Sunday, 24 March 2013

Class blog offs

Last year, I attempted to start up a class blog but struggled significantly, particularly in terms of maintaining it by organising regular posts which is essential for attracting visitors and engaging students in the concept of publishing material online.

This year I tried a new strategy: class blog offs. I've placed a timetable on our writing wall whereby students compete against one another, in pairs, to write blog posts and be published on our class blog. Beside this timetable is a list of criteria for why and how to write a winning blog post. Although the concept is that one pair will be published and one won't for each 'blog off', there are times where both pairs need to reattempt a draft because it was not up to standard, and other very great times where both posts are of such high quality that I cannot help but to publish them both. I chose pairs that could work constructively together but also pairs where one writer could challenge or extend their partner.

Students automatically grab our class laptops (of which there are five in total) and start publishing during our writing hour for the day, so there's no need for me to designate students or remind them to write on our blog on a daily, or even weekly or fortnightly basis. Students use a digital camera to add relevant images to their posts (not of any of their faces due to permission restrictions). As part of the criteria they are to choose their own topic that usually must relate to our learning or school in general and their post must be proofread. My blog monitors know the password so I don't even need to be interrupted for entering that. It's an example of a great classroom routine, and therefore works like clockwork without me intervening at all. PLEASE CHECK OUT MY CLASS BLOG FOR THIS YEAR AT WWW.MELTONWEST.BLOGSPOT.COM.

If you have one, how did you set up and administer your class blog?
If you have started student blogs, what sort of criteria did you use for choosing students who were eligible for that?

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