Welcome to 101 English Blogs project!

The aim of this project is to encourage 101 English teachers from around the world to start blogging (or share existing blogs) about their English classrooms. This blog will list each of the 101 blogs and will be a place for sharing and highlighting what is going on in over 100 English classrooms.

Keen to join? Email me at am@eggs.school.nz

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blogging, writing portfolios and sharing our knowledge with the students

Two blogs are have caught my eye this morning:

At A Thicket and Bramble Wilderness there is a great post about Some Thoughts on Student Blogs:

I have had my students working in various forms of digital media for a few years now and one activity I have found really valuable is student blogging. This year’s group is blogging in a collaborative format. Students are on teams and manage a team blog (You can see a sample here). Each student is required to post twice each semester. In addition, students need to read and comment upon two other blog posts each week. They may respond to other class blogs or to one from a list I have compiled for them.

I particularly like the notion of a 'team blog'! Something else I would love to trial.

Click here to read the full post.

At Walk the Walk, there is an interesting post looking at writing portfolios and issues around grades and feedback. This is particularly interesting for the kiwi teachers, as this is something we are shifting towards on a national scale, as our internal assessment standards (NCEA) now come with Conditions of Assessment that encourage, both this sort of feedback and the shift from individual essays to a development of portfolios.

So, I've been reading and asking. The feedback and research I've been handed back has truly been informative and from a wide variety of sources across the country: middle school and high school teachers, college professors, retired teachers, and everything in between. I've read the thoughts of these colleagues as well as those from the writers and scholars they turned me on to: Pat Schneider, Peter Elbow, Linda Christensen (Director of the Oregon Writing Project), to articles from the National Writing Project, and the Pennsylvania Writing Project.

Maybe more importantly I pulled my chair to the front of the class and shared the research I had been reading. I shared the feedback I have received from colleagues across the country, and then I asked my students for their written feedback--what would be the (most challenging, interesting, helpful, positive, worrisome,______) aspect of our moving to an assessed a portfolio of your work (the positive and negative) as opposed to continuing with single grades on individual essays? How are you handling all of this?

Click here to read the full post.

Another thing I like here, is the dialogue between teacher and student about the research. I have always been an advocate for sharing "the knowledge" we are discovering with our students. Here in NZ we have annually published National Moderator's Reports (for internal assessments) and Assessment Reports (for external assessments) that can be accessed (here) which can be incredibly empowering for students. I often get students to unpack research and reports intended for the educators and get them to "translate" them in to "student speak".

I mean, why would we not share this knowledge with them??


  1. Claire, Thanks for pointing out these interesting blogs. All my students have individual blogs where they post homework and ideas from class discussions. But a 'team blog' sounds much more collaborative and interactive. Perhaps that's my next experiment.

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