Now as far as the actual content of the blog posts, it is lacking for some students. I gave them guiding questions, but I can tell some students aren't that inspired. And while I did reach out to former colleagues and to other schools in Mexico, I didn't get any takers who wanted to comment on their blogs and have a conversation about reading. Therefore, I think I need to do the following changes:
- Create Reading Groups and have multiple students reading the same novel so they can converse with each other on the blogs. Trying to find people who have read the same book hasn't been easy for some students!
- Give students more freedom. Weebly allows you to add YouTube videos, pictures, files, quotes, etc. Perhaps I should take away the rigid questions and just let them talk about the book. The questions might be helpful if they're stumped, but they should be able to discuss what they want to.
- Assign blogs to comment on. I was trying to give my students freedom, but too much freedom has led to some laziness. If I had reading groups (i.e., literature circles), I think commenting would even be easier for the students.
The blogging itself hasn't been as successful as I had thought, but there are some students who've really taken to it and have found their voice. The way they write has become clearer and more engaging, so that's been encouraging to see. Along with that, there are students who have created pages to share the music they like. They are now participating with a wider world and creating something to contribute to it as well. If nothing else, I know I have helped my students become digitally literate and given them another tool to use for the future. I know of a few students who have even used Weebly for class projects, so even if I feel like the project was a failure, I know it wasn't a complete failure. Everything hasn't gone exactly as I had imagined, but there has still been glimmers of greatness within this blogging experiment. Now I know a few ways to tweak it and we shall see if the project improves....