All of our classroom teachers are working hard on their classroom blogs. They are using the blog as a platform to allow parents to have a peek into the classroom. It is a communication tool between school and home. It has been a steep learning curve for some to write, post, embed and upload in this new media until it is becoming a daily routine.
I wrote about this learning curve and process of teacher blogging before. My vision includes a step ladder approach as teachers are moving from a purely informational, static, one-way-communication site to a global communication center.
I am proud of how our classroom teachers are continuing to work hard and move forward in the blogging process.
A few weeks ago, our second graders created a video tutorial to teach their parents how to navigate their classroom blog. They are excited and self-motivated to check their classroom blog from home to see if their teachers posted something new. Both teachers and students are now ready to take the next step with the ultimate goal of making a global learning community out of their blog. These 7 & 8 year olds are ready to start commenting!
In class, teachers had read two books about pilgrims to the children. Outside of the classroom, teachers prepared a wall as a designated “wall blog”. They used push pins to “post” a handwritten piece of paper about their reading and added a few questions at the end. They also wrote a poster with “commenting guidelines” in addition to two images and books and a Venn Diagram poster (to compare and contrast the two stories).
As a class, we read the post and went over the commenting guidelines.
The teachers had also prepared some pre-made comments and students had to decide if they were appropriate comments following the guidelines or not. If they were not, they helped re-write the comments to make them appropriate to be pinned to the wall blog.
Then it was time for the students to comment. Each one of them received a colorful sentence strip and was instructed to then answer one of the questions from the original (paper) blog post or to comment on one of the comments that were already pinned to the wall.
There was a lively buzz going around. The students wrote great comments and it was amazing to see how their minds worked as they were trying to figure out the “best” spot to place their comments. We wanted to make sure that comments who answered the same questions were placed in close proximity to one another. We also talked about the “nested” aspect of comments.
We talked about the difference between writing on a piece of paper and writing online. What does it mean when you underline a word on a piece of paper and what does it mean when a word is underlined online?
The wall blogging exercise did not involve ANY TECHNOLOGY! It was all about reading comprehension, writing, categorizing, comparing, contrasting, reflecting, documenting and collaboratively working towards exploring a text. The students will now be able to transfer these skills to a new medium.
A new medium that allows them to practice the skills mentioned above in addition to:
- be able to do this from home
- learning how to read and write in an online environment
- connect and share with a worldwide audience (not just the people who physically can stand in front of our wall blog)
How are your preparing your students to comment? Please share your ideas.