Hope is in the air as the middle students query, “Do we get to work on our blogs?” They are anticipatorily at attention sitting on the edge of their seats with their computers ready to open if I give the “OK”. I had planned some blogging time towards the end of the lesson but they are just so ready NOW that I alter my plans.
One student is literally bouncing up and down in his chair with excitement. “THREE people have viewed my blog!” Other students immediately check their statuses as well. “Can anyone in the world see our blogs?” “How many followers will we get?” The eagerness is palpable.
They are incredibly focused as they ponder the aspects of global warming that interest them. They are thoughtful and careful as they attempt to put their reflections into the written word. Web sites are consulted, images are uploaded, and miraculously, everything is properly annotated with resources. The quality of work these 11-12 years olds is producing is quite impressive. They are invested. It is their voice.
One student wrote, “ I have been asked to consider three effects of global warming that I’d like to do more research on. This meant for me to think out of the box and do a lot of research on the topic. I feel like all of my posts should be providing new information at all times.” Over and over I have been surprised by the ambitious approach students have taken with regard to their blogging.
Using blogs as a method for students to communicate learning and reflection has so far proven to be a far more powerful tool than we originally expected. My colleague and I initially thought the blogs would center on the progress of each student’s science fair project. However, the blogs rapidly expanded to become regular forums documenting the progress of learning in all aspects of our classrooms.
I encourage giving students voice in their own learning. It empowers them. It makes them accountable. It engages them. Plus, it simply energizes the classroom and the learning experience.