So, how are we doing with the writing assignment? The students are currently in the midst of the writing process! They have already written an introduction to their story and are now finalizing their main storyline. The conclusion is still to come. The teachers involved are quite happy with the results, so far. It’s such a different way of giving a writing assignment, and then again, it isn’t. However the children are more motivated to write in this manner than in the traditional way. Therefor, keeping students engaged is already a success.
The students are also doing a good job, commenting on each others blogposts. The language teachers have worked out a schedule for the students, who to comment on, so nobody is “left behind”. Also, it makes sure that not only the “better” stories gain comments, but also the ones that need some extra work. Fascinating to read those, since they are quite honest with each other! Assessment wise, a sort of rubric was made by the teachers and given to all the students. So they know exactly what to pay attention to and why they received a certain grade.
There were a few problems using Tumblr, but they have all been worked out. I had my doubts about Tumblr in the beginning, but I think this blogging site, has some possibilities for the classroom. The writing and commenting possibilities are somewhat limited, but on the other hand, it’s very user friendly, easy to setup and quite transparent (in use) for the students. I’ll probably use it more often during the next school year. I’ve learned one valuable lesson though, signing up for a new web service is not that easy during class hours. Our school network works with a single IP-address, making web services think when 20 students try to sign up at once, they are being bombarded with spammers. Writing some sort of compendium and letting the students setup their accounts at home is a must in our school. Saves some time too, but some students will have trouble doing this, I think.
Keep you posted!