The Long Journey To Where We Want To Be Is Fraught With Perils

As happens multiple times on Twitter each day someone needed some help and the following request was “Tweeted”:

“Need a best practice example of a student blog post for class, complete with links, etc. Anyone suggest a model post?”

I thought of an example and sent the link, as did others, but soon 2 clarification “Twits” appeared:

“hmmm…thanks to all who are responding to my search for a best practice kid post.”

And:

“Looking for a student who is reading, writing, linking back to reading, reflecting, synthesizing, understanding how blogging connects.”

BTW – my first thought was actually … Wow! .. how many students K-12 does this describe? I hope more than I think!

I immediately realized the example I had sent was absolutely nothing like what was actually required. In addition, I knew we had no examples that fit that description … but I sure wish we did!

That description is where I want my students to be, but we are not there yet. I mentioned this very thing in my K12 Online Keynote … and this Twittered request was a kick in the pants to remind me where we are going. So why aren’t we there yet?

Lots of groundwork has been necessary to make my students proficient at the nuts and bolts of not only publishing on a blog, but all the care and editing it takes to prepare a writing piece for publishing. The good news is we have come a looooong way.

Second, whether I agree with it or not, one of the hurdles we have had to clear is that our blogging is supposed to prove its worth by improving our writing test scores (fifth grade is the only grade that takes this test in elementary, and our entire school is judged by how our fifth graders do). I suspect it will help, but that has meant that up to this point in the year (we took the writing test last week) our focus has been preparing for that test … which has not been all bad.

One of our biggest weaknesses has been caring enough to really do our best. We have learned multiple proofreading strategies, worked very hard on proper English, “showing not telling”, how to check spelling with a dictionary that cannot have any example sentences that show the meaning of the word in the sentence (we used “spell check” sparingly the last 2 weeks because I wanted them to be used to checking spelling other ways) and wrote and wrote and wrote.

Blogging and commenting consistently has really impacted that “wanting to do quality work” part, and I see that only getting better. The writing test is always a narrative piece so we have only been writing narrative pieces for the most part.

But now the test is over. We have the rest of this year and their 6th grade year to start embedding blogging into the curriculum in more significant ways. Now ALL I have to do is be the teacher that can help my students become: “… a student who is reading, writing, linking back to reading, reflecting, synthesizing, understanding how blogging connects.” I love a challenge!

Learning is messy!!!

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One Response to The Long Journey To Where We Want To Be Is Fraught With Perils

  1. Julia Osteen says:

    Good post! I actually had the same thought about the clarified request. I thought I was doing a good job working with my students on their blog posts until I saw that. Maybe I don’t quite have it all down either. So I, too, will be working with my students on “reading, writing, linking back to reading, reflecting, synthesizing, understanding how blogging connects.”

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