Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blogging or Bust

I was determined to figure out why everyone was so excited about blogging, so throughout the year I occasionally would get a day off and set up a blog. Consequently, before I knew it,  I had dabbled in way too many blogs.
I had to get them under control.  I have, therefore, set up a "master control board" and cleaned out the clutter.
I have arranged all of my blogs on my Wordpress Site, and narrowed them down to a book blog, a poetry blog, my reflection blog and a cultural exchange blog.  
My student poetry blog was designed as simple way for my students to publish their work.  This blog encourages self-expression and promotes a love of poetry.  The students see themselves as poets.
The book blogs gives the students the opportunity to share their favorite books.  If they are stumped for a next book choice, they can look through their peers' recommendations. ( I know that I always look through the clerks' recommended books at Barnes and Noble or Powell's when I am in need of a new book.) 
At first I simply asked that the students write about their favorite book. I left the details very open-ended.  Their responses were fairly minimal. I realized that just as with any assignment, the students needed direct instruction with technology writing.  Furthermore, while blogging with another school, I gathered some ideas for better responses. Of course, mentor text is as important in technology applications as it is in any kind of writing. 
I  include this blog on my Wordpress site.  It's important for my students to see that I am writer and blogger.  I also have realized the "ins and outs" of writing on a blog.  I needed to be a writer to truly understand all that blog writing entailed.
Lastly, we have established a cross-cultural blog exchange with a school in Australia.  This was surprisingly easy to set up through the Skype Educators website.  The goal is to exchange cultural ideas and customs.  
Both schools will post three to four topics each week, and the students will work in partners to write articles.  This will be an incredible way to end the year with my class.  As they prepare to venture out to a bigger world, they will have the opportunity to explore the world through discussions on this blog. 

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