The Prose of Blogging (and a Few Cons, Too)
by Rama Ramaswami
"Blogging doesn't solve a problem just because you have the technology," says Bud Hunt, instructional technologist at St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, CO. An avid blogger and proponent of teaching good writing in K-12 schools, Hunt believes that to be valuable as a writing aid, blogging should be weaved into other components of a classroom writing program. "Too often in blogging, attention to pedagogy and the process of writing are ignored," he says. "Blogs should be part of a program that is focused on building a writing community of students, teachers, and other educators." The purpose of this community, Hunt explains, should be to stimulate creative and reflective thinking, a process that a fascination with technology alone can sometimes mask. Not that blogging just for fun is a bad thing: "I'm fine with blogging for the heck of it," Hunt says. "I'm not fine with blogging for the heck of it and that's all we do in our language class. Blogs make more sense as crosscurricular 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." To ultimately be able to write in an authentic and meaningful way, he believes, kids should be blogging reflectively and across the curriculum all the way from kindergarten through 12th grade.

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Blogs can provide 21st Century twist to the ‘ticket-out-the-door’ strategy. This session focuses on ways to use online blogging conversations to create community and ensure that all students are learning. We’ll get up and running with a blog in a matter of minutes with tips for making this an effective classroom tool.

There are a variety of free blogging tools that can be used with students.

★ Host and manage blogs for your students ★ Use a Class Homepage to communicate with students ★ Review entries

★ Blogging for teachers and students, made easy ★ Effortlessly create and manage students blogs

Class Blogmeister
★ Specifically for classroom use ★ Review entries


★ Advanced privacy ★ Fully featured blogs to upload text, photos, or insert videos

★ Useful features and customizable themes ★ Ready made for podcasting, videos, photos and more

★ Add students as classroom users of the classroom blogs. ★ No email required

★ Customizable visibility and comment settings ★ No e-mail address required

★ Step by step support with our helpful video tutorials ★ No email address required


Ticket Out the Door
Why?: This activity allows teachers to assess to what extent students have learned during the lesson. How?: Student one tells student two 3 major points from lesson. Twos enter the information on the blog, making sure to answer the lesson’s essential question. If unsure, enter questions on the blog also. After saving or as a pre-class activity the next day, posts are shared with the rest of class and discussion continues through thoughtful, reflective commenting. Possible prompts: • “Read the essential question and prepare your answer” • Be ready to give me one reason why... • Read these three sentences and decide which form of (homophone) belongs in each.

Learning Log
What?: Written summary that conveys student understandings, confusions, and performances. Why?: Helps students become more aware of strengths and weaknesses. Provides teachers source of data that reflects the learning of the classroom. Provide direction for teachers on when to proceed and when to re-teach. How?: Students respond in writing to a set of questions in last 5-10 minutes of lesson/period. They may explain a skill or process, summarize lesson, describe event or place, state important points, respond to given questions, or reflect on learning. Possible prompts: • Today I learned... • My work shows... • Three things I wonder about... • It was hard for me to learn about... • How did your thinking change?

Summarizing Key Points
• • Key thinking skill Learning Strategy learners summarize to construct meaning Creates schema for information for better and longer retention Answer EQ at end of lesson Provides re-teaching information for teacher Distribute it!

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