Written by Brigit Storhoff, 7th Grade ELA & DMS Collaborative Teacher
I love sitting down with our ELA department to talk about reading and language arts. I especially love sitting down with our department when we don't have an agenda! This is when I learn about the happenings in my colleagues' classrooms.....the fun strategies they're implementing, the books their students' are reading, the quality of writing they are seeing, while discussing how our students from past years are doing as they move up a grade. These laid back, no expectations conversations remind me why I love teaching ELA, and I always walk away with inspiration to try something they've shared with me. This is how I learned that Taylor is using Kid Blog to document what her students are independently reading this school year! (genius!)
Taylor has always required her students to complete a weekly reading log during the week in previous years. The students updated this log as they read their books and handed it in to her at the end of the week. Once the students got a device in their hands, she started to brainstorm ways she could replace the 150 sheets of paper a week by using a tool on the computer. Each student in 6th grade has a Kid Blog account, and it has now replaced the paper reading logs her students used to share their independent reading with her.
Taylor has seen many positive outcomes in her classroom because of this change. She says, "The kids love sharing this way. It gives the students the ability to share with their peers, which is much more engaging to them than just turning a reading log into their teacher once a week." Students not only can share their blog with Mrs. Amundson, but they can read each others' posts and comment on what their classmates are reading! Taylor also says it's a great way for her to visually see what the students are reading each week (they have to take a picture WITH their book!) The students are very honest in their independent reading progress since they are being held accountable in this way.
As we have learned with technology these past two years, the benefits also bring challenges. Taylor shared with me that she spent some time teaching her students what type of content to put on their blog to make it applicable to the specific weekly assignment. She also needs to teach and remind students how to appropriately comment on other students' posts. "A challenge," she says, "but a great skill for students to learn!"
Taylor's goals for her students this school year in regards to independent reading are to help students monitor their weekly progress, set and meet reading goals for themselves, and visualize all of the books they read throughout their 6th grade year!
Take a peek at a few screenshots from her students' posts!
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