We are three days into blogging, and I wanted to take a minute to step back and reflect on the week. I need to do a better job of blogging regularly, and I think connecting my students to my blog will be just what it takes. I have also dedicated a section of my planner to blogging ideas for students and for me.
I was nervous to incorporate blogging into my classroom, but decided the risk was worth the gain. I am so excited with the progress I have seen this week. Students were a little apprehensive as they were signing up. We did run into some problems here and there. For some reason, we had a few students who signed up and then were denied access to their accounts. Once we were all on, the students began exploring and creating.
My biggest pet peeve as a teacher is when students would rather ask me how to do something than explore and figure it out on their own. I love teaching and I know it is my job to teach them, but if they ask me something that they can figure out or look up, I won’t answer it for them. Students get frustrated at first, but then they have a sense of pride and accomplishment when they figure out how to fix the problem on their own. Many students asking questions were answered with one word from me: Explore. Once they realized I wasn’t going to give them step by step instructions, the learning and fun began. Students were picking themes, creating tag lines, helping one another and learning. I had fun mingling around the room to see what my students were doing and how they were customizing their pages. Faces lit up when I praised their layout or tag line. Students worked hard to perfect their blogs when I made suggestions or critiques. There were lots of happy teacher moments when students began checking out their peers’ blogs and asking one another for help achieving the look they wanted.
When we started on our first assignment, the real magic happened. Students were given a “To Do” list to be accomplished by the end of class Thursday. Sign up, link with my blog, come up with a unique title that includes their first name, write a fun tag line that reflects their personality, customize the look and theme, read and comment the blog guidelines and comment guidelines on my page, and create their own about me page. I believe I connect well with all of my students. Some I have stronger relationships than others, but I pride myself of my rapport with all. As students were creating, I was reading and watching. Once most students had published their about me pages, I started commenting. I was blown away at the connection I could make with my shy students. These kids were sharing things that were appropriate, but meaningful; things that I didn’t know about but wanted to know more. One student shared a link to their photography website and I got a glimpse into the real them. I saw my in person relationships grow with these students who weren’t always comfortable speaking out and taking risks in class.
In just three short days, I have already felt the connection to my students grow because of blogging. Next week we will begin our blogging boot camp and do some intensive writing and blogging how-to. We will then move into learning about the powers of persuasion and we will center blog posts around our persuasive writing (instead of doing a traditional persuasive essay). I am so excited to connect on a deeper level with my students through blogging, and I am beaming to see the pride on their faces after they figure out a tough formatting problem. I can’t wait to hear the voice my students develop through their blogs.
For now, click around the bottom of my page under “Class Blogs” to see what they have created! Comment their work and join our learning community!