Monday, October 1, 2012

Three Headed Monster: Think, Write, Read

I like to refer to blogging as a Three Headed Monster. When a student sits down to my blog, each time they must do three things. First, they must THINK about what they are going to say. Next, they WRITE what they want to say, what the answers are, their opinion, etc. Finally, they go back and READ what their classmates have shared as well. When you can come up with a tool that forces the student to think, write, and read and have it be something they WANT to do, then why wouldn't you use it? If you could go to Target and buy such a tool, you would. But you don't have to because blogging is free! All you need is a google account and an imagination. There is a wide variety of ways you can have students interact with your blog. Posting comments is something we do a lot in my class. A few examples of comments my students post:
1. Vague post: At the beginning of a unit, I often tell my students to "just tell me something" about the world we are about to start. I provide them with appropriate websites and they browse at their own leisure and share with me and their classmates what they want. Good way to get them in the "mood" for that ancient world. 
2. Imaginary Conversation: Students love to imagine, especially middle schoolers. So let them! To show me what they know, I like to have my students post a comment in which they have a "conversation" with an imaginary friend about a certain topic (pyramids, Nile River, Greek Mythology, etc). Students really get into this because its fun for them to choose their imaginary friend and pretend to talk to them. This is a really good example of the Three Headed Monster because students really enjoy looking through the comments and seeing what their classmates did and who they talked to. 
3. The Great Debate: Middle school students struggle with opinions. One thing that prevents them from sharing their opinion in class is they are afraid they are "wrong" or don't know what to say. Help foster their opinion forming by giving them a way to think about it first instead of on the spot sharing in class. I pose a question and have the students post a comment about what they think and WHY. This is a good way to have all students share what they think instead of waiting for their turn. Again, students then read through their classmates opinions and continue to discuss. 

There are many, many different ways you can have students post comments but they can't do anything unless you have a blog! 
I recommend using  Though there are other options such as wordpress and edublogs.

No comments: