Last year, approximately 40 of our senior primary students voluntarily accepted to take part in the Student Blogging Challenge. As with any venture, there were mixed reactions. Not all completed the tasks, but they all learned something. There were a few highlights where blogging ‘clicked’ with some as a medium of choice and these students have gone on to be regular bloggers (even on their holidays). On the whole, it was wonderful.
The 2013 Student Blogging challenge is about to begin and I am happy to say the baton is being passed on beautifully. I have asked our ‘experienced’ blogger to mentor their new classmates and it has been so wonderful to watch the skills being passed on and enthusiasm transmitted. Here, a comment from one of our new mentors commenting on the blog of his younger classmate. I love the mixture of warm and cool feedback and caring style from this Year 6 boy!
I believe the success of this program can be attributed to a few things:
- a culture of blogging – these students have seen blogging modelled by their teachers through class blogging for a few years now
- gradual build up of skills – our students began their personal blogging with KidBlogs – simple, no frills blogs.
- support from each other – teaching and modelling appropriate academic commenting skills is a vital aspect of blogging. Without the interaction with readers that comments provide, blogging can tend to feel dull. Our staff and students regularly support each other with comments. Staff also use Twitter to broadcast blogs for further publicity.
- blogging being embedded within classroom practice. Staff provide regular opportunities for blog posts to be part of their writing activities, often using them to elicit responses and broaden their learning from experts.
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, says ‘Student blogging is not a project, but a process. We are continuously striving to refine, improve and re-evaluate’. As Silvia says, these students are learning to write in digital spaces- an important skill in my opinion.