-line activity.

Will Richardson  says that in-school blogging isn't really blogging, that due to the "contrived" nature of the task, students are not really engaged in blogging. That they are really only writing for the teacher, for the grade (that's another post topic, for sure!)

I get that.  And for some students, that is probably true. 

 But isn't that the case for writing, too; that despite Workshops and Author's Chairs and 'publishing' pieces of  student work, that many, most, will not choose writing as a personal activity?