So far the blogging adventure with my fifth graders has been very exciting! The students continue to surpass my expectations for digital citizenship. I’ve talked about how to set up the blogs, but this time I want to address the academic sides of the experience.
I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to integrate blogging into our academic day. I don’t want the blogs to be a side project just for autobiographical writing. I want the blogging to assist the students in their learning. I ended up focusing on using blogs as a reflection and continuation of their learning. The students just finished writing endangered animal reports. The students spent a great deal of time researching their animals. I wanted them to write a blog post about the endangered animals.
When I first sat down to craft the post guidelines, I realized that I was asking the students to basically rewrite their papers. I was asking the same questions they had already answered. When considering the SAMR model (and depth of knowledge in general) I realized they were just redoing what they’d already accomplished and this is in the end just busy work! I didn’t want the blogs to be associated with busy work, they need to be meaningful! I ended up restructuring the directions. I realized that the students still needed to introduce their animals and some facts about them to their audience. However, I wanted the blog posts to be reflective and help improve their learning. I asked the students to answer these questions:
- Why is it important for kids to research endangered animals?
- What did you enjoy about researching and writing this paper?
- If you were to do it again, what would you change?
Asking the students to reflect on their learning is a great way of assessing that they truly learned and understood their original project. Also, the blog comments completely took me by surprise. Students were asking many follow-up questions to other students about their animals and how they can help. I also noticed students doing their own research on other students’ animals in order to help add more information in their comments!
These kids never cease to amaze me!
I feel that using the blogs as a place for self-reflection, self-assessment, and continuation of learning will be an excellent use of the platform. Especially if the students continue commenting in such a thoughtful manner.
Make sure to check out their latest posts, and read the comments! Let me know if you can think of some great ways to be using blogging to reinforce their current learning!