Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Putting the Learning on Them

My math students have been working on creating blogs over the last several weeks. With the help of our computer teacher, we now have all 6th-8th graders with blogger accounts. I have used the last month giving the students weekly activities to work on and post. Currently, the posts are only visible by a couple of administrators. I am hoping to be able to gradually open these up school wide and then fully public. After about a month of having my students working on these, here are some thoughts/reactions:

1. I have learned that many of my students are extremely creative. A little embarrassing to finally see that after working with a kid for over two years.
2. I have had students ask if they could post activities from other classes. I love the fact many of them are using their own time to create a cool blog.
3. Giving feedback is critical on my part. I am constantly reading blogs and giving them feedback on what I see and what I do not see.
4. Trying to keep the feedback away from saying good job, good work, good points. Trying to make it specific as to what I see and do not see.
5. As interesting as the topics are, I still have some that do not complete the activity. Even when given the choice of topics, some choose to not complete it.
6. Teaching digital literacy is constant. It adds more to my plate, but is necessary in today's world.
7. I am hoping the students will use these blogs as digital portfolios when they go to apply to high school. I have relayed that to them.
8. The topics for the blogs have math connections. I try to get them to connect something from another subject with a topic in math that we have covered.
9. I will not tell them what specific connection they should use. They must discover/find them by themselves. If they ask, I try to push them towards things they are interested in.

Overall, I am pleased with the progress of the blogs. I am hopeful that this will branch out to include more viewers for the students. I am interested to see how the work improves when they know more people may view it. Right now, I am the only one that can see the work.

Thank you for giving the space and time to work through my thoughts. I expect these blogs to be helpful to my students as digital portfolios. I am learning what the difference between these two are.

Any suggestions on how I can have my students make the step from "just creating blogs" to creating digital portfolios?

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