As a sixth grade reading teacher, I'm always trying to think of ways to keep my students motivated. As a veteran teacher, I'm always trying to think of ways to stay current in my practice. This year, as a Teaching Channel Laureate, I decided that I'd experiment with blogging myself, then give my students the opportunity to become bloggers.
Earlier this year, I worked with my students to ask questions using Blooms Taxonomy in order to have deep discussions about text. My next goal was to have my students get those deep discussions into written form, without feeling as though they had to write a "paper." Blogging seemed to be one possibility. Blogs represented a venue for my students' writing, a way to solicit responses, and a move into a modern form of communication.
First, though, I had to learn more about blogging. Once I did, I brought my new-found knowledge into the classroom.
My sixth graders only have reading for 55 minutes a day. In my Getting Better Together video, you'll see how my students utilize their discussion skills before they dive into the task of writing a blog post from the perspective of a character in the book Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli. My students love their discussions and, once they get started, are extremely motivated writers.
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In this next video, I use a Twitter-like exit slip to assess their understanding of blogging. These 140-character reflections are quick and fun!
I also created an interactive video for Tch Video Lounge, in which two of my students engage in a discussion about Stargirl, utilizing their questioning skills. Add your comments and questions to the video to help me improve my practice as I prepare for the upcoming school year. I can’t wait to learn from you!
As I continue this journey of blogging with my students, I'm growing more savvy at using technology as a tool for learning. My students came to realize, through blogging, that writing can be fun. I hope that as you view these videos, you'll see how blogging can benefit your students, too.
This work was made possible through support by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.
Maria Perryman is a National Board Certified Teacher, America Achieves Fellow, Illinois Teacher Champion, and sixth grade reading teacher in Chicago's Public Schools. This is her 30th year of teaching. She has experience as a school-wide literacy coach, city-wide reading coach, and assistant principal. Maria has also made workshop presentations at state and national conferences, as well as in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Follow Maria on Twitter: @pedcompany