Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blogging on blogging

Last year I took a couple grad classes where students were expected to participate in a blogging forum and discuss course readings. When I first started participating in the forum, I immediately felt self-conscious about what to say. Every time I composed a thought in a post, I  hyper-analysed what I had written, as I was worried that the content of my posts wouldn't be interesting enough for the other readers. Over time I got over it and just started posting, and slowly started getting over my internal doubts. Perhaps it's because when you discuss something in the context of class if you say something that is ridiculous, no one really remembers. Yet in a blog, it sits there, glaring up at you....Unable to be retracted.

As a middle years teacher, I have had my students participate in quite a few blogs. But it wasn't until I had the opportunity to interact in a blogging forum with peers, did I truly get some of the hesitancy that my students may have felt about sharing in this type of forum. To get over their hesitation, we explored the importance of encouraging everyone to participate, and how we do this in a blog - like you would in class. Many students felt that they just didn't know what to say, so I devised the "3C's  + Q model" which was loosely based on blogging ideas I read on line. The model encouraged students to comment on each other's posts by complementing, commenting, connecting then asking a question.   I found that the quality of the general discussions went up considerably when we started focusing on that response "formula".

So what can I learn from my own students' challenges? Perhaps, I should just take a page from my own blogging handbook and "just post"...

Here's a link to a "poster" of the model that I have given my students (as well as a holistic rubric for self assessment) 3C's + Q Poster.

On another note...
If teachers are interested in blogging with their students on a global level, you could check out the Student Blogging Challenge which gives classrooms opportunities to blog on weekly topics with other classrooms from around the world. Information can be found at:
I heard about the challenge last year, but got involved in another blogging project with my class, so I didn't get a chance to participate. Classrooms can join the challenge in September or January. So if a teacher felt like they missed-the-boat, they can always explore the fundamentals of blogging with their students in September, by blogging within the classroom or with one other class. Then in January, join the Global Challenge!

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