Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blogging in the Social Studies Classroom - Reflective Blogging Part 2

     This post is part of the Reflective Teaching Blogging Challenghosted by Terry at Te@ch Thought. While the original challenge is a year-old already I thought it would be the perfect thing to keep me on track over the next little while.

DAY 2 - Write about one piece of technology that you would like to try this year and why. You might also write about what you are hoping to see out of this edtech integration. 

     Since I am away on mat leave I can't actually write about a piece of technology that I will be implementing this year with students, but I do have some ideas that I want to work on in regards to my student blogging program. I have had my Grade 8 homeroom class explore the world of blogging during both of my years at "S-School" with various degrees of success. It gave us an opportunity to:

- learn a new tech tool (Blogger)
- discuss digital citizenship, online identity, online privacy
- familiarize ourselves with online copyright and appropriate referencing practices
- begin thinking about the idea of a P.L.N for students that stretches outside of the traditional school environment
- share what was happening in our classroom

But the process was cumbersome, many students required additional direction when it came to their writing, and it was difficult to motivate some students. While I knew what possibilities were available for my students, it was difficult to get them to see them at the start (or at all; for some of them). It made me think of the graphic below created by Bill Ferriter; while we had started, I wanted to be able to move us into the second column as much as possible.

Technology is a Tool. (2013). Uploaded to Flickr by Bill Ferriter. Available online at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/plugusin/9223386478/in/set-72157625087347140 
     When I return I will have two social studies classes at the Grade 10 & 11 levels and, luckily, both of these classes will be original classes who blogged with me in their Grade 8 year. I think I will have a lot more options if I continue the blogging program with this age level because:

- they are already familiar with the program
- I can require them to have their own email address instead of using a general class one
- I can build a cross-curricular program with the English teacher so their posts can serve more than one purpose
- they will be more comfortable, to an extent, with their writing

     I would like to have a few blogging styles/prompts that students can chose from to help guide their posts. So far I have come up with:

In Today’s News
Immediately following the introduction of a new concept, topic, or idea, students are asked to write a blog post effectively summarizing the information introduced in class in their own words. Their post must contain at least two quotes of information about their topic that they found from a source online or through the school library. Their online sources may be text-based, an image/infographic, or video/audio file.

This Reminds Me Of...
When reviewing a concept, topic, or idea, students are asked to create a blog post explaining how the current concept is related to: an earlier concept in the unit, a concept from a different unit (covered in the current school year or otherwise), or a concept from a different subject area (covered in the current school year or otherwise). Their post must effectively argue why they believe the concepts are related or similar, although they can achieve this through any means of their choice (text-based, an image/infographic, or a video/audio file). 

In Another Person’s Shoes
As students are introduced to a new concept, topic, or idea, they are asked to create a blog post detailing the history behind the concept in regards to leading figures, the successes, the challenges, and how their gender, ethnicity, sociological background, etc, may have influenced their journey. Alternatively, students can create a blog post reviewing alternative perspectives towards the concept, topic, or idea that is being discussed and explore the factors that may influence someone’s opinion towards it. Students are encouraged to use social media networking to invite others to comment on their post and share their perspectives.

It is my hope that these prompts will not only help my students in regards to developing the content of their posts, but they will help us move towards more of the points on the right-hand side of the image above. While this is a starting base, I hope to develop more and, eventually, develop some with my students when I am back in the classroom. 


What blogging styles/prompts would you add to this list?

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