If you are interested in educational blogging, Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano has written an outstanding series of posts on her Langwitches Blog.
It is called Learning About Blogs FOR Your Students and covers seven areas:
Part I: Reading
Part II A: Writing
Part II B: Student Writing
Part III: Commenting
Part IV: Connecting
Part V: Reciprocating
Part VI: Consistency
Part VII: Quality
This guide is ideal for both beginners and those more advanced with blogging. Silvia really articulates my beliefs about blogging so well. I wish I had have read this series four or five years ago instead of finding out the long way that this is the best way to blog! Click here to find links to the whole guide.
TEACHING AND ASSESSING QUALITY
In Silvia’s latest post, she is requesting more samples of blog posts and comments for teachers to practice recognizing, evaluating and assessing various levels of quality work. She invited me to take part in a meme. If you haven’t heard of a meme before, you can read more about it here on Wikipedia. It is basically just an idea that spreads from blog to blog.
Last year, I wrote a guest post for the Edublogs Teacher Challenge about how I teach quality commenting. Teacher and blogger, Linda Yollis gets full credit for mentoring and inspiring me to instil a culture of quality commenting in my class.
I tend to use a process for classroom blogging as outlined in the diagram below. I start the year by doing a lot of working on explicitly teaching quality commenting skills. From there, students become more involved in writing blogs posts until they earn the right to have their own blog. This post explains my system for earning student blogs – another idea from Linda Yollis!
During 2011, I focussed more on step one and four, than two and three, however, it still demonstrates a model that I have found to be effective.
In terms of what constitutes quality, Silvia published some useful blogging rubrics on her blog. As I have been teaching seven and eight year olds, I have found the poster below more useful as a simple guideline. Next year I am teaching grade four students so I might look into adopting a rubric for these older children, some of who have blogged before.
One of the biggest points I’d like to make about quality is that higher quality comments and posts do not automatically come with age. Time and I time again, I have seen my grade two students write at a more advanced level, in terms of writing conventions, than students and adults who are much older.
Every day in my class we look at some blog comments and talk about things that have been done well, as well as having “on the spot” mini lessons on a range of writing conventions. This depends on what comes up in comments.
In the images below, I have have annotated some comments from students who range in age, with some mini lesson ideas and some modelling points. Generally, when evaluating student comments, I like to give both positive feedback to reinforce and constructive feedback to help students improve.
Tip: click on images if you want to make them larger.
Obviously, there is tact involved in creating mini lessons based on student errors. We don’t focus on the same student all the time and we don’t focus on every mistake that a certain student has made. The discussion is started in a positive way and if the comment needs a lot of work, feedback would be provided privately, rather than in a whole class lesson.
You can also find some examples of how some of my individual students have progressed with their writing over ten months, here.
I’d like to tag three teachers/bloggers to complete their own audit:
Anyone else is very welcome to write their own post evaluating blog posts or comments. Check out the post on the Langwitches Blog here for more information.