A Window into Students’ Thinking

shutterstock_133106732If you are an educator, you know how quickly things can pile up around conference time and holiday breaks. Add in a few major life crises, and you can get way behind.

So when I finally got back to my students’ blogs (I am not even through half of them!), I had some pleasant surprises waiting for me. As I read through my students’ posts, I found myself gaining new insights into who they are as people, even though their spelling and grammar still jumped out at me.

Our last assignment was based on an article about participation trophies, from a reading in Scholastic News, a regular source of readings for my students. The responses of the students were heartfelt and gave me something to think about.

One student wrote, “I remember when my brother went to his Boy Scout wood car race and he lost and he cried because all he wanted was to win.”

Another student wrote, “I had a special needs kid on my baseball team and he was happy and proud that he got a medal in the end.”

Only in Blogs

As I think about this topic, I realize that we could use it in multiple ways: to write persuasive essays (complete with the counterargument paragraph); to have a dialogue and step inside the shoes of someone with a differing opinion; or to brainstorm new ways of doing things that would be win-win.

Yet had we read this article in class and had a discussion, I don’t believe the outcome would have been the same, compared to what came from the blogs. The reason why?

My students tend to publish their posts before reading others’. This means their thinking isn’t influenced by their peers. (Parents probably have an influence, but not for all students.)

This gives me a more authentic look into students’ thinking and sets us up for more powerful conversation and learning. It’s another benefit of blogging that I hadn’t anticipated but am thrilled to discover.

beth croppedBeth Rogers is a fifth grade teacher for Clarkston Community Schools, where she has been teaching full time since 2006.  She is  blessed to teach Language Arts and Social Studies for her class and her teaching partner’s class, while her partner  teaches all of their math and science. This enables them  to focus on their passions and do the best they can for kids. Beth was chosen as Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014 in her district. She earned a B.S. in Education at Kent State University and a Master’s in Educational Technology at Michigan State University. 

Literacy & Technology Notes from the Classroom

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