Friday, January 30, 2015

It's going very well! #youredustory

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, 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.

If you'd like to explore our blogs, check out the links below.  A shout -out to KidBlog is essential - their platform is so easy to use!


  1. Hi, I am trying to set up a new resource site for students and parents. Any suggestions on which layout works best for students? You can find me at :

  2. Beth, I'm thinking of using KidBlog with my Geometry and Alg. 2 classes this year. Any suggestions from your experiences? What type of rubric did you use? How did students put in math symbols when needed?

    1. Hi - I loved the blogs and many students did as well. My purpose was enrichment so most often students were researching topics, elaborating on class activities, etc. They typed math the best they could, or did the work in Word or Google Docs and uploaded a picture of the work. The rubric I used was simple - I'm on vacation and don't have it handy. But I don't mind sharing it with you. Obviously your rubric will depend on your purpose.