Friday, September 26, 2014

Blogging Excitement is in the Air at Estherville Lincoln Central Middle School

(Cross posted at http://rethinkredesign.org)


Blogging is a powerful medium within our education system. So many things can be learned through blogging. Students use blogs to reflect, tell a story, share their learning along with giving them a voice. Blogging can be used at any grade level and in many different ways.
It was about 2.5 years ago that I as a Business Education teacher fought to get Blogger unblocked in our school district.  I wanted them to blog about their projects and reflect on their learning. I wanted my students to have an authentic audience and write for the world. I struggled to understand why they would not open it up for my students. I almost gave up.


Fast forward to April 2014……
It all started in April of last year when Mrs. Reeves, a 5th grade teacher asked about using Kidblog with her students. So we started to have conversations on what that would look like and experiment with the website. We talked about what she wanted from her students and the blog. I remember having the discussion about do we open the blog up for the world to see or do we keep it just within the classroom? This can be a scary jump for teachers to open their classroom and go beyond their four walls. We decided that her students too needed an authentic audience to write for, so we decided to open it up. She introduced it to her students and started having them blog and comment within their class blogs. We also began to talk with her students about the purpose of a blog and how to comment and write posts. The students enjoyed their short experience with the blog and some even wrote on their blogs over the summer! Can you say AWESOME?!?!


NOW…..
Amazing things are happening in Mrs. Reeve’s classroom. She is innovative and ready to interact with the world. Last Friday Mrs. Reeves came to me and said I spent over an hour approving comments from students from around the country! I said what? Do you know these people? She said no. Tears came to my eyes (and I am not kidding), I was so excited and threw my arms in the air and yelled “YES!” She is active on Twitter and tweeted her blog along with the hashtags #geniushour #5thchat and whola!


Her students are participating in Genius Hour and are blogging about their passion projects. Other classrooms from around the country are helping them by providing feedback and questions concerning their projects.


The comments are amazing! In a 36 hour time frame, some blog posts had 15+ new comments on them. The students are excited. Even students who are normally not assertive went to Mrs. Reeves and said, “Mrs. Reeves, you have to see this, I have comments on my blog.”


And what is really cool….
Other teachers are hearing of the good news and want to begin the journey! Other 5th grade teachers are wanting to start this process. The 6th grade team has begun blogging also and I cannot wait to see how these other blogs take off!


You can read Mrs. Reeves and her students blogs here. Her students would love to hear from you! You can also follow Mrs. Reeves on Twitter here.

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