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Hearing Their Voices

October 14, 2010

Why blog? Why get your students blogging? I loved this post by Pernille Ripp: “So Blogging Is Just for Fun?” where she mentioned how enriching blogging has been for her students. I was a bit surprised when she mentioned that some teachers considered blogging was just a fun thing to do. Yes, it’s fun, but it’s all about learning… I would never say blogging is a waste of time. Many important newspapers have added blogs on their sites, many important writers and journalists are sharing their thoughts and reflections on their blogs! I’m absolutely convinced blogging is a powerful and important communication tool.

My students had their term tests last week and one of the tasks was to write a story. Reading their stories was highly rewarding. So much have their writing skills improved since we started blogging almost two months ago! I kept congratulating them, and then something magical happened. One girl raised her hand and said: “Ms. Greta, it’s the blog! I’ve improved my writing. This has been my best story ever. The blog has helped me.” Needless to say, it was one of my most memorable moments as a teacher. Kids associated blogging with learning. Kids admitted how much blogging has helped them. I had never told them that before. They had realized it just by themselves.

I kept thinking about Pernille Ripp‘s post… I felt kind of upset about teachers being reluctant to jump into such a meaningful experience and this inspired me to ask my students to post their thoughts on blogging.

Hearing our students’ voice is so important, after all, it’s their learning not ours! Let me tell you, their posts were powerfully inspiring!

You can read some of their posts on the slides below. You can also check out more stories on our blogs: Sharing Good News!

View this document on Scribd

The words: “learn, world, comment, blog” came up on most stories… Of course the word “fun” came up, but not on the first place…To be honest, I wasn’t surprised by their posts…I’ve noticed how much students enjoy learning when they find it relevant. The problem is when we expect them to get engaged in meaningless tasks. What has really surprised me is how grateful they are. They are thankful for having a learning opportunity. Isn’t it amazing? Isn’t it inspiring?

My students’ attitude towards our class blogs has made me realized that they find blogging meaningful. Blogging is meaningful learning! I think of it as a learning celebration…We learn and have fun at the same time. This experience has proved me once again that it’s up to us educators to encourage the love for learning by providing meaningful learning opportunities for our children. Kids aren’t lazy about learning; they are lazy about wasting their time in meaningless activities. Wouldn’t you be lazy about it too?

Learning becomes relevant when we connect it with reality. Therefore, we need to recreate today’s world inside our classrooms. We live in a global world, our classrooms must go global. Teachers must prepare students to interact in a global world. This is our reality. The world gets more and more connected every day. You can’t stop this from happening, so what are you going to do? Pretend it isn’t happening? We can’t avoid reality; we must face this and prepare our students to become leaders in a global world. So, let’s overcome our fears, let’s connect with reality. Let’s connect with our students’ learning and expand our classroom walls.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2010 3:47 pm

    Hi Greta,

    I think I’m going to be the first to take a dive and make a comment on your post. Blogging with students, it’s something magical, they learn through blogging. Yesterday, a student of mine wrote me asking if it was ok her first post, I had a look at it and for my surprise it was absolutely perfect, she was so excited because they are at the beginner level, they just started learning English 4 months ago.
    It’s very interesting, that my beginner group is more pro-active than my advanced group. I have all of them listed on the same blog. They are just discovering a new world. A world of countless possibilities inside the English Language.

    Needless to say that jumping into blog’s world is amazing and learning through blogging it’s something joyful.

    I’m so glad, you are part of my PLN, because I’ve been learning with you and I’ve only came up with the idea of blogging because you’ve suggested me to do that.

    Congratulations! You and your students are well deserved!

    Luciana Podschun
    @inglesinteract

    • October 14, 2010 8:32 pm

      Thanks for your comment Lu! I’m so glad your students jumped into blogging. To be honest, what you’re telling me doesn’t surprise me at all. Your student is motivated, when your students are motivated great things happen!
      I’m sure your advanced students will soon get on board too. Why don’t you try finding blogging buddies for them or getting them to read and comment other blogs? They’ll probably enjoy it and inspire them to write!
      Thanks again! I love having you in my PLN too!

  2. October 14, 2010 5:23 pm

    Greta,
    How do you suggest I get my kids blogging? Hardly any have computers at home, we have no computer lab, and we only have two computers in the class. This is all compounded by the schedule we need to follow, which doesn’t allow for extras like this during school time. I’m also a little worried blogging may overwhelm them, because of their concerns with their spelling shortcomings and even not knowing all the letter-sound relationships. Would love your help – you’re doing something special that I’d like to emulate.
    Thanks, as always.
    Matt

    • October 14, 2010 8:53 pm

      Thanks for your kind words Matt! Why don’t you create a class blog and have your students publish their work there? You can assign students different roles. That way, even if they aren’t writing that day/week, they’d feel they are part too. You can post stories, collaborative activities (voicethread, animoto, etc)
      It’s also great for working with parents, you can invite them to check out the blog and leave comments.
      I hope this helps! Let me know if I can be of any help!
      Thanks again!
      Greta

  3. October 14, 2010 6:28 pm

    Greta!

    The emotion, creativity, and passion you have inspired in your students is simply amazing! They are blessed to have a teacher like you who has made a profound impact on their lives.

    • October 14, 2010 8:55 pm

      Wow Shelly! Thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot coming from an awesome teacher like you! Thanks again!

  4. October 14, 2010 6:31 pm

    Greta, I completely agree with you! Blogging is very meaningful reading and writing. I showed my Grade 1 and 2 students how to write comments the other day on our blogs, and it was great to see them working together to read what other people wrote and responding to their messages. They were completely engaged, and both reading and writing too. They didn’t even realize it! Just because it’s fun doesn’t mean that they’re not learning. I just love the fact that learning can be fun, and I love that you’re so willing to make learning so fun and enriching for your students too!

    Aviva

    • October 14, 2010 9:02 pm

      Thanks so much for your words Aviva! Your Grade 1 and 2 students are doing an amazing job! I love reading their blogs! Writing for an audience makes such a difference!
      I think that that learning can be fun and meaningful at the same time.
      I’ve learned so much from you! So glad you’re part of my PLN! Thanks Aviva!

  5. October 14, 2010 9:09 pm

    Keep inspiring teachers to blog!! I would have loved to be one of your students🙂

    • October 14, 2010 9:15 pm

      Wow Jen! Thanks so much for your comment. “I” would have loved to be one of your students! Thanks for supporting me! It means a lot!

  6. October 14, 2010 9:48 pm

    Once again, a very inspirational blog post! I love that your students are attributing their growth in writing to the fact that they are writing more. They are learning a very important part of the learning process. We become more comfortable with something, the more we are engaged in it. Chance are they will begin to take this leap with many aspects in their lives. Thanks for guiding them across that bridge!

    @KathyPerret

    • October 15, 2010 9:39 pm

      Thanks so much Kathy! I really appreciate your words. I agree with what you said.I’m so amazed by this experience and their growth! I’m really proud of my students.
      Thanks again for your support and encouragement. I love learning with/from you!

  7. October 14, 2010 11:14 pm

    Greta,

    What an inspiring post! I am so looking forward to blogging in the gifted classroom and thanks for paving the way for novices such as myself. My biggest concern with blogging has been with liability issues but I think I will feel better once I do more research and come up with a strategic plan. I agree with you that it creates a meaningful learning experience and connects our students globally, both of which are what attract me so much to the idea. In the process, I also hope to teach my students how to become responsible and safe digital citizens. Again, thanks for sharing your journey with us!

    • October 15, 2010 9:42 pm

      Thanks so much Elle! Let me know if I can be of any help. I think you’ll feel better once you start blogging and see how wonderful and safe is. It’s a great opportunity for teaching your students how to become responsible and safe digital citizens!
      You’re part of this adventure too…Thank you!

  8. October 15, 2010 3:14 am

    Hi Greta,

    I really enjoyed reading your post, the truth in it, your successful (and inspiring) account of how getting your students to blog has been. I liked all of it, but there was one thing you said that especially caught my attention:

    “Learning becomes relevant when we connect it with reality.”

    We should all take that to heart. How can we expect our students to want to learn if we don’t show them why they are learning?

    On the beginning of each semester I like to know why my students are learning English (I don’t teach kids, just teens and adults), so ask them that question. 90% of them give me the ready-made-fed-to-them answer: “because it’s important for my future.” I never accept that answer. Why is it important for your future? How important it is / can be to your life now? And I help them find real, meaningful reasons for being in my classroom. That usually motivates them more, and many times it has given me resources, ideas of things to work in class, drawing from what they can use English for their lifes now.

    Wonderful post Greta! I’ll do as you do to your students and say: keep blogging!🙂

    • October 15, 2010 9:48 pm

      Wow Ceci, thanks so much! I agree with what you said students should always know why they are learning. I love what you do on the beginning of each semester. It’s so important to help students find meaningful reasons for their learning. You’re an awesome teacher! Your students are so lucky to have you. Thanks for sharing your story with me!

  9. October 18, 2010 10:53 am

    Greta,

    Sorry for the delayed response to your post. I think that blogging is a natural way for children to improve their thinking and writing.
    All children can participate based on their own abilities. Children who are unable to write can draw, others can dictate their thoughts, the blog can be done as a class. The possibilites are endless.

    I enjoy reading your students’ blogs and posting comments.(though I’ve been a bit lax lately) They always have a lot of interesting things to say and I’ve learned alot from reading them.

    As a blogger yourself, you are a great role model to your class. You are showing them the power and impact of the written word.

    Keep blogging.

    Gail

Trackbacks

  1. links for 2010-10-15 | MYAM's Blog
  2. Blog Post worth reading « Thinking out loud
  3. Blog posts worth reading | Stars and Clouds
  4. My 2010 Most Memorable Teaching Moments « About a Teacher
  5. Hearing Their Voices | Teaching Online & Working with Multimedia | Scoop.it

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