Prospecting For Treasure

Always prospecting for the next treasure of an idea.

Our New Student Blogs

We just finished a very stressful week filled with daily test-taking.  It was our week for Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. This is how Iowa schools are judged as successful or failing, so much rides on these tests.  The actual testing was the culmination of several weeks of “test preparation.”  We actually took less of the test this year, but I felt more stressed than ever, and went home exhausted each night.  Our school has been one of the few in our part of town that has managed to stay off of the “watched schools” list, and hopefully we will be able to accomplish that again this year.
 
It was a regular school day the the rest of the time, and my students spent time reading each other’s new blogs.  Everyone now has their very own blog at Kidblog.org.  I introduced the new blogs when we came back from spring break on March 22nd.  We spent that week writing, editing, and posting, so it wasn’t until last week that the kids could really see their published work.  Now that the kids are seeing their own blogs, and reading and commenting on other student’s blogs, they are getting excited about this project. 
 
The Kidblog website is really easy to use.  I introduced the project using the list of Ten Blogging Ideas from A Geeky Momma’s  Blog.  I set up our blogs so they are public, but all posts and comments must be approved by me.  Mine is not a paperless classroom.  We started with our initial draft written on paper, and we did our first edit on paper. Then students began to post on the computer.  I like the fact that there is a button to “Submit for Review”.  At this point I printed a copy of the blog, so that students could edit once again before posting on line.  
 
I was feeling pretty frustrated.  The content of the posts was good, but my students are not using correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.  I don’t know where you stand on this, but I do believe that if I continue to edit their work, it is no longer their work, so mistakes or not, at this point we posted.   
 
I sent out a link to their blogs, so that others in our building could see what they are doing.  The website is very well organized so that you can access all our class blogs from one page.  It is also easy for the kids to sign in.  All they have to do is find their name in the drop down menu, and sign in with their password.  Our blogs are grouped as Ms. Day’s Class
 
The other teachers in my building have been great about writing comments on the kids’ blogs.  I like the fact that the comments show up on the right side of the screen, next to the students post.  This way the kids can easily see that people are responding to their writing. 
 
The third grade teachers are impressed with how much their writing has improved.  I felt reassured by this, but even more important, one of my students got on line from home at seven in the morning, and wrote a second blog post.  She also wrote very nice comments on other students blogs.  This student has been a reluctant writer in the past.  Now I’m excited!  I hope some of the other kids feel as motivated by the response to their work, and will continue writing on their own. 
 
In the meantime, we are using a Daily Oral Language approach, to work on our editing skills.  It can’t hurt, and it just might help!
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April 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments