Ah, it’s been far too long since I’ve been able to sit down and devote my time to a really good post. Well, better late than never.
So what’s been keeping me so busy? I now have 145 student blogs up and running. Whew! I can tell you that many times over the past couple of weeks I kept asking myself if I was out of my mind! When I came up with the idea of setting my students up with blogs I figured I would start with two classes. Then, almost without thinking, I jumped in with both feet, hands, and every other appendage, and now all five of my classes are blogging. So here’s the question…has all this work (see my reflections) been worth it? I can easily say “oh yeah”.
Here’s what I am seeing with my students blogs (blogs are listed on the right side of the home page):
1. Excitement. My students were given an assignment that I started last year. The Weekly Reader, which I got from Jim Burke, is an incredible assignment that I enjoyed grading each week. However the students seemed to dread it. But now what I am sensing is an excitement from them. Now they know that I am not the only person who’s reading their work. Now there is so much more a sense of ownership because they are producing work and ideas that are being shared with the world, rather than “just their English teacher”.
2. Community. What I told my students is that blogging is a community thing. That the idea is you read what I say and comment. I read what you say and comment, and then maybe blog about what you’ve written, etc., etc. I did not make it a requirement that students go to other blogs and make comments. Yet every blog that I go to seems to have anywhere between one and three comments. It’s fantastic! They are creating a community on their own that I don’t think I could have created had I tried to.
3. Teacher Involvement. Okay, admit it, mostly if something doesn’t involve us directly we don’t put much energy into it. Well, I took a chance and announced my student blogs at our last faculty meeting. My thought was really and truly no one would take the time to even glance at them. Boy was I wrong! Not only have teachers been visiting the student blogs, they have been taking time to make comments on the blogs! Wow! Seriously, I don’t even need to address what kind of message this sends to the students.
Right now I am riding high. Looking back at the immense amount of time put into this entire thing I can say it was more than worth it. Actually I have no words to express how worth it this whole thing is. What my students are getting from this is amazing and priceless.
So in closing I want to thank all of my colleagues who have supported and continue to support OUR students; and I would ask all my readers (my PLN) to click on over to Lahaise’s Lair and check out my student blogs. Hey, you might even want to comment on one or two.