Yep, that is pretty much the jist of what it took to get my homeroom class set up with their own blog. I wanted to do blogging with my classes for a number of reasons (in no particular order):
- My students are reluctant writers. Actually most of them are reluctant students. I thought blogging would be a great way to try and motivate them to write their own stories and opinions.
- Technology has a way of engaging students that pen and paper just don’t have anymore.
- I want to connect my students with another classroom(s) from somewhere else. Many of my students have limited experiences and connecting with another class would allow them to see the world outside of La Loche and from another person’s point of view.
- There is a big push to use technology in our classrooms by our school principal, for good reason.
I know that I said that the above were in no particular order, but in actuality the fact that my students are reluctant writers and I want to motivate them to write, is probably the most important reason I have tried blogging with my students. Many of my students have done a great job with their blogs so far, some still need some encouragement, and all need to have people reading their blogs and leaving comments. I think that this is the main way that I will be able to motivate my students to think about what they are writing, to keep in mind proper spelling and grammar, and to actually get them to write at all. I know how I feel when people comment on my blog, it makes my feel as though people care what I have to say and they want to see me write more. That is how I want my students to feel as well.
I have put the invitation out on Twitter (@tljordan if you want to follow me) for my followers to see, hoping that people will comment. A couple of people have been kind enough to do so, hopefully more will decide to comment as well. As the TeachPaperless blogger says in his post On Blogging and Connections:
…both students and teachers new to blogging need to understand that the life of a post doesn’t depend on it’s being published, but rather on its being transmitted throughout the network. The value of the post depends on the network and the reaction of the network.
Without a network my students might as well just be writing in their journals and hand them into me…no I want to help them build that network that will make a difference in their writing.
Currently, I am trying a few things:
- I have asked a few colleagues to comment on a few of my students blogs each. I will give them the blog address and the student name and hopefully they will contribute to my students network.
- I have used Twitter to get my students blogs out there.
- Facebook messages have also been sent to a few of my friends and fellow teachers so that they can comment if they want.
- I have also asked on Twitter and Facebook for a classroom to partner with so my students can further build their network.
I am hoping that one of these things works out…I am hoping that blogging and technology will be what my students need to engage themselves back into at least a peice of education!
If you are interested you can find links to each of the student’s blogs that are in my homeroom, you can find them here. My second class will be creating their blogs by the end of the week and you will be able to find links to their blogs on the same page.