I can only write about blogging from my point of view and what I have learned about the bloggers that I follow in my Google Reader and blog post that are recommended through my Twitter feed. In some ways I feel uncomfortable writing about it here, but after reading posts at Langwitches about the posts related to Learning about Blogs for Your Students here and here I began to wonder how I would address blogging in my Literacy in Social Studies series. Foremost, I am all about encouraging more writing in all content area and any form of writing to learn. Writing is our visible thinking and we must find ways to make thinking and learning more visible to get our learners to think critically!
I am not an advocate of a blog being another writing assignment for students to check off! If a blog were to work in a classroom, the teacher must have invested quiet a bit of time learning about blogs:
- Reading other blogs. I suggest picking four or five blogs and follow over several months. Make comments to blog posts. Pay attention to their writing style, voice, the links, the images and other comments that are left behind.
- Embrace blogging by blogging. Don’t just jump into! Feel comfortable by following other bloggers who have like minds as you do. Don’t feel like you have to be a perfect writer! Just write and give yourself permission to write terribly, but keep writing. Through time you will get better. Forcing one to blog to become a small piece of the conversation that is so important. It has great benefits for the one doing the writing.
Learning is not about right or wrong, rather, it is discovering what you love, searching for more and creating with what you are learning along the way. Blogging has allowed me to discover my own voice, dabble in collaboration, reflect then make changes in my own practice and share my love of teaching and learning with others.
Using a blog in a history classroom must be about learning and a teacher using a blog with her students must be willing to be the role model in taking the learner into a deeper learning experience that is way more personal.
With Common Core Standards on our coattails, we know how important writing has become in the global world, which we live. Amateur bloggers will tell you how blogging shaped their writing voice. It allowed me to move past the shy writer that lives deep within me to a more confident and brave voice.
Blogging is about sharing. Sharing is the heart of what a blogger does. Another thing at the heart of blogging is the question(s) or wondering that drives the blogger. We often don’t reveal those questions in our writing and sometimes the blogger can’t make that identity as well. Questions, curiosity, and wonderings drive our learning and it drives us to the things that are important to us.
When one thinks about early literacy and intermediate literacy instruction (prevalent in K-5) you tend to think that kids are pushed to the higher level of blooms in reading instruction. In early reading instruction kids learn to put stories in order by the way they occur in the story- basically through rote memorization. Teachers tend to spend more time on questions that require the regurgitation of the facts. Students have trouble recalling story elements but easily remember actions and outcomes ,and they tend to struggle with the emotional and/or psychological aspects of a story. We tend to do the same thing with writing instruction especially teaching the perfect paragraph with a topic sentence, three supporting details, and a conclusion. I wander if this is not the reason student struggle with writing because they don’t have enough time to think, digest, question, and wonder about the different aspects of story. They don’t have enough time dealing with the social, emotional, and psychological aspects of the story. And do you students have enough role models in this process?
For what ever reason we spend little time with the higher level of blooms questioning- the what if, the why, thinking beyond, creation, etc. We don’t seem to value this in early stages of literacy, but it is the most important area to develop thinkers our of young learners. If we don’t value it here, we are not going to value it with writing. We should be putting more time in this area. CCS calls that we do this! CCS will demand teacher rethink teaching practices for early learners.
We can’t let the excuse be that Johnny is a poor reader. We have to do better in building pre reading experiences. We have to offer every student challenging text to read. Then we have to take what the kids are learning and help them visibly show what their learning through writing. Model! Model! Model!
Writing is the heart of reading instruction. From pictures to words to sentences to paragraphs, we must insist that thinking become visible. Once are thinking is visible we can possibly begin thinking about making their visible thought in a blog. This happens once they are able to move to writing complete sentences and paragraphs.
I hope in the weeks to come to write more about making thinking visibly.