Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blogging everywhere ... HS Trips, IB Port B, Health, PE, ELL, PFL, Biology.

Along this school year, the idea of blogging and its use in the classroom has been taking shape. It started with my workshop on the use of Blogger and then some conversations began around the topic. So what we can see now at Graded is a range of  applications of the blogging concept in a variety of subject areas.

Blogging has often been a tool indicated for the reflection part of an eportfolio, which on its turn is used as a vehicle for self-evaluation.  We have several teachers exploring with the idea of eportfolio, and  Felipe in PE has been experimenting the use of student blogs to reflect on performance and share assessments. They have been making video recordings of students doing fitness tests for example and sharing on the blog for student reflection and comment. So each student has a personal blog which is linked to the teacher's blog. Felipe's blog is used for sharing news and information. One interesting sharing with the student is shown on the image below. It is a video on Brazilian Kuikuru Indians Gymnasium, showing how great wrestlers they are. That was a great link to the consciousness on Brazilian Indian culture, as we had the "Indian Day" this month.
Students sharing news though a blog is a great way to encourage curiosity,  investigation, reading and writing. In PFL, Laureana asked her students to share cool things to do in São Paulo. The blog uses Blogger Flipcard style which is visually appealing, inviting you to check what is cool behind images and words. The 9th Grade Biology class with Mariana will also probably engage in personal blogs to inform about scientific news. We are excited abut how it will come out. With time, I hope we can develop a school culture where we get used to taking advantage of the great information that students and teachers publish!

A blogging tool can also have a completely different use like supporting language learning. That was the case of the IB Language B class. Cris Barros created a single class blog to support language learning through expression.  Students took turns to find controversial articles related to media to be posted on the blog and commented by all students in the class. As media was a theme in the IB, students were able to practice Portuguese in this context while writing very complete reflections. We worked with the students on writing posts that invited controversy and participation from the class, as real bloggers do. Modeling a blog post was important to help students understand the expected interaction between post and comment. Cris was very happy with the result and hopes to continue next school year.

Another use of blogs for language learning happens at ELL. Kendra's students are given prompts to encourage writing in their blog posts. It is interesting to see how students' blogs are personalized, so well presented and illustrated, making them inviting to read. . We can see how students engage in writing when given good prompts, as it also happened at the IB Language B class. I also started to see some simple credits for images, which is a really great start to a new culture.

The use of blogging for reflection is central for Shormila's students in Health class. After several discussions on what would be the most appropriate form of expression and tool,  going from Google Sites and portfolios, the decision  was made in favor of private student blogs. The idea was to give students a space to record deep reflection related to health issues proposed by the teacher and probably taking those reflections forward to the next school years.  As these health issues may be delicate, the private blogs were chosen. According to Shormila, the blogs are working very well and she can see how students are engaging in deep personal reflection.

Blogging to record impressions and reflection was used for the 9th and 10th grades trips last semester.  Students were able to share images from the trip and deep reflections done in their groups using the blog  as the sharing medium.  That was a good start to the whole process where we all learned many tips and tricks about Blogger. I am looking forward to how this type of activity will develop and be incorporated in our school culture.

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