Thursday, May 25, 2006

Reflections on the semester's blogging

Bud's post reminded me that I need to post something about how the semester of blogging with my students went. I guess now is as good a time as any to begin working through that thorny issue.

The easiest blogging endeavor to comment on is that of my advanced writing students, who blogged at Debating the Death Penalty. This class of two students blogged their way through a WebQuest. I think this blogging went fairly well. It did not really encourage conversation, though, so it was not truly successful as a blogging activity. But since it achieved its purposes within the WebQuest and it helped to familiarize the students with blogging, I am content. With more students, the blog would have more energy, I think, so I will definitely do this again.

The other blog was that of my intermediate reading students. I made rather extensive use of the blog with this group. We did daily class logs, wrote summaries of what we were reading in class, and talked about the readings. On paper that is what we did. In the blog, it isn't quite that pretty. There was a lot of catch-up done at the last minute rather than timely posts. The quality of some of the writing is not what those students are capable of; I was unable to convince some of them of the need to post writing that people could read and understand. This is the blog that I wrote about earlier here and here and here. While it wasn't what I hoped for, the students all learned about blogging and wrote more than they probably would have otherwise in that class. It was, in that sense a success.

There are going to be big changes in my classes for the fall, but I have to design and teach a summer course before then, so I am not ready yet to talk about blogging in the fall. It will be a part of my courses; I am just not quite sure what form it will take. I'll be writing about this more as I begin to explore the possibilities.


Susan said...

Nancy, I learn so much from you. Today you knocked free a mental log jam. I hadn't been quite able to figure out how to merge blogging with reading. Something about this post gave me the idea to combine the lessons I've been using from Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis' "Comprehension Toolkit" with blogging. The Toolkit lessons are well-designed for a gradual release of responsibility from teacher modeling down through students using the ideas on their own. I usually have students writing on sticky notes as they read, but that doesn't give me a good way to respond to good think, or misinformed thinking, or to help students stretch. Having them blog from their sticky notes would give me that. Thanks for being the catalyst to my thinking.

Nancy A. McKeand said...

Thanks, Susan! That's why I love blogging. You never know where you will encounter the answer to the question you maybe didn't even know how to ask. But the answer is out there somewhere, and you will find it if you look.

Diane P said...

I tried using weekly blogging for my TAG Literature Circle groups. They blogged on the book and how their groups were working. They had two required topics to write on. Only toward the end did I get them to comment on each other's writing. I think that it is a learning process and hope that it will come more naturally next time. This was their first opportunity to try blogging.