#DigiLit Sunday Assessing Blogs

How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question.

sundaydiglit

DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, September 14, 2014.

This week’s DigiLit Sunday is a follow-up to Margaret’s question last week: How do I turn this activity into data? 

How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question, and that determines the data.

For some, the purpose may be writing fluency. Then assessment would be to provide feedback on the increased number and length of posts.  [ CCSS: 10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. ]

As students develop fluency, suggest organization of paragraphs — not the five-sentence paragraph, but the idea of topic and support. [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]

Next, add in conventions — sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

If fluency and foundational skills are not the focus, then consider:

  • design — the theme, layout, widgets, links, focus, invitation to participate, categories, tags [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.] 
  • content — topic, support details, vocabulary, questions, style [ CCSS: 1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. 2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. ]
  • conventions

Perhaps the focus is writing:

  • organization
  • ideas
    •  [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]
  • voice
  • word choice
  • sentence fluency
  • conventions
    • [CCSS: 5  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. ]

Perhaps the focus is collaboration:

  • research
  • connect
  • share
  • collaborate
    • [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others  7  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. 8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. ]
    • [CCSS Speaking and Listening 

Comprehension and Collaboration 1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. 2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. 3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.]

For a thorough review of blogging with students, see Silvia Tolisano’s work at Langwitches:

I especially like this rubric she created [click to enlarge]:

Silvia Tolisano’s Rubric

My hope is my “assessment” is a conversation with students and students with each other, so that the learning is a growth goal of which reflection inspires improvement. Therefore, an ongoing component of blogging would be a reflection by the student of the growth their blog demonstrates. If I must give score from a rubric, the important part is still the conversation, goal-setting, and reflection!

What are your thoughts about assessing blogs and gathering data?

Tech Travelers

It’s official: we’ve created tech travelers at our school as the trek through our Google Mail, Calendar, and Blogger to create, circulate, connect, collaborate, and consider.

Our tired trekkers meet each Tuesday from 3:00 to 4:00 PM, taking on new challenges and overcoming tech fears. Each step makes us one step closer to confidence.  In fact, look at our wordle for sessions 1-5 combined, to show how much we’ve grown. Wordle takes a group of words (our reflections) and translates them into a cloud in which the most frequently used words display larger.

“Login,” “know” and “use” are now part of our tech vocabulary !  Look how prominant they are! Wowser to us!

Check out what we can do:

Our links:

Please leave a comment on their blogs.

If you read the comments there already, you will notice links to two wonderful posts by Denise Krebs, a teacher who took part in a blogging challenge at Edublogs along with Ms Edwards and her students.

The Do’s of Classrom Blogging:

Create, Contribute, Connect, Collaborate, Curate

Joining the Conversation

” Online we can all be on a level playing field. We can all make valuable
contributions. Even the weakest writers can do the work of the 21st
century when they share their own genius.”

Our teachers have created and contributed to the conversation. We step closer to a global conversation, a collaboration and connection that creates authentic learning for our teachers and our students. Soon our teachers will have “trackbacks” to their blogs when others learn from them.

Another commenter, Nancy Carroll, recently wrote a blog post on Lifelong Learning that is pertinent here:  Lifelong Learners Even though our teachers did not grow up with technology all around them, they see the value and need to continue learning with what kids today consider “natural” learning tools.

As of this writing, another commenter joined my call on Twitter to encourage our new bloggers. Paula Naugle and I have shared many Classroom Live Eluminate sessions learning about technology.  Paula’s blog post, A Teachable Moment – Pay It Forward, shows how in one small classroom blog in one corner of the world, a lesson can be shared across borders. Class blogs do “Pay It Forward” through shared lessons and student successes. And sometimes our failures are shared as we reach an “Aha!” moment that guides someone else to success.


Thanks to Denise Krebs, Nancy Carroll, and Paula Naugle for their blogger courtesy, showing the power of our personal learning networks (PLN). And thanks to Nancy, Jama, Gloria, Kayla, Sharon, and Terrie for taking their precious time to consider new ways of creating, contributing, connecting, collaborating, and curating (Thanks, Denise — those verbs rock!)

Keep Trekking, Techies !

Cross-posted at Our Tech Journals

Welcome New Bloggers

Please take time to welcome our new teacher bloggers from our school. They have set up and posted on their new blogs. Let’s congratulate them as they join us on our journey into the cloud.

Students:

Give them a safety tip on Internet use. What is the most important thing they should know about Internet safety? What would you like to them to write about on their class blog?

Student task:
  1. Click to a teacher blog.
  2. Congratulate their new blogging skills — design, content, ideas.
  3. Give them two safety tips on internet use, one of which is the one you think is most important.
  4. What would you like to know about their class? What should they post about? Help them get started 🙂
Teachers:
Remember how nervous you were when you started blogging?  What tips do you have that would help these new bloggers?  Thanks !

Our links:

Be the best blogger you can be by commenting on their blogs.
Cross-posted at Eagles Write for students and Ms Edwards

Power: Compelling Collaboration

BeadworkHow powerful is global collaboration?  Sue Waters asks this. Even small projects can prove beneficial in more than academic ways.
I’ve just blogged a reflection on an ongoing project between my fifth graders in Nespelem, Wa and Kim Trefz’s fifth grade in Memphis, Tennessee to share the goals and results of a serendipitous Web 2.0 meeting of minds.  I read an intro to a new edublog on twitter, which linked to her classroom blog, which included a voice thread. I commented and we emailed. Twenty hours later, Kim and I had Skyped and decided to collaborate. We’ve centered our work around a wiki idea: Living History.  To meet each of our schools’ requirements, we’ve adapted as the needs demanded. We skyped an exhibition of our Native American dancers (please read blog) and bookmarked historical text and videos about our bands.  They researched and wrote about Memphis in wiki and Mapskip entries.  We then highlighted main ideas and commented with Diigo, and revised the comment in Mapskip. Her students are commenting back. Her reflection is here.

We’ll be starting up wiki collaboration after our respective Spring Breaks. It’s been an opportunity for both our classes to build commonalities despite our differences, all through the power of writing and learning with Web 2.0.

My eighth grade students respond to a mentor, preservice teacher from the University of Regina in Regina, SK, Canada who is creating photography lessons for my students.  We annotating pictures to add to a project in Youth Voices, a youth blogging site.

My fifth grade students watched the inauguration of Barak Obama and heard his call for service.  Therefore, we started a VoiceThread for which two other schools have now added their voice for “Mr. Obama, we can serve by…”

The sixth graders just started a mentorship with another University of Regina preservice teacher on newsblogging.

I became involved because students love the computer, and writing class is a natural place for being IN web 2.0 responsibly with its fullest capacity: text, images, video, design.

My students are more engaged in learning through the empowerment of a digital footprint with others so far away who have similar goals (writing to publish, service) but come from different backgrounds and experiences.  Because we live in a very rural area, now my students begin to understand similarities in a world of multiple perspectives; they think, care, and produce as responsible, digital citizens. These projects help meet our school mission: “to enable a child to become a thinking, caring, productive person using high academic standards in a positive learning environment.”

Flexibility is key to such projects, especially in the beginning, so that participants can engage while learning the schools’ required objectives. Dive in is the next key. Kim had not skyped before, but signed up that night, emailed me her name, and I skyped her to test it out the next morning, not knowing it was her staff meeting time. She introduced the Mapskip aspect to us.  It was an exciting adventure that just blossomed for all of us. Focus on the global: our overarching goal became sharing living cultures even though our vehicle is writing.

I recently sent this tweet to Kim, which represents the heartfelt side of these projects:

“ktrefz picture this: two of my boys -arms around each others’ shoulders – reading your kids Mapskip comments [back to them]; smiles; joy in their lives; thank you”

This is the joy of leading the change we wish to see in the world.  Powerful, isn’t it?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Gandhi

Notes:

Much bolder projects others in which others have succeeded can be found at the Flat Classroom Project: http://flatclassrooms.ning.com/

Find other projects at:

Teachers Connecting: http://teachersconnecting.com/

Online Projects 4 Teachers: http://onlineproj4tchrs.ning.com/

Commenting to our new friends