Wisdom Begins with Wonder

Student blogs

Two weeks into student blogging with Edublogs and I’m loving it!

More importantly, my students seem to be loving it.

I have 100+ kids set up with their own blogs and have had them use them for reflection on learning, reflection on products, and as a place to do written summaries of internet research.

I have been leaving them constructive comments which they’ve been using to revise their work. I definitely have seen much more willingness to revise electronic work than with paper work. I have also seen improvement in their ability to explain and justify their learning. All of this has been very exciting.

The next step is to get them leaving comments for each other. I also hope to drive traffic to their blogs so that they are receiving feedback from people outside the classroom.

The Goal
Ultimately, I see the students’ blogs as a way to create reflective ePortfolios. I will have them document and reflect on all major projects/ products. This process will have many benefits.

Application
Publishing their work to the web also helps to provide more application of their work for an audience outside of the classroom.

Communication
Families will be able to easily access samples of their students’ work. They will even be able to provide their own feedback!

Reflection
Most importantly, students are reflecting on their own work. They are explaining their learning. I am challenging them to use their reflections as a way to prove that they learned what they said they did. This has had the added benefit of forcing them to review content and skills. It also if forcing them to practice the critical skill of supporting their statements with evidence.

Overall, the first few weeks of facilitating student blogging in science has been very positive. I anticipate that it will only get better!



6 comments ↓

  • #   Kirsten on 10.30.09 at 1:47 am     

    Stumbled on your blog as I was creating my list for twitters – making sure I have put people I follow in the right list :-)

    I’m now subscribing to your feeds and include you on my blogroll.

    Wow, 100+ students! Does this mean 100+ blogs to follow? I think it’s a wonderful idea to give students a safe space to write about their reflection on how they are learning. By having a purpose for their blogs, the students also understand the there are so many different ways we can communicate and the tools we use are directly related to the purpose.

    All the best
    Kirsten


  • #   Mr. Rice on 11.01.09 at 7:57 pm     

    Yep, I’m following 100+ blogs. Google Reader really helps make it manageable.

    I really see the blogs as a way to help students to think and write in science – something they all struggle with!


  • #   Ms. Jones on 08.03.10 at 1:50 pm     

    Hello! I’ve been reading your blog with interest as I’ve contemplated having students do something similar in the upcoming school year. How did the blogs turn out? Do you have reflections on what worked/what didn’t/how the grading and following of them turned out? I’d love to read about your conclusions!

    Best,
    Lena

    Biology
    Issaquah, WA


  • #   Mr. Rice on 08.03.10 at 8:33 pm     

    You know, that’s a great idea! I’ll add a reflection/ planning for this coming year post to my growing list of blog post ideas. Thanks for the inspiration!


  • #   Mark Kuniya on 11.03.10 at 2:29 pm     

    I’ve been following your blog for about a month now. I stopped traditional grading in my English class this year, so your posts have been very inspiring. In the near future I’d like to talk to you about what you’ve done to keep your students motivated and accountable (without grades).
    And now I’m seriously thinking about having my students create blogs. Being an English teacher, I’m literally swimming in paper in each week. My first concern about student blogs: what about students who do not have computers at home? Also, do parents ever express concern about their students’ work being made public?


  • #   Mr. Rice on 11.07.10 at 9:53 am     

    Mark,

    I’m glad my blog gives you a bit of a sense that you’re not alone in this endeavor. Have you read Joe Bower’s blog? Great stuff there!

    My post about The power of an audience is a partial answer to your question about keeping kids motivated without grades. Frequent feedback is also part of the answer. Because I’ve been spending less time grading, I have much more time to give feedback and to plan interventions for kids who are struggling. Paradoxically (not really), I feel that I understand my students’ learning much better now that I’m not grading them all the time. I’ve been taking more time to read their work and to sit and talk with them.


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