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How can blogging improve the quality of sentence structure?

By: Kristen Hartley Avery Elementary 5th grade

“…students who blog also write more and write better.” (Ramaswami) “Teen bloggers are far more prolific writers than their non-blogging counterparts.” (Ramaswami)

Why blog?

There are many reasons to blog…

◦ Technology can be an attention grabber compared to the usual paper and pencil route of writing ◦ Students can hide their identity using pen names written down by the teacher or by using their class number, which can decrease anxiety. ◦ Students receive immediate feedback from their classmates and the outside world ◦ Students get instant gratification of publication, but when knowing others will read and comment, students will typically take time to edit work ◦ Blogs “foster collaboration in the days between weekly meetings” (Glogoff 2).
 Teacher’s time is limited

How to use blogs in the classroom

Depending on the grade level and school policy, there are a variety of ways to use blogs in the classroom
◦ Elementary
 Teacher posts questions while students reply and comment on other responses(teacher approval needed before posting)  Teacher creates a page for each student to post their work only (Teacher approval needed before posting)  http://khartle1.wordpress.com/

How to use blogs in the classroom continued

Middle School/High School
◦ Use previous stated, or teacher can connect links to student pages, having each student create their own user name and password ◦ Check school and county policy ◦ Penrod (13-14)

Types of Blogs
www.wordpress.com  www.edublogs.org

◦ Example: anne.teachesme.com

www.blogspot.com
◦ Example: calteacherblog.blogspot.com

Examples of various classroom blogs
http://missmohrhardt.wordpress.com/clas ses/chesaning-middle-school/  http://t3tech.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/i ts-elementary-my-dear/  http://rooseveltes.wordpress.com/about/

How can I connect blogging to sentence structure?
So many students know the different sentence structures and types of sentences, but do not practice or put their knowledge into use.  Activity 1: (Sentence Structure)

◦ Prewrite: What are the different types of sentences we use in our writing? What are some examples? Why is this important to know and use? ◦ Complete this on Kristen’s Blog. ◦ Share ◦ http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id =125046&title=Sentence_Structure

Activity 1 continued
Take the graphic organizer, and in pairs, tally the number of simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences in the Apple paragraph (titled paragraph for lesson) posted on Kristen’s Blog.  Write a short response about your conclusion. Discuss when everyone is finished.

Reflection on lesson
Students should concentrate on ideas first. However, students also need to be aware of the variety of sentences and how it can effect their writing.  By the 5th grade, students are already familiar with simple and compound sentences. Before this lesson, students would have had a lesson on complex, and compound-complex sentences.  “Building background knowledge is important because students with greater prior knowledge about a text are in a better position to understand it more deeply” (Zawilinski 656).  “Blogs should be part of a program that is focused on building a writing community of students, teachers, and other educators” (Ramaswami).

Activity II-Collaboration
Review responses and graphic organizer. Assignment: Rewrite the “paragraph for lesson” on Kristen’s Blog in pairs, focusing on sentence structure. How can you vary the sentence structure to make this paragraph more interesting? What can you add?  To differentiate: Include a website by linking it to your page. Bold the important words in your paragraph. Find a picture to include. Give credit if taking it off the Internet as opposed to clip art.  Post your paragraph once finished. You may use you Grolier, Galileo, or picture books to add details and other information to make it more interesting.
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◦ See rubric for grading information

Rubric
25 Sentence Structure A variety of sentence structure is used within the written assignment. The paper stayed on topic throughout its entirety. 20 At least two different types of sentence structure are used. The paper had one or two sentences that were off topic. 15 One type of sentence is used throughout the assignment. The paper starts on topic but then ends off topic 10 Fragments and run-ons are used throughout the assignment. The paper does not have any sentences to support the topic.

Topic

Completed On Time

Student One day late. completed assignment by due date.

Two days late. Three or more days late.

Rubric Continued
25 Organization Material is organized with a well developed topic and supporting detail. 20 Material is organized with a topic and supporting details. 15 Material has a topic sentence, but supporting details go off topic. 10 There is no topic sentence or supporting details.

Reflection
“Blogs mix pleasure with information to create an information reformation.” (Penrod 3).  “Bloggers find themselves continually drawn into deeper layers of the blogosphere, searching for new information to include on their sites.” (Penrod 7).

Scour, Filter, Post (Trammel) Based on Blood’s book The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on

Creating and Maintaining your Blog

Students who need to scour the internet for information become more invested in the information, becoming an expert  Students must pick and choose what is important to include  Then, students post the best information related to their topic in their blog or blog comments

Collaboration and Cross-Curricular Activities with blogging

“Blogs make more sense as cross-curricular tools. Students should think and write about what they learn across all subjects and grade levels. You want them to have learning and reflective activity in all situations.” (Ramaswami) Once students understand the concept, show them a basic paragraph on Civil War, Cell structure, etc. Give a list of acceptable websites or search engines to use if in elementary grade levels

Activity III-Individual
Share others posts with the class and tell what you like about it.  On the blog, post feedback of sentence structure on a minimum of at least three other posts. Give constructive feedback:

◦ Yes-I loved the way you combined your first two sentences into a compound sentence. It sounds much better than the simple sentences used previously. ◦ No-Your first sentence sounds cool.

Reflection

“The critical skill of writing is central to the act of blogging. Because the blogging format encourages students to engage with positions divergent from their own, blogging can potentially enhance analytic and critical thinking skills.” (Ellison 105). By students reading others blogs and/or posts, students gain insight on different perspectives, receive more knowledge on the topic being read about, and can gain better perspective on their own position.

So, how can blogging improve the quality of sentence structure?

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Blogging can be integrated into part of the writing process Technology can help engage students in writing and help with differentiation (i.e. the more advanced students can add the links, pictures, videos, etc.) The more engaged the student is, and the more they are writing=more practice! Students receive feedback from not only the teacher, but others in the classroom, making their work more valuable to themselves and others (Students can directly comment on sentence structure if the assignment permits!) Students become experts on writing material because of the research they conduct Students who write more, will write better

Works Cited
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Ellison, Nicole and Yuehau Wu. “Blogging in the Classroom: A Preliminary Exploration of Student Attitudes and Impact on Comprehension.” JI. Of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia: n.p. (2008) 17(1), 99-122. June 12, 2010. Ferdig, Richard and Kaye Trammell. “Pedagogical implications of classroom blogging.” T.H.E Journal: n.p. Winter 2004. June 12, 2010. Flatley, Marie. “Blogging for Enhanced Teaching and Learning.” Business Communication Quarterly 2005. June 12, 2010. Huffaker, D. “The Educated Blogger: Using Weblogs to Promote Literacy in the Classroom. AACE Journal 12(2), 91-98 2005. June 12, 2010. Penrod, Diane. Using Blogs to Enhance Literacy. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Education. 2007. Print. Ramaswami, Rama. “The Prose of Blogging (and a Few Cons, Too).” T.H.E Journal. November, 2008 pages 1-5. June 16th, 2010. Zawilinski, Lisa. “HOT Blogging: A Framework for Blogging to Promote Higher Order Thinking.” The Reading Teacher 62(8) pp 650-661: International Reading Association 2009. June 16th, 2010.