Early Reflections on Using Weblogs Next Year

As I only started blogging with my students in the spring of this last year, I’ve begun the process of evaluating and reflecting on what I’ll need to change for next year. I definitely intend on using blogmeister again because for elementary students it has all the features I need and ease of use. Our school is very careful about protecting our students and not allowing pictures or personal information, and with this tool I can maintain these requirements. This last year I just let the kids blog and did a brain storming session to begin with and whole class reflections every few days on what we were doing. My connections between blogging and the language arts standards were tenous since I didn’t really know what to expect and didn’t have clearly defined goals. I was just happy to have the kids posting and commenting on each other’s ideas with out my intervention. Now I really need to think of the standards/goals of what I’m trying to do, and whether I’m going to expand blogging out of the writer’s workshop model into other curriculum areas. Anne Davis has some very useful points to bring up based on her lessons learned and extensive experience with blogging. Will Richardson summarizes a panel discussion at the NECC also on the topic of lessons learned. Within his article he mentions Tim Lauer who brought up a wiki that is very easy to set up called instiki Lauer mentions that a teacher gave each student their own page which would function similar to how a weblog would work, where as I used it more as a bulletin board for an endangered animal project my students were working on and they used the wiki to post questions and assist each other in finding sources and pictures for their reports. I know I’ll be doing literarture circles this year and Anne Davis also has a good starting page to explore ideas on using a weblog to do so.

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