I am always telling people how much my students’ literacy skills have improved through blogging.
In my seven year teaching career, I have not come close to finding another medium that helps students to refine their reading and writing so well.
Through advice from the inspirational teacher, Linda Yollis, I have been able to set very high standards for my students this year and, with support and practice, so many of them have excelled.
I have provided clear guidelines on writing quality comments which my seven and eight year old students didn’t take long to grasp. The students in Mrs Yollis’ class were also role models for my students with their writing (12,000 kilometres away!).
Blogging is authentic. Students are reading and writing for a purpose and genuine audience. It is ongoing. Unlike other approaches to teaching literacy, where you may study a genre or style for a few weeks, blogging is a daily occurrence in our classroom.
Throughout the year, we have been able to discuss the the following (and more) in an authentic context.
- spelling structures
- paragraphs and organising writing
- a wide range of punctuation (commas, capital letters, full stops, brackets, exclamation marks etc)
- planning, proofreading and revising
- writing voice
- similies, synonyms and antonyms
- verbs, nouns and adjectives
- using bold and italics appropriately
- how to ask quality questions and engage in conversations.
It has been so much more authentic to teach these conventions in the context of writing on the blog rather than as stand-alone, one off lessons. That’s not to say we don’t have regular lessons on various conventions and genres; it’s just that blogging is always there and the progress the students make with writing on the blog are transferred to other areas.
In her book Radical Reflections, well known children’s author, Mem Fox, states that
“we’re currently wasting a lot of time by giving unreal writing tasks in our classrooms….You and I don’t engage in meaningless writing exercises in real life—we’re far too busy doing the real thing”
If we want our students to be motivated to use their emerging writing skills, we have to make writing purposeful, challenging, and real-to-life. Blogging offers this.
Many of my students have transformed from emergent writers to very independent, competent writers who produce higher quality comments than some adults!
Rather than just talking about the improvements my students have made, I decided to look back at some comments from throughout the year to find evidence of this.
The presentation below shows how three students have progressed with their blog comments throughout the year.
(Tip: Press play then click on the square on the bottom ride hand side of the presentation to view in full screen. Press escape to get out of the presentation)