One of my many favourite sessions with Grade 5 bloggers has to be our Beginning Blogging Sessions.  When classroom teachers decide that they want to blog (individual blogs) with their students, they can book me for 4-6 getting-started sessions.  These sessions go hand-in-hand with our Digital Literacy Unit for the start of the year.

Our Guiding Question:   What makes a quality post?

Investigate:

We used the “noisy round-robin” techniques to get all our ideas down on paper.

Noisy Round Robin Technique:
In groups of 4, brainstorm ideas for 1-2 minutes then pass your sheet of paper to the next table.
Rule 1: 1 person to read all responses to rest of group
Rule 2: Add more ideas/responses to the new sheet but DO NOT repeat what you have already added to the previous sheet/s.  Repeat process 3-6 times.  Groups then decide on top 2-4 ideas on their sheet.

Plan:

One person from each group reported back the top idea from the chart.  No repeats are allowed, so students had to listen to each other.  Everyone had to agree that the idea belonged on the master list of what makes a quality post?

Create:

Here’s what I was hoping they would come up with:

Make sure your work is the best it can be;

Think before you post: Make sure what you write is appropriate to put online;

Always tell the truth on your posts;

Say what you mean, and mean what you say;

Online work is NOT private. Never say anything on a blog that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the school bulletin board, or in the local newspaper;

Get descriptive in your title. The title helps your audience decide if they want to read your post or not;

Try to link to other ideas or resources that back up the point you are trying to get across or further explain or enhance your content;

Is your post learning related?

Make your writing physically attractive. Add a supportive image, use bullets and paragraphs appropriately;

Give credit in your works cited list to anyone whose work you use. Never use other people’s work and call it your own. In other words, don’t cut, copy, or plagiarize Internet content!

Share your knowledge with others; when you learn something new, pass it along to someone else who can benefit;

Carefully proofread your online work before you post, just like you would a regular letter. Use good form, spelling and grammar;

Capital letters are regarded as “SHOUTING.” Be careful with them;

Don’t publicly criticise (or “flame”) others. Don’t be offensive, and don’t ever use bad language.

Here’s what they came up with:

Final List for “What Makes a Quality Blog Post”:

Don’t offend people (no swear words, insults, racist comments, and no discrimination).

Add images, videos, and captions if necessary or if it is related to your writing.

Be thoughtful when posting. Start with a good idea.

Check your punctuation spelling and grammar! (Capital letters= shouting, so only use it when it is needed).

Keep your personal information PRIVATE!

Make your reader (audience) feel like you are talking to them.

Always have a title. And be sure to make your title a hook.

Final Thoughts

What I’ve noticed is that when students help construct a list, they are more likely to understand the foundations of a good quality post – more so that just brainstorming a list together as a class.  It gives the teacher more of an idea of what the students are thinking about blogging already.

The “noisy round robin” technique is certainly that – noisy!  But I like it and I’m pretty sure the students do too.  Everyone has a voice, everyone can contribute and from others’ ideas grow more ideas!

Technology & Learning Coach – Reflection #1

Over the next few weeks I’ll be reflecting on my first year as ES Technology & Learning Coach for the International School of Bangkok.  It’s my first year out of the classroom after 14 wonderful years as a teacher of Year 2/3, then Year 7, and off course, two years as a Grade 5 teacher at ISB.