They also created Reader's Notebooks. You can see the post on Reader's Notebook here. In their notebooks they listed the books that they were reading or had finished, including the name of the author, date finished, genre, and if it was easy, just right, or challenging. They abandoned books that they didn't like. Yes. They didn't have to stick with a book that they hated. The notebook also contained a section for someday books where students listed books that sounded interesting. Another section contained notes on genres, and the final section housed the letters they wrote to me about their books. Now that I've summed that up, let's move on.
Here at Perkins we're a pretty techie district. Students in grades six through twelve have their own laptops. Teachers are encouraged to incorporate technology into their curriculum maps. With that said, the Reader's Notebooks have been sitting in my classroom in their designated crates on top of my bookshelf, taking up much needed space. I decided to try blogging the Reader's Notebook. My honors English class was more than happy to play the guinea pigs if they received extra credit. Go figure.
Each student, voluntarily, created a personal blog through our school gmail account and blogger. They created a theme, personal profiles, cute animal widgets, number of hits, . . . - the whole nine yards. The home page was designated for posts like the letters they wrote to me about their books. They also created pages to house the Reader's Log, Someday Books, and Genre Notes. I gave them a week to create their blogs and write their final book review (letter) to post. Wow! . . . Wow!
Many of their blogs were something else! Plus their writing improved, immensely. You know why? Because anyone in the world could read their book review. Oh my gosh! How excited were they when they checked their stats and found out someone from Germany had visited their blog.
They decided that I just HAD to have next year's freshmen keep their Reader's Notebook on a blog. But not only that, they want me to have students write more of their assignments on the blog rather than turn them in the "old fashioned" way, typed. I was a little hesitant so they reassured me and suggested they post their final paper, a memoir, on their blog. Strictly voluntary, only those people who want to since writing a memoir is so personal.
We went back over the idea of how a blog is public. We also spoke again about the power of words and that once we write them and send them out into the wide world of the internet, we can't get them back before someone reads them. No problem. We can handle it. And they did.
I'm so pleased with their enthusiasm for the blogs, and the writing of their memoirs. With a "real" audience (I guess I'm chopped liver) they took extra care to make sure everything was perfect. You should have heard the conversations on revision and editing going on in this room. I wish I could share their blogs with you. Maybe some will say yes and I can post their links in the near future.
I'M THRILLED to say the least! Definitely a HAPPY teaching moment!
Have you used blogs in your classroom? If so please share what you've done and how it worked for you. Thanks! Have a blessed day.