The 21st century world demands the creation of visible, shareable value as evidence of learning.
From Agile Learning Center Roots
This monday the Facilitators across the ALC network gathered for our weekly video call. We got on the the topic of how to ALF so kids will blog. I’ve gathered some of the ideas we came up with and will expand on them in this post.
Ideas to Improve Blogging
The following were culled from our Monday call and from my experience here in Everett.
1. Build blogging into the schedule
Here in Everett we blog every school day, it’s part of our daily cycle. After over a month of practice we’ve gotten pretty good at it. At the end of each day we gather and discuss what we did that day then spend a few minutes and develop two questions to prime our blog post. These questions (here are some examples) are geared to provide a foundation on which students can blog.
Let’s look at Ethan’s post from October 31st:
Well today i carved a pumpkin and miss spelled school. I also beat alien isolation today
Brevity might be the soul of wit but it doesn’t create as much shareable value. Now let’s look at a more recent post from November 26. It’s getting longer and has more visual content. There could be more depth to the content, but one step at a time.
The questions can also lead to deeper learning, let’s take Jackie’s post from December 3rd as an example. The day’s question was “What animal spirit best represents your day?”. jackie dug deep into this question and went ahead and consulted the “guide to native American animal spirits”.
2. Share good posts!
Some of our schools share weekly newsletters or communications with the community, this is a perfect place to feature blog posts from students.
For me it would be easy to add at least one post from each student each week because I have about 26 posts a week to pull from! You might want to do this monthly.
3. Use blogging to facilitate larger cycles of reflections
When I look back at old posts I’m amazed at how much I’ve accomplished (even when my kanban looks like a mess!). These records can be a wonderful tool to reflect back further and really capture the progress we make.
A few ideas in bullet list format:
- Have students revisit old posts and pick the best ones to have featured in a retrospective post on the school website or in a newsletter (see point #2 above)
- A blogging primer question could be to link back to an old post and write a new post reflecting on where the student is compared to the older post.
- Posts could be printed out and discussed in a group setting, like we reflect at the end of day.
4. Write blog posts that set intentions
Blogging doesn’t always have to be a method for reflection, it can also be a way to set intentions. Check out @Abe’s example from this week, he outlines all the things he wants to get to this week. I also wrote a goal’s blog post a few months ago, which I’m nearly due to reflect on.
5. Blogging Workshops
We can promote students who are making really good blog posts by encouraging them to share their skills with other students. There are both technical skills (like adding a picture) and methods that create good content. This kind of sharing might help weaker bloggers learn how to improve their craft and also excite the star bloggers to go even higher!
6. Model good blogging!
You’ve got to be writing blog posts and getting excited about them. Share your posts with students!
Leaving comments (and sharing with students about how to deal with comments) will do two things:
- It excites the author and engages them.
- It keeps the post on the activity feed when the comment comes up, which means more readers and possibly more comments.
What do you think?
What do you think about this list? What’s worked for you?