REPOSTED from January 2015 ... I'm choosing to repost this note because student blogging was a success this past year. I hope to improve on the experience in the coming year!
This year is going quite well. We received data this week from our fall benchmarks ... and our school data is strong, my classroom data good, and I felt affirmed in my work. Of course, I have amazing students ... so the data is a result of their being awesome!
One particular practice in my classroom this year that stands out is student blogging. I entered into this activity this year with some fear and trepidation. I have 150 or so students, in six classes, 3 classes a day for 90 minutes. I see students every other day. I wondered how I could manage student blogging ... would they write? what would they write? could I read it all? how could I grade it? would it be worth the effort?
Answering the last question first ... YES, it has been worth it.
I teach advanced students, students in grade 9 and 10 who are taking Algebra 2. They have already completed Algebra 1 and Geometry. Many of them took those two courses in their middle school. While they are in an advanced sequence, they still need instruction and our course curriculum is full. There is little time for exploration in math topics outside the curriculum. Many times students ask me questions that would take us deeper ... but we don't have time to take that journey. It hurts my heart when they demonstrate a thirst to know ... and I say, maybe we can come back to that.
So blogging is an opportunity for students to explore topics of interest to them. Only once or twice this year have I specified a particular project to address. Instead I have encouraged them to write about any topic of interest that is math related. I introduced students to collections of news articles about math here, here and here, to Math Munch, and to a list of common enrichment topics. Yes, they can write about what they are learning in class, or about their study habits, or about how a recent science lesson connected with our curriculum. It's WIDE open!
I require two blog posts each six weeks and I request that students comment on three other students' blog posts in that time frame. Only a very few students have not kept up with that pace. I do post one blog grade a six weeks. Students can submit a blog post of their choice ... a post they think meets the requirements and is well written.
An extra benefit of blogging has been the opportunity to teach students how to embed multimedia in their work creating more visually appealing blog posts. It's been fun to watch them learn new technology skills as well!
If you are interested in student blogging, I'd love to chat with you!